The changing demographic makeup of the modern sales force has created an opportunity for sales managers and learning and development professionals to rethink their approaches to sales training. According to Pew Research, millennials became the largest segment of employees in the nation in 2015.
The growing emergence of multigenerational sales teams is just one complicating factor in an increasingly complex selling environment. Another challenge facing sellers is that buyers come to the table ultra-informed, using the internet to find solutions before they contact potential vendors. The pace of business is accelerating, as are demands on sales professionals. They must spend their time wisely, which means minimizing days off the floor.
A recent Richardson whitepaper titled “The Future of Sales Training: Innovation for a Salesforce in Transition” explored these challenges and their solutions. The answer requires stepping back and rethinking ways to personalize training and to address how different employees learn. To be most effective, training programs need to meet employees where they are in terms of learning styles and preferences.
Technology as the Cause of and Solution to Modern Sales Training Challenges
Each generation grew up using that era's tools. As a result, there are differing levels of comfort with today’s digital world. Millennials grew up hardwired to technology, conducting most of their daily tasks online.
This means trainers should lean on formats that millennials and other modern learners are accustomed to: Gaming, social networks, and mobile technology. Content needs to be “chunked” into manageable and relevant modules so millennials learn in a format that keeps them interested.
By taking what has worked with previous generations and blending it with new approaches to content and delivery, the entire multigenerational salesforce can better engage in learning through blended or online sales training solutions. This is in fact the aim of Richardson's online sales training program, Accelerate.
Developing next-generation sales training for multigenerational selling organizations requires integrating old and new content delivery modes. To maximize learning speed and results, while minimizing time out of the field, we must flip the traditional classroom.
This technology-based “flipped classroom” approach saves time and money for sales professionals and their organizations, while supporting proficiency in learning skills, knowledge retention, and content reinforcement. A modular course format delivers content in small, bite-sized units, with specific learning paths designated for core or advanced levels and by sales function. Videos, infographics, and other media help learners visualize key concepts and make them memorable.
The Future of Sales Training
Achieving rapid and sustained behavior change through sales training takes more than just conveying data. It takes teaching sellers new ways to think, new skills, and new behaviors that lead to the desired habits.
Technology is both the cause of and a solution to the challenge of engaging today’s learners. It bridges the gap between traditional training and online engagement, helping sales professionals from all generations to accelerate their time to skill mastery and achieve results.
Originally published Nov 8, 2016 7:30:00 AM, updated July 28 2017