If there’s anything the COVID-19 pandemic has taught me, it’s this: There is
no quick fixes, slap-dash measures, or shortcuts in life, or in business.
Though it is human nature to want our personal and professional lives to bounce back up as quickly as they dropped into the abyss, your business’s recovery from the pandemic will take a deliberate, strategic, and paced effort to yield financial rewards.
So, too, is the case with sales training or Executive Coaching: Though many providers are encouraging you to use this temporary pause to invest in upskilling your team – as my professors used to say – there’s a right way, a wrong way and your way.
I see examples of companies who are attempting to simply shift their in-person training into the world of Zoom and other such companies – compelling people to sit still for two days of instruction, amid the distractions of their work from home workspaces, and expecting it to stick. Others still take a generic approach to sales training, without regard for the nuances of the company’s business model, sales landscape, or the critical skills that sales teams need to be successful right now, in this environment.
Add to this a recent Harvard Business Review feature that noted the growing backlash and diminishing returns that are coming from pandemic virtual meeting overload and it’s clear that your investment in virtual training must be undertaken with the same care and deliberation as other corporate investments, and not just a click on a pretty advertising picture.
So, how can you make your virtual training dollar work best for you and your sales team? And what types of attributes should you be looking for in vetting newly minted virtual training programs?
Is It Really Virtual?: As I mentioned above, it’s highly ineffective to take a two-day, in-person class, and deliver it over a platform that gives you no solid way of assessing how the students (trainees) are doing for two days as if it was a Congressional filibuster. Two days of instructor-led classroom training does not equal two days of virtual instructor-led training. In a best-case scenario, salespeople typically can focus for about two hours at best, with frequent breaks and plentiful opportunities for interaction.
Also, make sure the structure and format embraces the kind of experience that is optimized for the realities of at-home, computer-based learning.
Humankind, of the Human Kind: Though many companies are offering facilitation during their virtual sessions, there is a special skill to instructional delivery via virtual means. It’s a distinct skill set that, many trainers will tell you, is very different than facilitating in front of a class of live humans. Not only should your virtual facilitator have the specialized training needed to ensure the training is successful, but you should ask: Do you have a producer or technical contact to ensure a flawless experience, and to troubleshoot problems? Are your tools accessible across a broad variety of platforms? How is the feedback from the students assessed, if you allow for the team members to give any feedback at all?
Also, does your facilitator and design team know how to mix the right formula of content, visuals, graphics, and interaction to keep things focused and compelling? (NLP) Do you have things like breakout rooms, quizzes, and chats?
Variety Adds the Spice: Does your content meet the customers’ business needs? Can it be customized? During these times, the best training for you and your sales team incorporates information that is truly focused on helping you to move the needle now. That should involve certain table stakes, including customized content designed for the variables of your business, market, or vertical, and pre-work that incorporates your company’s goals and aspirations into the mix.
I have been doing this for the past six weeks with an automotive group, involving not only the sales team members but also the sales managers and it has been received very well allowing the sales team members to learn by getting additional one on one coaching from their sales managers and we are still closing sales and giving guests a great customer experience.
Make it a champion day!
Brandon K. Hardison – Champion Strategies