Sales teams across industries are continuing to undergo a major shift in how they conduct sales training. Now, virtual sales training is the new normal. But it’s not as if all sales reps woke up one morning and immediately knew how to effectively sell virtually. Still to this day, sales reps are in need of virtual sales training more than ever. Research shows that only 25% of salespeople use virtual approaches well. This means 75% of sales reps are in the dark when it comes to best practices for virtual selling.
Our research shows nearly 15% of insurance companies are now enabling their teams to sell virtually. However, the rise of virtual selling is putting pressure on salespeople to refine their online selling skills. With this in mind, sales leaders need to prioritize frequent and engaging virtual sales training sessions. In turn, these sessions will ensure maximum sales enablement and support. Notoriously, sales training presentations are often boring and lack the ability to capture the sales reps’ attention. According to Spotio, 84% of all sales training is lost after 90 days. So only a fraction of the sales team actually remembers the new material weeks later!
Now think about remote sales reps who have distractions all around them. Sales reps have a lot of at-home distractions like dogs, kids, cell phones, and more. These distractions result in an even greater number of sales reps forgetting sales training materials. Keep in mind — listening to Shark Tank play on the TV in the background is not a proper sales training strategy (no matter how good the sales pitch is).
Curious about keeping your sales team engaged in your virtual sales training presentation? Continue reading as we dive deep into the 5 best practices to make virtual sales training effective, engaging, and memorable.
1. Breaking down the basics
Listen, it’s 2021. If your computer is acting like it’s running on Dial-up, you have a greater problem than effective virtual sales training. One of the most important things sales managers can do is obtain high-quality internet connection and speed. No one wants to sit through a training session while the visuals are glitching and the sound is cutting out. You also need to be mindful of your office location. What distractions will you be bringing to the training session? Is your dog barking in the background? Or does your house phone ring off the hook throughout the day? Whichever the situation, you need to be sure to address these issues before beginning your training session. The last thing you want is for your sales team to become distracted. Ultimately, they should be engaged throughout the entire virtual sales training session.
Next, you want to keep in mind which technologies your sales team needs. Think about where you want to host your video meetings. It could be Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, Teams, or another type of video conferencing software. Then, make these easily available to your team members for a smooth transition to virtual training.
Beyond internet connectivity and video conferencing, the next most important aspect of virtual sales training is a sales enablement platform. Premierly, sales enablement technology allows sales coaches to create high-quality virtual sales training experiences. Essentially, the proper sales enablement technology can help sales coaches keep their sales team actively engaged in the virtual presentation. But we’ll discuss interactive presentations in more detail in section 4. Until then, let’s find out how sales enablement technology can personalise sales training.
2. Personalise the virtual sales training to each individual sales representative
Sales enablement technology can provide insights as to how sales reps are performing on an individual basis. For example, analytics will show which pieces of content top sales reps find most successful in sharing with their prospects. With the help of sales enablement technology, sales managers can automatically obtain this data and take this knowledge to train other team members. Behavioral statistics enable sales coaches to tailor training based on an individual’s performance. Essentially, this provides a more personalised sales training experience for each rep.
Let’s take it one step further and automate personalised virtual sales training sessions. How? The right sales enablement platform will allow sales coaches to keep pre-recorded sales training videos in one easy-to-access location. This way, salespeople get 24/7 access to sales training content and videos. Now, sales reps are enabled to train at their own pace on their own time.
Depending on a sales rep’s experience, they can be placed into a workflow that provides frequent interactive sales training sessions. For instance, let’s say you just onboarded a new sales rep. And so you want to train them on your company’s best practices for virtual selling. Using sales enablement technology, you can add the rep to the beginning of a workflow. You can assign one virtual sales training session per week with the content specified to grow their current skill set.
With frequent and personalised sales training, new and seasoned sales representatives will be better equipped to effectively sell more.
3. Build time in the schedule to take breaks
Working from home this past year has shed light on the lives of everyday sales representatives. A recent study shows, 72% of sales professionals make it a habit of working evenings and weekends. It’s important to remember that your sales team is not a machine that can run continuously for hours. In order to avoid burnout and overwhelm, sales managers need to promote wellness even while training. By providing breaks during virtual sales training sessions, sales reps are more likely to retain the new information.
But just because sales training can now be completed at home does not mean that salespeople are immune to burnout. Everyone needs a break now and then. Charlotte Fritz, PhD, an associate professor at Portland State University says, “Breaks can improve our moods, overall well-being and performance capacity.” If you’re conducting a virtual sales training session in real-time, remember to schedule breaks throughout the day. Afterall, even sales managers need a break!
4. Make learning fun: use interactive and engaging content
During virtual sales training, it’s important to keep the sales reps engaged in the content. How can you do this? Interactive presentations can be up to 25% more effective in communicating a message than traditional presentations. For example, a static slideshow presentation is easy to ignore. A presentation with a white background and a lot of black text might as well be your 9th-grade history textbook. We wouldn’t want to read it either.
Interactive presentations, on the other hand, make virtual training fun, engaging, and much more memorable. Clickable elements and videos work to tell a story that helps sales reps grasp new information and retain it. Actually, 22% of people are more likely to remember facts when it is told through a story. So when it comes to virtual sales training, how do these dynamic presentations tell a story? Interactive presentations enable sales managers to display case studies, situations, and different selling scenarios with a touch of a button. While never bouncing away from the presentation itself, this enables a more cohesive and informative virtual training experience.
For more information on how to create dynamic presentations, take a look at How to Make an Interactive Presentation: 10 Tips to Get it Right.
5. Have consistent virtual sales training days
As stated previously, within 90 days, 84% of what was initially learned during sales training sessions is lost. But don’t stress, frequent virtual sales training meetings can help sales reps remember what they’ve learned. What’s more, regular meetings can help sales reps best utilize these new skills in their future sales meetings.
It’s essential to hold consistent virtual sales training meetings for your entire sales staff. Based on our research, the majority of salespeople report receiving sales training solely on a yearly basis. That’s like getting the oil in your car changed only once a year. Sooner rather than later, your car is going to break down and likewise, so will your sales team. Only 17% of salespeople report being lucky enough to get sales training on a monthly basis. Simply relying on sales team members to figure out best practices for themselves is not an effective sales training strategy. Ultimately, sales leaders need to be proactive in their training efforts to ensure they’re providing high-level sales training.
The frequency of sales training sessions will depend on your sales team’s capabilities and needs. However, we recommend that you aim for monthly training sessions at the very least.
Sales training presentations can often be visually boring. And virtual sales training sessions can be even more taxing as people working from home are faced with multiple distractions. It’s imperative to engage your sales team with dynamic and interactive sales training presentations on a continuous basis.
Your sales team is depending on you to provide them with captivating content that ensures they excel at their jobs. Transform your virtual sales training methods with Prezentor. Click here to request a demo.