It’s hard to get your foot in the door on a video conference call, isn’t it? At least in a literal sense. That doesn’t mean that online selling has to be any less effective. It just means that the rules of the game have changed. Not only are the techniques that sellers deploy different today, but remote training requires a unique set of best practices as well.
The truth of the matter is that simply waiting out the pandemic so you can return to the old way of doing things isn’t an effective way to succeed in the current climate or to set yourself up for robust sales in the future. After all, the nature of business is changing all around us, and digital is the new normal for the foreseeable future.
Perhaps the clearest indicator of how business is evolving can be seen in how we view the benefits of digital technology today compared to the years preceding the pandemic.
A July 2017 McKinsey survey found that 48% of respondents said they perceived lower costs as one of the top three factors that drive technology adoption across their company. In the summer 2020 report, only 10% of those surveyed said that cost savings were their prime motivator. At 38%, the leading attitude was that companies wanted to invest more in technology to achieve a competitive advantage.
Sales training is just one of the many organizational functions that can be enhanced through the use of technology. However, this strategy requires a unique approach. Business leaders can’t simply port analog training methods to new hires over the internet.
To make sure that your remote training strategies are successful, we’ll review some best practices. With careful planning, your remote training initiatives can set sales personnel up for a bright future, creating new opportunities for your company.
Launch your remote training journey with a professional sales enablement platform
As part of an overall digital transformation policy, sales enablement platforms can add tremendous value for organizations. The goal isn’t to recreate in-person training environments online. Instead, this technology is designed to open up new opportunities that make selling more effective than it’s ever been.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a sales enablement platform is a technological solution that helps sellers easily access all of the tools they need to do their jobs. Features may include easy access to marketing content for use in conversations with prospects and leads, as well as training modules that help support skills development among sales reps.
Showpad Content and Showpad Coach help facilitate remote training and frictionless access to digital assets for sellers. Through these combined services, sales agents have a clear pathway to growing their skills, gaining confidence and closing deals.
Do you already have a sales enablement platform? Does your solution include tools that are capable of elevating your remote training strategies? The following best practices can be enhanced by leveraging Showpad products and services. Read on to learn how you could benefit from these tips and tricks.
1. Facilitate access to content for new reps
Even for the most dedicated and engaged pros, all-day training sessions can be draining. At the end of several hours spent meeting with stakeholders from across the company, a new hire will be struggling to keep up with the deluge of information.
After several thoughtful questions, reps may want some time alone to read up on the company’s products and services at their own speed. The business’s customer-facing website is a good place to start, but new agents have probably already absorbed everything they can from there. Plus, it’s likely that the rep will need to dig in deeper about a specific customer segment or product line. Internal company documents will also provide greater insight than the consumer-facing abridged version.
A user-friendly content experience is important for helping new agents familiarize themselves with the company’s offerings. Point your sales reps in the right direction with Showpad Content which allows users to:
- Use artificial intelligence to quickly surface the most relevant assets
- Facilitate augmented reality (AR) experiences that bring products to life
- Seamlessly manage permissions and integrations
2. Promote interaction between new reps and their colleagues
Remote training requires open channels of communication to ensure that new hires are fully integrated into the company culture as well as introduced to various workflows and operational procedures.
Communication is also important for opening up connections between marketing stakeholders, new reps and their managers and peers. New hires have to be more than just a name on an introductory email. Otherwise, their colleagues will not feel comfortable reaching out to them to troubleshoot potential problems or provide positive feedback.
A LinkedIn survey from 2020 paints a pretty clear picture that top-performing sales reps, compared to other agents, are in closer contact with their managers and peers, even across departments.
- Research found that 59% of high performers used enterprise communication, compared to 43% for all other reps
- Also, 33% of top-tier sellers spend time training with their managers, while just 26% of all others did the same
The message is clear: Open communication is a driver of success and ongoing training supports sales outcomes. Showpad Coach provides an open avenue for reps to receive input from their managers and colleagues. The platform automates key functions, allowing for intentional collaboration and focused feedback.
3. Share standardized training content, but maintain flexibility for supporting the development of each individual seller
During remote training, there’s a great deal of material that will be relevant to a wide variety of new hires. For example, as you launch a new product, everybody will need to be introduced to its features and capabilities, and all sellers will have to develop a firm understanding of what pain points the solution is intended to address.
Likewise, internal policies will apply to all sales reps on your team. When there are standardized methods for sourcing leads, conducting outreach and logging interactions, everybody has to know the details.
However, as every good sales manager knows, all sellers have different strengths and their own growth areas. In this way, customized learning journeys can help reps achieve growth and build their skills. This is something that is difficult to deploy quickly at scale without the help of advanced technology.
Showpad Coach facilitates sophisticated sales training using repurposed content arranged into customized learning paths that are designed to support each seller on your team. The process is easy to execute and flexible enough to adapt to the unique needs of various reps.
4. Develop a comprehensive view into your sales training progress
Working from home can go a long way toward recruiting promising new sales reps into your organization. Remote work means that you’re able to expand your candidate pool to include people farther away from headquarters — perhaps allowing you to hire new agents in expanding markets, too. This benefit is also a potential perk for many rising employees and given the choice between having to go back to the office or enjoying the flexibility of dialing in from their home workplace, many reps will choose the latter.
This does present some hurdles for managers, however. Traditional models for assessing employee skills may have to adapt to the remote training environment.
Fortunately, the streamlined Manager Hub in Showpad Coach clearly visualizes employee progress for sales supervisors. You can instantly check overall team performance or review data related to specific reps to help you provide additional support right where — and when — it’s needed.
Managers can score practice sessions to give employees direct feedback based on recorded pitches, helping reps prepare for real-world sales calls and gain confidence in their selling abilities.
5. Make sure agents can access remote training from a variety of devices and applications
We’ve come a long way from the standard configuration of uniform computers and one-size-fits-all applications deployed across all machines in the company. Even if your organization doesn’t allow you to bring your own device for remote work purposes, it’s possible that employees may use their own smartphone or tablet to catch up on training while away from the workstation. Even using a different browser on the same machine can lead to technical glitches if your software isn’t designed for a seamless user experience.
Learner dashboards on Showpad Coach are optimized for viewing on desktop and mobile devices, so users can catch up on their remote training in a way that’s most convenient for them. Seamless integrations ensure a smooth experience when working with associated applications. Centralized file permissions in Showpad Content can be leveraged to ensure that assets are accessible to the people who need them — and only to them. Effective asset management leads to tighter version control without sacrificing connectivity and convenience or exposing proprietary or confidential information.
Help your employees close deals and exceed quotas — remotely
The Showpad sales enablement platform provides all of the tools and solutions you need for an effective and frictionless sales training experience conducted in a virtual environment. After all, remote training, and the digital tools that make it possible, will take on greater levels of importance as companies adapt to a technology-empowered future.
With Showpad Coach and Showpad Content — and by leveraging integrations — your sales team can benefit from digital onboarding and remote training best practices like:
- Better access to content and digital assets
- Robust collaboration, both among peers and across departments
- Scalable, flexible learning pathways tailored to meet the needs of each rep
- Thorough insights into team-level performance and the progress of individual agents
- Seamless accessibility, regardless of which device or application you’re using
Remote training empowers the next generation of sellers to succeed in an ever-changing business environment. It’s no longer sufficient for a confident agent to just get their foot in the door. Top-quality remote training ensures that you’re providing your reps with the skills, knowledge and experience they need to break down digital barriers and sell for the future.
If you’re ready to find out how these remote selling best practices can be achieved using the Showpad sales enablement platform, request a demo today.