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Teaching Sales Techniques: 7 Key Factors and How the Right Software Can Satisfy Them

Over the past ten years, we’ve worked with thousands of sales leaders who run large sales teams and we’ve found that there are seven highly-effective techniques that are responsible for consistent and effective sales strategy development:

  1. Break training down into bite-sized chunks to help reps retain more product knowledge. Standard sales training programs are usually 45 – 90 minute videos or lectures that are created once and only updated occasionally. Retention from these long, drawn out lectures is low — reps won’t remember most of the training weeks or months later in the field. Instead, your sales platform should allow you to easily create short, one to ten-minute pieces of training content using different forms like videos, text, quizzes or exercises. This helps reps not only learn the information more quickly but retain it longer.
  2. Utilize reps that excel in particular skills in your company to create helpful training for other team members. Normally, sales training is created only by a designated team tasked with building a training program. This means adding new training content is a slow process filled with multiple approvals and decisions. There’s typically no easy way for reps to quickly share helpful tips they’ve learned. But a good sales training platform should have a way for your best salespeople who have real world experience to create helpful content for their peers or share what has worked well for them.
  3. Have a way for reps to quickly search and find the training they need. To pair with the above technique, when you have hundreds of training videos that are placed in dozens of different curriculums and modules, it makes it difficult for reps to find the exact training they need at the exact time they need it. Reps should be able to search for relevant training they need just by using specific keywords that are related to the content they’re searching for, making all training content accessible for reps for just-in-time learning.
  4. Have a way for reps to practice with mock scenarios before taking live sales calls. Most training is set up to have reps passively consume content in a sequential order and complete certain exercises (i.e. quizzes or knowledge checks) to “prove” that they have learned the contents of the training. But these don’t show whether a rep is able to actually apply what they’ve learned in a real world situation and address potential customer needs. Sales managers should have an easy way to follow-up on sales knowledge and a way to give reps personalized feedback on their live performance before they start taking real sales calls.
  5. Use a scoring system to quickly identify and address skill gaps within your team. A Lot of LMS (Learning Management Systems) have no way of helping sales managers visualize how well their team is performing post training and specifically which key areas of the sales process they need to improve on. Managers should have a concise way of seeing not only the training your reps have or have not completed but how well they are executing on different pieces of the overall sales process to quickly make the connection between the training they’ve passed or failed and where they’re struggling.
  6. Make your sales training accessible to reps with limited or no internet access. Many e-learning platforms only allow a limited amount of access to content while offline, which leaves your sales professionals at risk of not having access to the training they need if they’re in a location that may have limited to no internet connection. Your sales reps should be able to pull up documents or presentations anywhere, anytime, on any device (including their phones) whether or not they have a connection.
  7. Make learning fun for your reps. Most organizations have dedicated learning paths for reps that are monotonous and boring which keeps reps disengaged. Reps should have fun learning so they’re able to stay engaged with training content and have an enjoyable learning experience. Short-term gamification, certifications, rewards, and leaderboards are a few ways to motivate reps to complete training.

Now that we’ve briefly covered the seven factors of sales training, let’s dive deeper into each one of the sales techniques and how you can use software to satisfy them.

If you’re looking for a sales enablement solution that allows you to implement each one of the techniques listed above, reach out to us for a demo of Bigtincan Learning.

#1. Breaking Training Down into Bite-Sized Chunks to Help Reps Retain More Product Knowledge and Sales Skills

The most common sales teaching technique among organizations is long lectures (30 min, 60 min, or more) either in video form or in person, despite the fact that studies show that retention from long form training content is low.

One study showed that students who participated in a 40-minute lecture only retained about 20% of what they heard as opposed to when the lecture duration was dropped down to 15 minutes retention increased to 41%.

Ebbinghaus' Forgetting Curve

Image Source: iSpring

You can read this article to learn more about how short-form training increases knowledge retention.

For example, a rep may take a product training on handling objections in March. Then they may have a sales call in June with a prospect that has an objection that was specifically mentioned in the training video they watched back in March. It’s unlikely that the rep will remember the answer to that specific objection without having to reference the training. And even if they quickly find the right training video, (more on this in step 3) it’s a hassle to look through 30+ minutes of training to find the particular part in the video where the objection was mentioned.

As a result, the rep comes to the call unprepared and unable to properly handle the prospect’s objections which could ultimately lose the sale. But, the problem of low retention goes beyond objection handling. It applies to situations like:

  • Remembering specific product details.
  • Questions prospects may have about contracts or other document details.

Having an LMS that enables short-form content gives reps the ability to go back before a call and quickly reference information they need.

We’ve found the best way to ensure reps retain new product information, sales knowledge and company methodology is to break down the learning into smaller lessons which takes only one to ten-minutes to consume, commonly referred to as microlearning.

Microlearning improves knowledge retention both short and long-term. Short term, employees can remember more from a training that was 5 minutes as opposed to a 40-minute long training. Second, long term, reps can easily look for a training and quickly reference it without having to dig through and find what they need in an hour-long lecture or a massive corporate training course. In fact if some training content is a short one minute video or a short PDF, reps are able to quickly answer client questions in the field and can confidently say to a prospect “one second, let me pull that up for you.” There’s no way this can be done with hour-long lectures and extensive PDF’s.

The Bigtincan Learning platform has a mobile-first functionality that offers the ability to create and edit short, on-the-go pieces of training content that reps can easily absorb. These short-form videos are accessible from the home screen, can be uploaded using any filetype and can also be edited to be shorter directly within the platform.

Accessing training remotely with mobile device.

Bigtincan Learning also offers interactive learning exercises in the form of knowledge checks and activities that can be paired with short-form content which helps further boost retention but can also give sales managers a quick glance as to how well the training is being retained throughout the learning process.

Managers can view progress and performance.

#2. Enabling High Performers to Create Peer to Peer Training for Team Members

It’s very common for sales organizations to not update their training for months or even years at a time. This is usually due to the approval process made by decision-makers that each piece of training needs to go through to be added to a curriculum. While this may be a standard practice for most companies, not having a process where team members can quickly and easily share learnings and tips with each other can be a major loss for your organization for two reasons:

  1. Sales training systems can quickly become old and outdated without new content from reps.
  2. There are lots of on-the-field tactics that reps use that aren’t included in training that newer reps can only really learn from more experienced reps.

For example, let’s say you had a great salesperson on your team that was particularly great at selling value. It’s incredibly useful for them to be able to create a quick training for other team members on what’s been most helpful for them, some of the most common pain points that new customers have, and the best ways they’ve found to sell value during the sales process.

Bigtincan Learning makes it simple for reps to become contributors with the know-how to create training that can either be recorded directly to the platform via webcam or screen recording or can be quickly uploaded from an existing pre-recorded video.

Traditional LMS’s require training to be placed in a specified course or module before it can be uploaded but Bigtincan enables reps to quickly upload video content without it needing to be placed within a particular curriculum or course, allowing reps to quickly and easily share their knowledge with other salespeople.

But, even after the training is created, employees will still need a way to search and find them. This is where our powerful AI-powered search comes into play.

#3. Making It Easy for Reps to Quickly Search and Find the Training They Need

Sales reps need a way to quickly find content without having to dig through dozens of folders. Bigtincan Learning uses AI-powered search to:

  • Detect keywords and phrases that will populate relevant content based on the search.
  • Deliver reps customized content suggestions based on factors like role, location, previously watched training, and more.

For example, if a rep is looking to reference a previous video they watched that is related to how to keep your energy high during a sales call but they don’t know the exact name of the training, they can type in a related keyword like “facial expressions” and the AI will suggest content associated with that term, helping reps to easily reference content when they need it.

The AI-powered search also recommends content based on a user’s specific role. For example, a brand new sales rep may see content suggestions related to onboarding while a regional sales manager would see content related to leadership and organization.

Read this article to learn more about sales content management.

#4. Allowing Reps to Practice Scenarios before Taking Live Sales Calls

Interactive learning like quizzes and activities don’t measure whether reps are able to handle sales calls because it doesn’t put them in an actual sales situation.

A much more accurate way to know if a rep is ready for calls is through simulated phone calls or role-playing where they can be graded on aspects and situations that would take place during a live call such as how accurate they are with their active listening, how well they deliver the value proposition, how well they build rapport or if they can maintain their energy levels throughout the entirety of the call.

Bigtincan Learning includes a coaching feature that allows reps to upload videos putting their skills on display for managers who can give helpful feedback. For example, managers can grade reps based on certainty, accuracy, expertise, energy, and overall presentation. Managers can also set timestamps and reference them in relation to the feedback.

Lets say a rep didn’t display enough confidence at 12 seconds into the video, setting a timestamp lets the rep jump exactly to that point of the video so they can get precise feedback on where they need to improve.

Recorded trainings.

Video submissions are able to be graded by more than one reviewer or can be graded by AI allowing reps to get timely, dynamic feedback.

#5. Using a Scoring System to Quickly Identify and Address Skill Gaps within Your Team

An issue with most sales training techniques is they have no method of continuously monitoring a reps performance after they begin taking sales calls, much less tie that performance back to a particular training they’ve gone through.

Bigtincan Learning utilizes a scorecard feature that scores reps on the metrics that are most important to a sales organization like opportunities created, pipeline created, opportunities won, bookings, average selling price (ASP), close rate and sales cycle.

Sales KPI's.

Once sales managers have insight into where their reps are struggling, they can then tie performance back to specific training. For example, say a rep is having trouble booking deals, you can look back and see that they didn’t pass a course around selling their value and make the connection to determine if they need further training in this area or if the training itself needs to be improved.

View training status.

#6. Making Your Sales Training Accessible to Reps with Limited or No Internet Access

Sales reps and recruiters are constantly on the road or in places with limited connection  (airplanes, factory floors, cafes). Any modern training software you use needs to work 100% the same offline and on phones or tablets. Bigtincan does.

Example of the Bigtincan platform on a mobile device

Bigtincan Learning has a responsive mobile first design that works on both iOS and Android and is built to operate with full functionality offline. It grabs content from your current LMS and surfaces it via the home screen so employees are able to view documents and play training videos without downloading them on their phones and tablets and taking up storage.

To learn more about our mobile LMS and content management solutions, read this article or this article.

#7. Making Learning Fun for Your Your Reps 

There are a lot of enterprise LMS platforms that deliver training in a very conventional way which consists of just one training after another strung together. Managers simply see progress as percent complete. But this isn’t the most effective way for employees to learn. Studies show that 83% of employees who undergo gamified training are motivated at work.

All material is available online and offline.

Bigtincan Learning has gamification integrated into the platform that allows reps to hit achievements and collect points which they can use to redeem certain prizes keeping them excited to learn and engage with the training.

See How Bigtincan Can Significantly Improve Your Sales Training Techniques

Bigtincan learning was designed with these seven effective sales techniques in mind.

If you’re interested in trying Bigtincan Learning for your sales organization, book a demo with us today. We have dedicated consultants who will answer your questions and give you a better idea of how we can help your organization. 

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