One sales team, many skill gaps? Use sales training technology!

by | Apr 26, 2023

Learning how to learn is in itself a skill and sales training technology can fast track that in any business environment, the sales business included. In a sales team, it is only normal to expect varying skill levels amongst sales reps and this holds good for skill gaps too. The difference between the skills expected in a role and those possessed by an employee, results in skill gaps.

In a sales team, different skill gaps amidst sales reps can slow down the overall team performance. It prevents sales executives from accomplishing their full potential and meeting or surpassing the desired quota set by sales managers. The varying differences akin to a palm’s fingers, needs something fistful to pack a punch. And, that elixir can well be sales training technology which helps in upskilling and reskilling sales hires. Here, each sales rep requires different learning programs catering to their individual needs.

How does sales training technology help in differentiated learning?

Using sales training technology, skill gaps can be identified after data related to the performance of sales reps is analyzed. Later, corrective training strategies can be applied to get the desired action from sales reps. This can be accomplished through learning on mobile phones using sales training technology where sales reps learn on the go. Hence, discontinuity in learning is eliminated. Sales reps benefit from AI-assisted, personalized bite-sized content regularly which refreshes memory on-the-field. This micro learning experience can be gamified for enhanced engagement from sales reps. They get the freedom for flexible self-paced learning which builds their skills based on their unique proficiency levels.

See Also: The 8 Best Ways of Onboarding Distributed Sales Reps Effectively

Therefore, mobiles get a pat on the back as a learning instrument for professionals. The below statistics from Asia-Pacific Skillsoft survey only seconds that:

  • 72% of the respondents cited improved engagement via mobile learning.
  • 43% of those surveyed felt productivity levels increased compared to non-mobile users. 
  • 70% of the participants declared themselves to be more motivated when training using mobile devices versus a computer.

Benefits of leveling a differentiated sales team through sales training technology

Sales training technology refers to the use of digital resources and tools to support sales teams in their efforts to close more deals and improve their overall performance. When used effectively, sales training technology can help a sales team with different skill gaps in several ways:

1. Data-driven insights

Sales training technology platforms often provide analytics and reporting features that enable sales managers to track the progress of their team members. This data can help identify areas where specific team members may be struggling and provide insights into the effectiveness of the training content.

The resultant data-driven coaching arrived after identifying individual skill gaps, helps to aid sales reps with personalized learning plans or pathways to help close each gap. The insight is often macro-level in nature keeping in mind the closing of each gap contributing to the larger picture. This uncovers the skills of the highest performing sales reps which contribute to their winning ways. Thus, average performing sales reps can mimic these skills to improve their standing. The result is that quota attainment peaks across the board.

2. Personalized content delivery and learning

With sales training technology, sales teams can receive personalized learning experiences tailored to their specific skill gaps. For example, if some team members struggle with negotiation skills, they can access online courses and training modules that focus specifically on negotiation techniques. 

Similarly, those who need to improve their product knowledge can access content that focuses on product features and benefits. Help of artificial intelligence is taken to recommend customized content based on the specific needs of the sales rep. In fact, 77% of learning and development professionals feel personalized learning is very important to employee engagement. It helps if it is conversational, easily understood, relevant and role-specific.

3. Microlearning

A traditional marathon training session between a sales trainer and sales reps in a classroom contributes to mental fatigue of sales reps. This is so as the content is heavy and mostly forgotten later. Sales training technology helps here. To ensure learner retention microlearning videos play a significant role. They are short in duration, bite-sized, easily digestible, on-demand and on-the-go. Learning is then a continuous on-going process. It blends into the daily schedules of sales reps smoothly.

4. Gamification

Many sales training technology platforms incorporate gamification features, such as leader boards, badges, and rewards, to motivate learners and increase engagement. These features can be especially effective in engaging sales reps who may be resistant to traditional forms of training. Gamification makes micro content more appealing with animation, live feed and engaging tutorials designed to earn attention.

See Also: Leveraging Gamification Elements in Your Sales Training

Sales reps have their upskilling and reskilling coaching sessions converted to a more fun, interactive, and competitive process with gamification. This acts as a game changer for distributed workforces by stimulating motivation, driving action, and sustaining focus. Sales managers also get a real-time scorecard for each employee highlighting their progress, lag, and competency map.

5. Continuous learning

Sales training technology can facilitate continuous learning, allowing sales teams to stay up to date with the latest industry trends, best practices and sales techniques. This is particularly important in rapidly evolving industries where sales strategies and customer expectations change frequently. It is imperative that skills should evolve as and when the industry evolves.

6. Flexible learning

Sales training technology offers flexibility in terms of where and when sales teams can access learning content. Sales reps can access learning resources from any location with an internet connection, making it possible to fit learning into their busy schedules. This is especially important for remote teams, where traditional classroom-style training may not be feasible.

7. Access to training and resources

Sales training tools provide access to a wealth of training materials and resources that can help sales reps improve their skills and knowledge. For example, they may offer access to product information, industry research, best practices and sales training courses.

It is vital to note that sales reps can now have easier and speedier access to a central repository of various content. This facilitates closing different skill gaps faster. They can retrieve any sales document before, during or after a sales call.

8. Improved communication and collaboration

Sales training processes facilitate better communication and collaboration among sales team members, regardless of their location. For example, they may provide access to real-time chat, video conferencing, or project management tools to help teams work together more effectively.

In certain sales training platforms, sales reps can view one another’s responses to the various challenges put forth and see how they stand vis-à-vis each other. Sales contests with different incentives for closing different skill gaps help improve collaboration through healthy competition.

See Also: How can you enable your sales team to learn?

9. Streamlined sales processes

Sales training technology can automate and streamline sales processes, making it easier for sales reps to focus on selling. For example, they may automate lead generation, prospecting and sales reporting, freeing up more time for sales reps to focus on closing deals.

Training modules to suit different skill gaps are designed and deployed as part of sales training techniques. This makes the training processes more efficient, effective and simple thereby streamlining it.

To put it succinctly, sales training technology can be a valuable tool for sales teams with different skill gaps. By providing data-driven, personalized, flexible and engaging learning experiences, it can help sales reps develop the skills they need to be successful while enabling sales managers to monitor and track their progress.

A note to the sales manager

In many cases, you may have a 1:25 ratio of sales reps to manage. The stress is high and efforts though doubled up, mostly end up generating just 10-15% of highly performing sales reps. However, out of the entire sales team, 60-70% of the sales reps are your core team. They generate a lot of significant value though they may not be generating the profit as much as your best sales reps. A lot of the investment happens to benefit only the sales reps closest to complex value chains.

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The ratio of your best sales rep to the core team stands at 1:6 or 1:10 The economic benefit of moving the core sales team members to improvement by 10 percentage points is immense. This benefit will be significantly different from what you gain from your best sales reps. New processes and maturity models are required to move the 60-70% core team to a higher plane. Remote first will accelerate in closing the divergence between your best sales reps and the rest. If the average quota attainment of the core team can be increased by 10% then it translates to seven times more revenue than the current status quo. This is higher than what can be achieved when the best sales reps’ average quota attainment is increased by 10%. 

You can play the saviour by identifying the competency map for the organization – what kind of skills are important for what roles? This will help in creating appropriate content for each role. Thus, the strategy for the content can be planned. 

Last Word

A sales rep leaving an organization costs the company one and a half times more than the revenue they bring in. Retention of sales reps is a tricky issue. Addressing their pain points, especially when it boils down to their skill gaps should be the primary concern of the sales management. What is needed then is not generic training but one focused on the individual sales rep. It is not humanly possible to create personalized content for each sales rep by a sales manager. Hence, with sales training technology tools, sales managers can set the configuration and the platform will drive the personalization. Streamz is one such leading and proven platform, which you can check out and see.

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