Automate the development of your sales team

    When we talk about sales team development, usually people think about all day workshops or seminars. Some people think about e-learning or self-paced training. The fact is, when was the last time a sales person raised their hand and asked at the end of a workshop to keep going because the material was so interesting?

    There is nothing wrong with workshops or seminars, but the challenge is how do you sustain what was taught? How are sales people practicing what they learned? How do they truly create positive selling habits? One-day programs do not help accomplish this.

    What’s the answer?

    The keys are two major movements you can adopt. First, structure activities that your staff can do on their own. Second, leverage services that can automate delivery and practice of content that can condition and remind reps of what they need to do.   

    Self-directed learning (SDL) is a structured process of learning and developing better practices that is administered by the employees themselves. This concept is often misunderstood because it is a very ambiguous term that most corporations have not yet grasped. Therein lies the opportunity. SDL, if structured properly accelerates the development of an organization without spending higher dollars on traditional training like workshops or e-learning. That’s not to say those methods are not valuable, rather SDL provides a means to leverage those methods and drastically facilitate the needed change. 

    Why do organizations need SDL?

    Traditional training roughly covers about 75 percent of the training done in corporate America. People are busy. Economic conditions ask employees to do more than they did just a few years ago. Time is very tight. We need to have employees perform better without disrupting traditional work.

    What advantages are there with SDL?  

    It’s something employees can do  anytime and anywhere. It takes little time away from their day-to-day work. It can be designed easily to address the individual needs of each employee.  

    How do you start a SDL program?

    It’s much easier than people think. Define what you want from the staff or group. Define two or three things each person needs to improve. Write down weekly activities the group can do together. Make sure the activities represent what’s going on in the real world.

    Design criteria

    A major element is to define the change needed. Is it a skill, knowledge, or behavioral change? If it’s a skill, they need to practice it. If it’s knowledge they need to be able to teach it. If it’s behavioral they need to acknowledge it and act out the desired behavior. 

    What tools or resources are helpful?

    Anything is fair game. The trick is to use tools that facilitate the change needed to improve the defined performance.

    • Fellow employees
    • Company website
    • Company brochure
    • Books
    • Articles

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