Online sales training – it’s time for a second look

Online Sales Training

Online Sales Training

Recent years have seen tremendous disruption in how customers buy. And if buyers change how they buy – salespeople need to change how they sell.

Customers need fresh ideas and creative insights for addressing a set of needs and opportunities that are both new and challenging. They expect sales reps to be knowledgeable about their industry, company, and issues at a higher level of proficiency than ever before.  They expect insights not product pitches. The want trusted advisors not product facilitators.

So how are we doing in meeting this challenge?  Well, once again it is a bit of a good news – bad news story. The bad news is few companies are completely prepared for the changes taking place.  The good news is there are more effective and affordable training options to correct that deficiency than in times past.

There are any number of reasons behind the good news story from new innovative sales training companies to exciting developments in instructional technology to some really smart analytical tools.

Let’s take a deeper dive into just one of the possible assets for doing a better job doing what we need to do to help sales people meet the challenges of today’s markets – online sales training.

What happened on the first look?  Most companies with a B2B sales team have investigated or implemented online sales training in the distant past.  Unfortunately too many came out of that exploration with less than a stellar opinion of the merits of online learning.

In some cases the Learning Management System cost too much and was a nightmare to implement.  In others the training system was installed and the reps did the training but they didn’t learn very much or they never finished it because it was too boring.  Well that was then; this is now.

Why the second look?  In the last several years tremendous advantages have occurred in online sales training. Today there are some great learning management systems from companies like Bridge and Absorb if you want to develop you own training and online universities like Udemy if you want to sign up for some great existing training options.

Some of the specific reasons for a second look are as follows:

  • Access 24/7
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Review previous lessons whenever you want.
  • Available on computers, tablets and smartphones
  • Join in on online discussions
  • Eliminate travel expenses
  • Minimize time out of the field
  • Try out exercises to apply learning to your own accounts

As the future unfolds there is little doubt that most companies will need to make a greater commitment to sales training if they are going to develop and maintain a superior sales team.  One component of the answer lies in leveraging the advantages of online learning.

Our best sense of the most effective option is a hybrid solution where part of the training is conducted online and part in the classroom.  The guiding principle is conduct in the classroom only that training that can uniquely be done in the classroom – think advanced skill training where optimizing practice and feedback is key.  Do knowledge-based product training and sales fundamentals online.

For more information about online sales training visit our Sales Horizons website.

If you found this post helpful, you might want to join the conversation and subscribe to the Sales Training Connection.

©2015 Sales Momentum, LLC


About Richard Ruff

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. During his career Dick has authored numerous articles related to sales effectiveness and co-authored "Managing Major Sales", a book about sales management, "Parlez-Vous Business" which helps sales people integrate the language of business into the sales process, and "Getting Partnering Right" – a research based work on the best practices for forming strategic selling alliances. Dr. Ruff received his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Tennessee and a B.S. from Rennsselaer Polytechnic Institute.
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3 Responses to Online sales training – it’s time for a second look

  1. Fred says:

    I think its safe to say that nowadays, the advantages of online training greatly outweigh any disadvantages. I don’t think this was always true, but it is now, and online training is only going to continue to improve as technology improves.

  2. Chandan says:

    Nice post, I do agree that sales training should be provided by hybrid or blended learning as it is a type of behavioral training where the behavior of the sales person need to be changed.

  3. says:

    It is good to see people take the time to spell out the problem or issue, followed by providing valuable direction as to how to dela with it. Thank You

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