Blended learning approaches are certainly not new, but given the challenges over the past 18 months, we are seeing many opportunities to apply these approaches in creative new ways. The pandemic heightened interest in hybrid models (a combination of virtual instructor led, digital, collaborative learning, etc.) that already existed – and provided a testing ground for their effectiveness. With the on-demand and collaborative sales training models we’re now using at SRG, we’re seeing outcomes, participant interaction and satisfaction scores improve for our sales and sales management training programs. But do these benefits hold true for every type of employee training? Specifically, can we effectively onboard new sales reps in a hybrid world – especially when we need them to hit the ground running in an even more challenging selling environment?
With in-person, instructor-led training off the table for over a year, companies had to innovate and leverage technology to deliver sales training to their remote sales teams. Initially, the onset of the COVID pandemic sidelined most training initiatives. However, companies quickly realized that sales training was an even higher priority since it was suddenly more difficult to connect with customers, and sales reps were limited to remote selling.
The expansion of online, collaborative learning is one of the most exciting evolutions to come out of the challenges of delivering sales training over the past year. As the participant feedback suggests below, online, collaborative learning did a great job engaging participants, increasing group collaboration, and reinforcing skills over time – all of which is leading to greater success for learners and better outcomes for companies.
The typical in-person Sales Kickoff (SKO) looked very different this year – and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, sales managers have come to realize that the re-envisioned virtual SKO has advantages, especially when it comes to measuring outcomes and reinforcing the themes they want to carry forward throughout the year. Yes, traditional SKOs were great for team building and networking opportunities. Companies spent millions getting sales reps together, and wining and dining them to conduct annual trainings. Then they sent their reps back to work. But how did we know if any of it made a difference? Did we change behaviors?
We recently hosted a webinar with Sam Herring from Intrepid by Vitalsource to discuss how to make the pivot to Virtual and Digital Learning.
In the span of a few weeks, the work world has shifted en masse from regular offices to working at home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For sales organizations, this means moving everything to virtual, including training.