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How to Use Continuous Learning to Create Unstoppable Sales Teams

continuous learning - image

It’s not the first time you’ll hear this, and it’s not the last: training new sales reps is crucial.

But the most vital thing to remember is that training isn’t just for onboarding. Ongoing training and continuous development are crucial to a rep’s and an organization’s success.

Training isn’t just for onboarding.

I’m the Director of Enablement at WorkRamp, with more than 12 years of experience in enablement, training, and sales operations. In this article, I’ll walk you through bridging the gap between L&D and sales enablement for your sales teams to create a culture of continuous learning that leads to super-powered sales reps.

Learning beyond onboarding

After their initial 90 days, your new sales reps likely feel ready to interact with buyers and lead sales calls. But ongoing training beyond this initial period is critical for their capacity to learn and improve.

According to the Ebinghaus Learning Curve, tasks will require less time and resources the more they are performed. An employee takes time to learn to perform a certain task, and as they repeat it they learn to complete it quickly and more efficiently.

Ebinghaus Learning Curve - image

Source: ResearchGate

This doesn’t mean you need to overhaul your entire training program. Instead, provide regular, ongoing training opportunities.

Training should never be a set-it-and-forget-it strategy.

Embrace continuous learning and development to increase knowledge retention and empower your sales team in order to drive revenue and results.

Learning and development (L&D) is vital for any employee’s growth, but it’s also essential to keep your sales team informed on selling strategies and best practices, product updates and new features, customer needs and pain points, brand messaging, and more.

According to Hubspot, companies with continuous sales training reap as high as 50 percent higher net sales per employee than companies without.

Related: How to Run Sales Trainings Your Reps Will Actually Enjoy 📚

Enter: Continuous learning

Somewhere between when we were in school as adolescents and working in adulthood, we seem to forget that learning is a process, and you don’t just learn something when you hear or see it once.

Continuous learning and reinforcement are essential to adult learners, especially customer-facing teams whose processes and overall information constantly change.

For customer-facing teams to be successful, they need to be taught and consistently exposed to the information that will help them be as efficient and productive as possible — while also providing prospects and customers with an excellent experience throughout their entire customer journey.

Organizations everywhere have recognized the value of learning. 49% of companies increased their L&D budgets in 2022.

Employees and job seekers also look for opportunities to learn and grow. 94% of workers say they’d stay at a company longer if their employers invested in their careers.

Related: Why Training Is More Important Than Any Other Employee Benefit 📚

Bridging the gap between L&D and enablement

Sales enablement is the best, most qualified group to provide sales-specific training.

Sales enablement also provides the knowledge, assets, and skills your reps need to succeed. This is essential because 70% of all salespeople say they have not received formal training.

Providing ongoing training isn’t just crucial for performance but also for employee retention. If your sales reps don’t feel they are learning and growing in your organization, you risk losing upwards of 60% of your workforce within four years.

So how can you promote ongoing learning for your sales team? Discover strategies to challenge your team members by sharpening their skill sets and empowering your reps to continuously improve so they can close deals, hit their sales goals, and help your organization grow.

Related: Sales Training Is Only One-Third of What You Should Be Doing for Sales Enablement 📚

Learning tools and tactics to support your sales team

Sales enablement content

Your reps need to understand your customers, sales processes, and needs. Effective sales enablement content can help them do this on an ongoing basis.

Sales enablement content includes resources that help team members connect with customers. It can help them answer questions, address customer concerns, and ultimately convert more leads.

The best types of sales enablement content include:

  • Buyer personas
  • Talk tracks
  • One-pagers
  • Email templates
  • Demo recordings
  • Case studies
  • Discovery call checklists

When your reps have access to the content they need when they need it (depending on the buyer’s journey), they can feel confident about connecting with prospects and work to build trust and rapport.

Related: How to Design a High-Performing Sales Enablement Program 📚

Peer-to-peer learning

You already have some of the best subject matter experts within your organization: your top sales reps.

Leverage your standout sellers to train new reps on winning strategies.

Peer-to-peer learning equips your new reps with tactics that have worked with buyers. Seasoned team members can share their experiences, including what worked and didn’t, which help new employees navigate difficult scenarios.

Ongoing peer-to-peer training is invaluable because it enables SDRs to take a dynamic approach to learning which is essential when products, services, and customers evolve, as well as giving reps examples of what success looks like.

“Selling is both an art and a science, and it will never be static,” according to Melissa Regan, Senior Sales Enablement Manager at WorkRamp.

“This means there is rarely evergreen sales training. Embrace the inevitable evolution. A great way to keep your training fresh and in-demand is to create a recurring scalable loop with your top reps on working approaches and win strategies.”

Role-playing

Veteran employees can share their strategies, but it’s also vital for SDRs to gain experience in real-world selling scenarios. Provide these opportunities to enable your new reps to learn by doing. This helps them to anticipate questions, feedback, or other issues they may encounter when interacting with customers.

The key to successful role-play is to ensure that all team members take it seriously and push each other to learn and improve.

Advise participants playing the customer to give common objections and even be a bit difficult so reps can practice and be coached on how to best navigate these situations.

Related: 8 Sales Role Play Exercises to Prepare Your Team for the Win 📚

When they have already worked through situations in a role-playing environment, they will feel more comfortable and confident and have conflict-resolution skills they can apply to real-life situations.

Role-playing is a valuable tool to show salespeople the most effective ways to meet customers, handle them, and make sales. During your role-play exercises, encourage reps to emphasize the benefits of your product or service and how they can help to alleviate a customer’s problem or pain point vs. simply describing product features.

Microlearning

Let’s face it; your sales reps are busy. So it’s essential to create learning and training materials that are engaging. Microlearning can help you break complex topics into shorter, digestible pieces.

Use these microlearning principles to create more engaging, effective eLearning content:

  • Break up longer sessions into sections. Limit courses to 10 to 20 minutes. Based on adult learning data, the typical learner’s attention span wanes after about 15 to 20 minutes
  • Create materials for different types of learners. Not everyone learns the same way. There are four primary learning categories: Visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic (learning by doing). Use a mix of methods that will work for your team members, including video, audio, interactive lessons, and articles or blog posts.
  • Create on-demand content. While you may have some team-wide training, wherever possible, create on-demand, self-paced content so that employees can learn on their own time.
  • Track progress and retention. Use challenges and interactive quizzes to test employee knowledge and reinforce ideas and concepts.

Embrace continuous learning and empower your team to succeed

Ongoing learning and development should be the one constant in an ever-changing market. Therefore, L&D is vital to your organization’s success.

Learning shouldn’t stop at onboarding. Provide sales reps regular training on product updates, customer concerns and feedback, internal processes and compliance, and selling strategies. Regular training keeps reps engaged, helps them feel like valued team members, and gives you the competitive edge you need.

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      Profile picture of noranielson
      @noranielson
      ( 220 POINTS )
      1 month ago

      Let’s not forget how fast everything is developing now, and constant learning is a must-have in any aspect of life. It affects everything: education, business, and even relationships. I graduated from college long ago and realized my knowledge was leaving me, so I decided to learn analytical writing. I write every day, and now with the advice on Phdessay, I have finally made some impressive progress. This helps me not only improve my performance at work but also feel capable of overcoming challenges again.

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