How to Deliver Training to your Remote Sales Staff?
8 minutes read
Consider this scenario:
You are about to enter the second quarter (Q2) in the year and you have big plans for this quarter. You are going to launch some new products which are going to give you a huge competitive advantage. You also have the whole marketing strategy planned out for this. And, you are all set to make it big in the business this quarter.
Wait, did we miss something? In fact the most important thing. Training your sales teams that are working remotely (Maybe because of the current situation or maybe that is how they work usually). It is crucial to train and enable your remote sales staff so that they can close the quarter strong. So how will you achieve that?
We have got some tips for you that will help you design the most effective remote training plan. So, whether you already have a remote training plan in place or you have just begun planning,– these tips will surely help in boosting your remote training outcomes. Check them out below:
Kick-off the new quarter with a one-day training
In the first month of the new quarter, plan and hold virtual training sessions through live video call for all your sales teams across various territories. This will be a one-day training session which will be held for 5-6 hours where all your trainers, subject matter experts, and the sales teams get face-to-face through the live video call.
Schedule to train one team each day. While scheduling these sessions, bear in the mind, the time zone that the team operates in. If you schedule to hold the session at an odd hour for the team, then it is going to feel like a burden for them.
Here are some things to cover in this session:
- Give a cadence of all the activities that will be coming up this quarter. Like, product launches, promotions, campaigns, new sales tools, etc.
- Brief them about the targets that you intend to achieve this quarter
- Motivate them to give their best in achieving these targets
- Train them on various things that are needed to achieve the quarterly targets
Survey throughout the quarter
Regular surveying helps you to meet your trainees’ expectations and learning needs while operating remotely. So, here is how you can do this:
Firstly, survey your trainees before and after the one-day training. Before the training session, send a survey to your reps asking them about how comfortable/confident they are with various topics.
Here are some example of pre-training survey questions that you can ask:
How comfortable are you with giving a demo of our new product XYZ?
- Very comfortable
- Somewhat comfortable
- Not comfortable
How confident are you with handling the price objections of the new product?
- Very confident
- Somewhat confident
- Not confident
Now ask these same questions after the training and see if you get a change of answers. The goal here is that– if your reps have said that they are not confident in a particular topic before the training, they should say that they are confident in it after the training. This helps you gauge the success of your training and lets you customize it to suit the learning needs of your trainees.
Send surveys every now and then throughout the quarter as well. Ask your reps if they are facing difficulty with any sales aspect or is there any ongoing scenario that might be a threat to achieving their quarterly targets. According to their answers, provide customized help to them by organizing virtual coaching sessions with their managers or subject matter experts.
Learn how to conduct surveys remotely using SmartWinnr
Add a little Gamification to the mix:
Add a bit of gamification to make your training fun and enjoyable. Have your reps play some fun and educational games during their one-day sessions and other coaching sessions. Here are some of our favorite games that you can use:
Haiku Poems: Haiku means a short form of Japanese poetry which will typically be in 3 lines. Ask all of your reps to write their version of the Haiku poems about a particular product’s features and benefits.
I fit here: For this game, make all your sales reps be one of your products. Ask them to write the name of the product that they are on a paper or a placard and keep it with them. Now, read out various customer scenarios. Then, the sales reps have to show their placard and say “I’m the product that fits into this particular customer scenario because ……..” – they have to give the reason why they will be the best fit in that scenario.
Team Feud: Works same like the popular game show “Family Feud”. Break the team up into smaller teams. Two people– one member from each team compete with each other to guess and answers the questions about the company. They stand up for each other, cheer each other on, and have a lot of fun.
One truth and two lies: This old school game is very effective in improving your reps’ knowledge of the products, market, competitors, etc. All you need to do for this is– make three statements about a product/feature. These three statements should include one truth and two lies. Now all the sales reps have to take turns guessing which statement is true amongst the 3 statements. Continue this for various products, feature and any other aspect of sales.
Never Say No: The word “No” sometimes discourages the customers and comes across as being rude. Especially in sales, experts suggest that a “no” should be delivered to the customers as smoothly and as respectfully as possible. This game trains your reps to handle this kind of tricky sales negotiations.
Give each one of your reps a customer’s request for which the answer is “no” (because of your company policies or some other reason). Now, they have to come up with an answer that says no without using the word “no”.
All these games can be played remotely through a video call. These games help in cementing the information into your reps’ brains a lot better than just going through PowerPoint slides and telling them what the benefits are or having a speaker up there talking (even if the speaker is really engaging).
Learn how to gamify your sales activities using SmartWinnr
Regularly Reinforce Training
Regular reinforcements are very important to keep your reps up to date with the crucial and real-time information like market updates, policy updates, competitor information, etc. Also, sales reps will need regular reinforcements on sales skills and knowledge that they have gained during their one-day training session. This ensures that they do not forget this crucial information.
Here are some ways to regularly reinforce knowledge for your sales reps:
Conduct virtual coaching sessions, webinars, and podcasts often. Here your reps will get to meet the subject matter experts, get insights from them and get their doubts cleared. A good practice would be to hold these webinars and podcasts at least twice a month so that your reps are up-to-date and engaged with their learning.
Another way to send regular reinforcements is through short feeds, just-in-time (short) videos, useful PDFs and playbooks. Plan and send these on a daily or weekly basis. They can be just about anything (not necessarily about sales). They can contain content that is related to sales or just life lessons. For example, you can send these 4 short feeds in a week.
The best morning routine to have on a productive day
Best way to balance personal and professional life
Best practices to handle price objections etc.,
3 best ways to close a deal
This makes your content much more interesting and engaging for your sales reps as it has a mix of personal and professional lessons for them.
Learn how you can use SmartWinnr to send regular reinforcements
Measure Remote training effectiveness
There is only one way to know if your remote training is working for your reps or not. That is to– measure, measure, and measure. Regular measuring will let you take a step back, reassess the situation and go ahead with clarity and improved efforts. This is the most practical way to dynamically improve your training efforts.
One way to measure your training effectiveness is to evaluate the survey responses from your trainees. For example, if all your trainees have said that they are not comfortable with a particular topic before the training and 70% of them change their answer after the training and say that they are comfortable now– then it means that your training is successful. If this percentage is less than 50%, then it means that your training needs to be improved.
Another important thing that you should measure is– the engagement of your employees in learning. You need to measure their interest and their drive towards learning more by themselves. Below are a few things that will help you measure this:
Number of the downloads of your PDFs and playbooks
Number of attendees in the webinars and podcasts
The number of people taking the surveys and viewing the just-in-time videos
Measuring these things will help you to identify if you need to improve your training materials.
Last but not least is– the measurement of the performance of the middle 80% of your sales staff. Because its this middle 80% that is going to get the most benefit out of training (as the top 10% reps are already very good and bottom 10% of reps might have issues that cannot be solved with training). Improvement in the performance of this middle 80% folks indicates that your training is working.
Pro Tip: - Make sure that you do not make all these activities mandatory for your reps. Have some activities as optional. This ensures that your sales reps do not take this as a burden but as an opportunity to improve themselves.
Published on Mon Mar 30 2020