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Is Virtual-Only Enablement The Most Effective Strategy?

by Steve Promisel / May 27, 2021

Sales Enablement has dramatically changed over the past years – from “bootcamp” approaches where everyone shows up at HQ at hire and periodically over time to pandemic-accelerated virtual training with hours and hours of Zoom classes.

Whilst digital learning and virtual training have proven to be effective, is a virtual-only training and enablement program the most effective strategy?

 

The Benefits of Virtual

We know that different people learn at different speeds and the wide range of experience amongst sales reps can create non-optimal scenarios if everyone follows the same ‘one size fits all’ program.

The traditional bootcamp style of enablement has been proven to be inefficient both in terms of time and money, but the benefits of virtual learning can only be truly seen if we also move away from the ‘sheep dip’ mentality that has been a mainstay of training programs over the last 30 years.

The focus on virtual training also assumes that people are motivated enough to self-learn.

That is, we give them a hundred hours of videos or e-learning to watch, and a thick stack of PDFs to review and magically, they understand everything about your business, such as:

  • Your market
  • Your company
  • Products
  • Your competition
  • Your sales process/methodology.

Sales managers within a virtual training environment will inevitably experience a shift in their responsibilities around training and enablement, but the need for high quality, consistent motivation and encouragement to commit to learning is still essential.

It is a wildly naïve strategy to simply assume that if you give your salespeople a stack of virtual training, they will all motivate themselves to commit to it.

Sales managers face an additional challenge managing remote teams where they too often focus on deal progression in the CRM vs. coaching skills that lead to larger, more profitable deals for the company. This mentality can very quickly lead to a sales team that stagnates, running into the same problems and enforcing an artificial ceiling on their revenue generation and skills development.

 

Micro-learning and Adaptive Learning

Some companies have improved on self-learning through the implementation of micro-learning approaches. They provide bite-sized content for reps to consume, then often push a few questions at them to ensure that they understand the content.

Whilst there is a place for long-form training content, the evidence has shown time and time again that delivering learning in smaller, efficiently segmented blocks keeps learners engaged and avoids the avalanche effect where learners find themselves buried beneath piles of content that they never learn or understand completely.

The next stage beyond micro-learning is adaptive learning, where sales reps get those same small bites of content pushed to them when they need it, and they are automatically tested on a periodic basis until retention is most likely to have occurred.

Whether the training is delivered on a cadence or offered on-demand, the accessibility of content in an adaptive learning approach enables salespeople to learn at their own pace and allows sales managers to construct highly targeted enablement programs for each individual salesperson.

The periodic testing – which again can be automated to be delivered on a pre-defined cadence – helps to reinforce and consolidate knowledge and boost retention, reducing the costs and time commitments of future training.

 

Blending Virtual and Physical Enablement

Ultimately, in a post-pandemic environment, the ideal approach is a blended approach of in-person events and adaptive virtual programs, tailored to meet the specific needs of your sales force.

This blending of the physical and the virtual helps reap the rewards of both approaches, whilst cutting away the inefficiencies of the “bootcamp” model and avoiding the content avalanche that can often be found in virtual enablement programs.

When run through a product like Kairos, Mentor Group’s data-driven Learning Experience Platform, you can provide market leading training that is tailored specifically to meet the needs of your sales force, identifying the gaps in performance and knowledge and building targeted learning programs to plug those gaps and help you sell more often, for more money, faster than ever before.

To learn more about Kairos, or about Mentor Group’s proven approach to Sales Enablement, visit the website today and discover what Mentor Group can unlock within your sales force.

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Steve Promisel

Steve Promisel

Accomplished executive with deep experience in building and leading sales operations, customer success and professional services teams.