Sales are hard. You have to know your market, and to know how to work the market. You have to know your customers, existing and potential. You have to know your leads, and how to follow up on them.
And, (this should go without saying, but you’d be surprised how often it doesn’t), you also have to know what you’re selling.
Factor in the constant changes to the market (new models, new trends, new fads, new technologies, new competitors) and the human element (talking to people and closing deals), and you’ll come to the same conclusion we began with: sales are hard.
The way we overcome the hard part in selling, is like we overcome the hard part in everything else, from learning how to program to speaking French: with training.
You have to keep your sales stuff up to date with the latest sales techniques, information about your products, the company policies and regulations, etc.
On the other hand, you also need to keep them selling, especially if you’re a smaller company that can’t afford to have employees off of work for too long, in order to attend seminars and such.
Time is money, and that’s nowhere truer than in sales.
Ideally you want some form of training that they can complete on their own time, but you still want to be able to track their progress (so, just giving them a sales manual to read won’t cut it).
E-learning (or “online training”, if you prefer) offers exactly that.
It gives you several advantages over traditional learning, which come from its very nature as an asynchronous (that’s a fancy word for “not having to force all students to be in a classroom at the same time”) and software-based service.
Time is money
Your employees are freed from having to gather all together at a specific time to attend lessons during work hours (or, even worse, after work hours).
They can study at their own pace, either at the office when workload is low or even at home. And if they have to travel to meet possible clients and buyers, they could also study while commuting.
Even better, lessons are available on demand; that is 24/7, throughout the year. This is great for refresher courses and employees that need to refer back to some course material.
That doesn’t mean you won’t be in control of training time: you can set timeframes for courses’ and lessons’ completion and have them manage their study the way it works best for them, while still complying with the deadline.
Money is money
The costs of e-learning compared to traditional training are much, much lower.
That’s not just because you don’t have to take staff off of work in order to train them, but mostly because the options for deploying an e-learning solution are much, much cheaper than renting a classroom (or dedicating some existing office to the role) and hiring people to do training seminars.
Whether you go with deploying a custom e-learning solution (like eFront) or signing up for a cloud service (like TalentLMS), the costs will be about an order of magnitude less than the traditional training costs (that’s about 10 times less, in case you weren’t paying attention during math class).
Change is inevitable
Online training material is easily updated. You don’t have to print new sales manuals every time a new product category is created or bring someone in to teach a new technique.
You can update your content at any time you want, build a body of training material at your own pace, and grow it as your company grows.
By the way, you don’t even have to create your own training content. There are scores of great training material available for you, either commercially or for free, that you can install or adapt for your e-learning courses.
Online training is also easy to customize – and far cheaper in this regard compared to classroom based training (which would require different dates or extra classrooms per department and/or geographical areas that your company operates in).
You can create customized material target to different departments, company branches, localities, sales teams, even down to specific individuals and roles.
You’re the boss
Online training adds insight and accountability into the learning process.
Modern LMS (Learning Management Systems) platforms have comprehensive tracking and reporting tools, allowing management to see their employees progress at a glance, including aggregate statistics per course, group, branch and so on.
Using LMS features such as “skill levels” and “certifications” (awarded on course completion) you can also tie training progress to bonuses and/or promotions, in order to further motivate your employees.
Speaking of accountability and insight, another benefit of investing in an e-learning solution is that the training material serves to retain and transfer company knowledge and operational procedures.
Important domain knowledge, new sales techniques, time saving tricks, efficiency improving hacks and such, can and should be codified in your e-learning system, so that new employees can automatically pick them up, and senior employees cannot take them with them when they leave the company.
In other words, e-learning helps you to formalize your sales process, but in a dynamic way.
Online sales training is also a very low risk investment.
Because its setup and operational costs are so low, you only require a tiny improvement in performance in order to profit from it and anything above that is additional profit.
Depending on your line of business, that could just be a couple of additional sales that otherwise would have been lost.
In fact a lot of e-learning solutions you can also try for a free trial period (a month or so), or get the cheaper tier and upgrade as your needs grow, in which case the risk is close to zero. Trying out one becomes a no brainer.
Have I closed the sale? How about a trial?
Visit http://talentlms.com to try our Cloud e-learning solution.
*You can also watch our video below:
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