For years, virtual sales training didn’t exist. When it started to emerge most sales leaders assumed that virtual training was the lazy way out and wouldn’t compare, in terms of value and results, to in-person sales training.
Recent studies, however, have painted a different picture. In fact, one recent controlled sales training field test indicated that sales teams who completed VILT (Virtual, Instructor-led Training) “delivered 23.2% more pipelinethan similar teams who received live classroom training.” In other words, the virtual learning environment can deliver better productivity results from your sales team and significantly improve your training ROI.
Some of the benefits of virtual learning as opposed to traditional training include:
- It reduces the cost of training while it increases training effectiveness
- It minimizes productivity costs while it increases productivity
- It’s easier to schedule of virtual training
- It provides an opportunity to include virtual sales role playing to confirm product knowledge and positioning
- It gives the ability to immediately assess learning effectiveness through various types of assessments
Increased Cost Effectiveness
One of the greatest benefits of virtual sales training is cost-effectiveness. IBM, for instance, claims to have saved $200 million simply by switching from in-person training to a virtual environment.
Cost savings include:
- No printed materials are needed
- Travel, lodging, rental cars, meals and entertainment
- Loss of productivity (sales) by taking your team out of the field for several days
- Guest speakers, product experts or SME travel and scheduling
Other benefits include the ease of scheduling initial and follow up training along with the added value that your sales team is home, so his/her family life is not impacted because of training. Virtual sales training also allows new product or service training can be more real-time based on the release of new products vs several weeks after the fact, due to scheduling challenges.
Minimizes Productivity Costs
You should never underestimate opportunity/productivity costs. Removing your sales representatives from the field, or taking them off the phones, for a day or more of training comes at a cost. That cost is identified in lost opportunities to be with prospects. Providing training in a virtual environment means each person loses an hour vs a day, or 4 hours vs a couple days. The hit to their sales pipelines is significantly different because they are not out of pocket for very long.
Productivity is driven by knowledge of products, new product introductions, understanding the competitive landscape and positioning. When you have to wait 6 to 9 months to get training scheduled, productivity is impacted. Knowing new products and how they play in the market, how to position them for maximum ROI along with understanding their value proposition for your customer is critical. Virtual sales training can eliminate the “waiting on schedules” game and give your sales team ammunition to talk with your current clients or prospects almost immediately after a product release.
Assess Learning Effectiveness During Training
Being able to easily give quizzes, surveys and evaluations are a critical part of training. You can’t manage what you can’t measure so understanding what your team is learning during the training session helps remediate any learning discrepancies.
Maximize Roleplay Value
One of the most common sales training techniques is role playing where attendees practice sales methods, product positioning and value propositions. This opportunity to practice profoundly affects their knowledge and skill level and is one of the ways they derive the greatest value from the training experience.
In live role playing, participants are forced into a stand and deliver environment. With virtual training, however, analysis shows that salespeople typically practice six times before submitting their role play assignment.
Jigsaw Interactive is set up for virtual, recordable role playing in customizable breakout rooms. The recording approach allows for more practice, more useful coaching (reviewers have time to minutely analyze performances and provide relevant feedback), and better peer examples (assuming moderators choose to share some of the recorded roleplays for example purposes). All of these benefits translate to a better training value proposition for the company.
Sales training can pose several challenges for HR and training managers, yet it is a key part of a business’s success. The current best solution for any company’s sales training needs is the virtual sales training platform offered by Jigsaw Interactive.