In the early years of e-learning, many companies confused cost savings with value. Libraries of e-learning modules were subscribed to, LMS systems purchased, and cost savings celebrated. But learners were disengaged, the learning experience could be dull and repetitive, learning was being done in isolation, and there was often little link between the library courses and learners’ day-to-day jobs. The approach was particularly ineffective for action-orientated millennial sales audiences and hopeless as an induction tool. Not surprisingly, e-learning gained a mixed reputation, with many companies reverting to traditional training or a blend of training methods. But the best and the newer digital companies learned from this experience, and a new generation of solutions are proving highly effective at engaging sales induction audiences. The best solutions:
- Involve sales managers in the learning journey. Creating the context for coaching and manager support needs is a key part of any digital induction sales programme.
- Incorporate multiple and highly visual learning mediums that maintain the interest of learners, particularly millennials.
- Provide the opportunity for salespeople to be proactive, and not just learn theory. Advanced sales simulations allow salespeople to build and refine their skills in a safe environment.
- Offer peer group interaction, allowing learners to communicate and share experiences.
- Include gamification techniques that appeal to the competitive instincts of new salespeople.
- Offer assessments so salespeople can direct their learning to the most needed areas.
- Create a genuine blended learning opportunity, with workshops designed to apply learning to real-life sales scenarios and accounts.
- Provide companies with the opportunity to tailor the training, and include modules on their products, services, customers and sales processes.
These solutions are a world away from the primitive offerings of the early e-learning years. Our research with TrainingIndustry.com shows that induction is now one of the most popular purposes of digital training, a reflection on the improvements made by the e-learning industry.
At Imparta, we’ve been at the forefront of designing this new generation of learning technologies for sales audiences. They are situated at the heart of our Academy and blended learning approaches. Our newly launched Virtual Sales Academy® reimagines sales training – in particular, how sales induction for new hires can be implemented. The Virtual Sales Academy® combines the effectiveness of real-world learning with the efficiency of e-learning.
Director of Cisco’s EMEA Sales Acceleration team, Tania Day, led the Cisco team that collaborated on the initial development of the Virtual Sales Academy as the Academy’s first customer. She said, ‘We couldn’t find one, complete digital solution in the market that we believed would achieve our goals for our new hires. So we asked Imparta to help us reimagine digital sales training. The programme has been incredibly well received, particularly the interactivity of the sales simulations and the multiple learning mediums that appeal to our millennial learners. It’s really scalable, and we’ve projected savings of $1 million in 3 years.’
Visit the Virtual Sales Academy website.