7 Best Practices to Train Your Distributors SalesForce
6 minutes read
Today’s customers are smarter and savvier than ever before. Just with a few swipes on their smartphones, they can find reviews of
Your products and services
Ratings of how you stack up against your competitors
Recommendations for your products from other customers, and more
Why is Distributor Training Important?
When distributor sales is one of your channels for sales, it’s important to equip them with the right resources and training. Driving product knowledge amongst the distributor sales force is very important.
Here are 7 Best Practices to train your distributors
1. Identify Distributor’s Training Needs
Customer queries can come directly to your distributors. They are aware of the importance of having the right product knowledge to answer these questions. Reach out to them and identify the different areas that they need to improve on.
Conduct a pre-training survey to uncover their training needs. Discuss the business goals of your distributors and see how you can align your training program to help them achieve their goals.
This will help you gain valuable insights to structure a training program that appeals to your audience.
2. Align training program to your business goals
Think of this scenario: you have launched a series of new products. You want your distributors to focus on these new products.
In order for that to happen, the distributor sales force need to:
- Be aware of the new products
- Know their features, advantages, and benefits
- How these products compare to your competitors
- How to sell them
Align your training program to these goals. This makes it easy for you to measure the ROI and get the most out of the training.
3. Conduct Live Training Sessions or Webinars
Distributors won’t have the motivation to sell the products that they don’t understand. So take the time to conduct training sessions every now and then. You can conduct these sessions once every month for 2-3 hours. You could choose to increase this frequency when you are about to launch a new product or run special offers on your products.
The training should cover:
- How each product works
- What are the unique features and benefits of various products
- How to perfectly pitch or give a demo of the products
- How to deliver your brand value while selling
- How to install and service the product (if required)
- How to train the customers with using a product (if needed)
Here are various ways in which you could deliver the training remotely:
Live instructor-led training sessions through Teams or WebEx
Webinars with interactive features like polls, surveys, and ability to ask questions
Podcasts or digital recordings of instructional material
Use a mix of all these techniques to keep the training interesting and engaging.
4. Reinforce Training Regularly
Training shouldn’t end with the end of training sessions. You need to implement on-going training in order to consistently reinforce critical information.
You can send the reinforcements in a lot of ways:
- Microlearning: Break down your entire training content into short, digestible chunks of information. You can split the content topic-wise. Send these short bursts of information in the form of infographics, videos, or short twitter-like feeds. This allows learners to absorb the training content easily and quickly.
- Just-in-time learning: Deliver these smaller chunks of information to the learners regularly on their mobile devices. This enables the learners to consume information anywhere and anytime they want.
- Quizzes: Conduct short assessments regularly to test their knowledge retention
- Structured learning Paths: Encapsulate crucial information into structured learning paths and assign them to learners. Especially helpful during new product launch and onboarding of new salespeople
5. Gamify to make learning fun and engaging
Gamify the learning activities in order to create fun and excitement around learning. The goal here is to engage the learners by creating a competitive environment.
Some techniques that are proven and works:
Quizzes: Create competition around the quizzes. Conduct a quiz test once every week and assign scores to the participants based on their performance. Then, at the end of each month, add up each participant’s score from all the quizzes taken throughout the month. Select the top 3 people with the highest score and reward them with exciting prizes.
Video Coaching: This makes for a fun and interesting competition. Conduct a video coaching contest once every month. Ask the learners to record a video of themselves pitching any one of your products and submit it. Then, review their videos and reward the person who delivers a perfect pitch (covering all the features and benefits of the product).
Course Completion: You can incentivize learners for completing a course or structured learning path. You may offer certificates or other rewards for completing the entire course or various important sections of it. Like:
Product knowledge certification
Compliances and policies badge etc
Put up these rewards on a leaderboard to create a friendly competition
Surveys and polls: You can also gamify the surveys and polls that you conduct during the webinars. Reward the participants who give the most accurate or creative answers during the polls.
Incentivize Engagement during the sessions: You can also incentivize the learners’ dedication and best behavior during the training sessions. For example, you could give:
Coupon codes to those who frequently ask good questions in the chat feed
Weekend entertainment tickets to those who give best insights, examples or real experiences about a particular topic
Amazon gift card to the person who gives correct answers to all the questions asked by the presenter during the session.
6. Have a communication and collaboration portal
Along with an on-going training program, it is important that you build a strong communication channel with your distributors. By actively indulging in learning and selling, they would often have:
Questions they would like to ask
Discuss certain sales scenarios
Discuss certain topics to expand their knowledge on
You need to be available to answer their questions at all times.
Establish a Q&A channel through a mobile app, where your distributor sales force can post their questions. The questions can be directed at specific teams like marketing, product teams, training team, or quality teams. You are able to create an organizational memory that will help you in the long run.
7. Request for Feedback
Conduct a post-training survey and request for feedback from your distributors about their experience with your training program. You can conduct this survey after the training sessions and also at regular intervals. This helps you to regularly gauge the success of your training sessions.
Published on Sat Jul 25 2020