Proper training and coaching in a hybrid world is the most important strategy for maximizing the performance of the individuals on your team. Yet the pitfalls in face-to-face training are amplified in virtual training. Here are two common misguided approaches to hybrid sales training and what you can do to turn it around, build a high-functioning team, and crush your goals.
Pitfall 1: Focus on the training vs. the learning
Too many sales leaders focus on the training process rather than the learning process. They train the best way for them rather than how their salespeople learn. Don’t worry – it’s a common mistake! I even made it myself back in the day.
Several years ago I received a call from Maria, one of our biggest sales training clients. She asked if I would create a Train the Trainer course for her team. I was elated. Then she told me, “Before I hire you, you need to take Mike’s course on accelerated learning.”
Confused, I asked, “Well then, why don’t you just hire Mike?”
“Just go to the class, and we’ve got a deal,” Maria said. I went, and it was there that I learned a lesson I’ll never forget.
After a good day of training, I used to go home and tell my husband, “I was great today..you should have seen me…” After Mike’s class, I realized I had it all wrong.
The goal was to have the learners go home and say, “I was great today..you should have seen me!”
Pitfall 2: Noninteractive Hybrid Sales Training
The most common hybrid sales training pitfall I’ve seen in my 30 years of experience is a complete lack of interactivity. Asking, “Do you have any questions?” or for the occasional request for input just won’t cut it.
Many trainers blame the learners when they need to hold themselves accountable. As a trainer, I can tell them how to prospect, create a pre-call plan, and tell compelling stories, but if I don’t give them time to integrate it and practice, it won’t stick. According to Adult Learning Theory (sometimes referred to as experiential learning), people retain:
- 10% of what they hear
- 50% of what they see and hear
- 90% of what they say and do.
You can tell your reps what to do over and over again, but until you show them what to do and they, in turn, show you what they’ve learned, your training will fall on deaf ears. Many trainers love the sound of their own voice (like I did) 😅. Learners need to integrate your information into how they present and interact with their clients. They need practice.
It takes preparation to build interactivity into your virtual training events. Breakout rooms, polling, and group case studies ensure that learners will apply the material to win more deals faster.
5 Examples of Noninteractive vs. Interactive Online Sales Training
Most online sales training includes watching online learning modules, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Sales leaders who want to ensure their reps improve their skills and outcomes ask them to take notes, write out the most important principle they learned, and explain how they will apply it to a specific customer. Here are five more examples of noninteractive vs. interactive online sales training:
- Jump right into the meeting vs. start with icebreakers to loosen up team members and create community.
- Present a list of “to-do’s” or attributes vs. send participants to breakout rooms and ask them to discuss which items they excel at and need to practice.
- Tell reps the stages of your CRM or sales methodology vs. play a game and ask them to draw a pictogram in groups using symbols, pictures and icons.
- Show a video of your new product and call it good vs. have reps perform a skit of how they would present it to a client.
- Share a hypothetical scenario vs. record an actual sales call and instruct learners to collaborate online to unpack the questions the seller asked to uncover the customer’s needs.
More Learning Myths That Hold Teams Back
In my new course on LinkedIn Learning, Virtual Training for Sales Trainers and Coaches (you can access it FREE here for a limited time!) I call out several learning myths, such as:
- Managers don’t need to be part of the training.
- It will only take one training session for our team.
- Repetition is the key to success.
- The 10,000-hour rule
- And several others.
These learning myths can be detrimental to your sales team’s progress. In the LinkedIn Learning course, I share more effective approaches rooted in research and practice that will transform your training efforts to meet the demands of a virtual sales environment.
Statistics show that 60% of all learners would rather learn from their peers than from you. You could say, “Ouch, that hurts!” or realize that with preparation, you can build a results-producing training program, get time back in your schedule, and continue to learn and grow through others.
Watch my LinkedIn Learning Course, Virtual Training for Sales Trainers and Coaches, FREE NOW for a limited time.