Workplaces have changed. Some companies are working in a hybrid fashion. Some are fully remote. With such a distributed team, do you really think hosting one annual SKO is enough? Can it really give your sales team all the information they need? And will they even retain what they heard? Probably not!
50% of new information is forgotten within an hour of encountering it. 70% is forgotten within 24 hours.
As a sales leader, you may feel tempted to frontload your one annual SKO with all the information. But the need of the hour is more frequent, regular SKOs. And ongoing sales training programs that complement those SKOs throughout the year.
Here are 8 online sales training ideas that go beyond the traditional SKO.
1. Regional Kick-Offs
With the right hybrid event technology, you can now adopt a hub and spoke model while organizing SKOs. This gives you a central location for a select group of attendees to set the stage with top leadership. There can be other smaller virtual or hybrid events held throughout the year. This will help in aligning regional teams and ensure everyone has a voice.
Reasons to organize regional sales kick-offs
- Enables sales leaders to localize smaller quarterly kick-off meetings.
- Allows SKOs with an iterative approach. Keeps conversations fresh among your leadership and sales teams.
- Is cost-effective, enabling you to allocate higher budgets for employee welfare.
- Accounts for the safety of the employees amidst COVID-19 surges.
Best time to organize regional sales kick-offs
You can organize regional sales kick-off meetings at the beginning of every quarter. You can also organize frequent virtual catch-ups for regular progress updates.
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2. Sales Call Recordings
Ongoing sales conversations are an invaluable source of real-time insights. Through these interactions, you can identify gaps in the sales process and learn what customers really care about. With most sales conversations moving online, you can gain from recording sales calls (using a tool like Gong) and reviewing them with sellers. This can be used as online training content for your sales reps to learn from year-round.
Reasons to record sales calls for online sales training
- Powerful training tool for the salesperson on the call to learn from retrospectively.
- Raises self-awareness and helps to identify the team’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Provides insight into common questions and objections customers raise.
- An excellent on-demand resource for onboarding new team members online.
Best time to use recordings for online sales training
Here are some instances during which you can consider using the recordings.
- At the time of onboarding a new salesperson.
- When you have identified certain skill gaps.
- When your team doesn’t have consolidated insight into customer sentiment.
- If you’re looking to identify a market trend, pattern, or customer behavior.
3. Product/Service Training
This training is non-negotiable. It involves training your sales staff to become product/service experts. A detailed online demo/discussion followed by Q&A is one way of preparing your sales team.
If you’re a software product company you can also organize a bug bash event for your sales team. Sales reps will be required to test the software product and identify as many bugs as possible. The fact that they must interact with every feature makes this a great way to learn.
Only 5% of what is heard is retained. In comparison, when practiced, the percentage retained is 75%. Ensure better retention of product and service information by gamifying the experience. Assessments, missions, and investigations are some ways to encourage practice and repetition.
Reasons to organize online product/service training
- Helps sales reps become consultative sellers
- Prepares the sales team for customer questions
- Eliminates the need for sales reps to be shadowed by subject matter experts.
- Enables them to identify use cases or features that customers can benefit from
Best time to organize online product/service training
Three occasions that call for product/services training are:
- At the time of onboarding a new hire
- After a major product/service update
- Monthly/quarterly/half-yearly basis to keep the sales team up-to-date
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4. Peer-to-peer Knowledge Sharing
Peer-to-peer knowledge sharing involves the sharing of learning and experiences between team members. Some forms of this type of training are:
- Live training sessions
- Pre-recorded videos
- Success (failure) panels
Reasons to organize peer-to-peer knowledge training sessions
- Facilitate online sales training for global teams through a virtual event platform.
- Ensures collaboration within your regional teams.
- It is not investment-heavy.
- Gives employees a sense of ownership.
- Accelerates employee onboarding.
Best time to organize peer-to-peer knowledge training sessions
Organize this type of online sales training program on a monthly or quarterly basis as a cadence. In addition to this, you can organize these sessions as part of an employee onboarding program.
5. Sales Pitch Training
This is the second most important type of virtual training program required by your hybrid workforce. You can organize regular online sales training to educate your team with the ideal process to follow from lead to conversion. You can also familiarize them with collateral like pitch decks, videos, demos, and more at such virtual events.
Reasons to organize an online sales pitch training
- Explain to the team how the sales collateral aligns with the sales strategy.
- Ensure your hybrid workforce is speaking the same language across regions.
- Make the team aware of collateral available for effective closures.
Best time to organize an online sales pitch training
This training is ideal for when you have new members joining your team. A sales strategy change can also trigger such training.
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6. Online Sales Certifications & Courses
Provide your sales team with formal sales training and certifications online. It can include training for the soft skills needed to be successful sales executives. While this may need investments, it will be worth every penny spent.
Reasons to facilitate online sales courses & certifications
- Keeps your team up to date on the latest techniques and best practices in sales.
- Motivates the team by accounting for their growth trajectory.
- Activates self-paced learning.
- Helps sharpen soft skills that may be lacking at an individual level.
Best time to facilitate online sales courses and certifications
Online courses and certifications can be mandated as part of employee KPIs. This will ensure continuous learning and growth. Another option is to provide completely optional training programs. Completion of these online sales training can be tied to appraisals and promotions. Gamify this experience with an employee leaderboard to derive maximum results.
7. Mentorship Programs
This program is also known as Buddy Program or Shadow Program. It involves assigning a mentor to new recruits for the first few months. It is especially relevant for a smooth transition in a virtual or hybrid workplace.
Reasons to implement an online mentorship training program
- Source of regular informal learning about company culture, processes, products/services, and more.
- Keep new recruits from feeling lost while they work remotely.
- A clear point of contact and a place to ask 1-1 questions.
Best time to implement online mentorship training programs
The best time to implement this program is during the first 30/60/90 days of a new hire joining your organization.
8. Training With Industry Experts
Engage industry experts via virtual platforms to train your sales team from time to time. Topics can be sales-related or they can be related to developing soft skills.
Reasons to invest in online sales training with experts
- Personalized attention from international experts and access to global trends.
- Opportunity to ask questions and clarify doubts.
- Provides a third-person view of your sales processes and practices.
Best time to invest in online sales training with experts
There’s no fixed time to invest in this online sales training idea. Consider investing if you have identified a skill gap and have the budget to invest in a global expert.
3 Things to Remember
A motivated sales team is the first step towards a successful sales strategy. Make sure you get this step right. More so in a world where hybrid workplaces are becoming as real as the air, we breathe.
And as you embark on this journey, remember three things:
- Organizing a be-all-end-all SKO event is tempting. Resist the temptation. Instead, treat sales kick-offs as an ongoing series of training events.
- Space out your training events well. Be sure to stay connected with your team while giving them the flexibility to swim in their own lanes.
- Lastly, gamify your online sales training programs like there is no tomorrow. It is the best way to ensure your rainmakers consume, retain, and apply the information you share.
If you can achieve this, then that’s a home run.