Sales enablement means providing your sales team with absolutely everything they need to be successful at all stages of the buying process. From tools and technology to product knowledge and marketing materials, sales enablement training is key to nurturing top-performing sales reps.
The training component of sales enablement is hugely important. It presents different problems across different industries, including:
- Creating training for globally dispersed sales teams
- Updating training in line with product/company developments
- Highly technical product knowledge
Effective sales training needs to be easily consumable and accessible to every aspect of the sales department. Formal, event-based training is a thing of the past for sales teams today, or at least it should be. Sales reps need to be able to learn in an agile fashion at the moment of need. Learning should be consistently encouraged and take place on an ongoing basis. Take this graphic from MindTickle. It perfectly illustrates how sales enablement training should work:
Your sales team needs to move away from outdated event-based training marathons. Here are some steps to creating sales enablement training that addresses the knowledge required at the point of need.
#1 Crowdsource training requests
The first step is creating a mechanism for the sales team to tell L&D what and how they need to learn.
A training intake platform enables L&D to:
- Create customized training request forms to gather the information needed
- Easily manage and prioritize requests
- Get insights into training intake data for reporting and planning
By crowdsourcing training requests, L&D can create sales training that drives performance.
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#2 Create knowledge profiles
As different team members join and new employees are onboarded, knowledge profiles on an individual basis start to look very different. How can L&D address the needs of a sales team with wildly varying levels of existing product knowledge and sales capabilities?
Creating competency profiles for individual employees is beneficial for several reasons:
- It allows employees to see what they need to do to improve their own knowledge/performance
- They can be incorporated as part of performance reviews
- It enables sales managers to plan and prioritize for hiring and learning initiatives
- It can assist L&D in the prioritization of training requests and course building
It’s also in keeping with current L&D trends that suggest personalizing the learning path as much as possible is key to effective training.
#3 Build courses for each skill and knowledge level
After establishing knowledge profiles, L&D can begin to assess the gaps. They can begin to create training that addresses each skill and competency level needed. Learners will quickly improve their knowledge and performance.
This is the part where technology really comes into play. L&D needs a way to build courses using rapid instructional design. Technology such as a Learning Design System allows corporate training teams to create standardized course templates and rapidly produce and distribute storyboards. Export courses via SCORM, PDF, or XML links, or made directly available as mobile-responsive courses.
L&D will quickly build up courses that address the technical competencies and knowledge the sales team needs to be successful at each point in the buying process.
#4 Work closely with SMEs
Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are becoming increasingly crucial to the training development process. As businesses continue to work in a more agile way, L&D struggles to keep up with training demand and relies on other business functions to support the development of training courses.
Sales enablement training is no different. L&D should identify SMEs within the organization that can be of value to course development. However, most L&D professionals will have firsthand experience of the frustrations that can occur when working with SMEs.
This is another area of sales enablement training where technology comes into play. A Learning Design System:
- Enables L&D to create standardized templates for course design
- Provides in-app guidance for SMEs to develop effective training modules
- Includes collaborative features such as commenting and tasking, so nothing gets lost in email inboxes
Effective collaboration with SMEs eases the burden on L&D to rapidly build or update learning material that changes with increasing frequency.
#5 Ensure performance is tracked
L&D should closely monitor the engagement and adoption rates of sales enablement training for continuous feedback on their training program. But with a properly structured knowledge profile, sales managers will be better able to track individual improvement and the performance of the team as a whole.
Companies spend upwards of $5,000 training a sales employee, so it’s essential that L&D can show the impact that training is having on overall performance.
Sales enablement should provide your entire sales team with everything they need to be successful in their roles. When it comes to sales training, L&D should endeavor to address specific, measurable knowledge and performance gains wherever possible.
Want learn more about rapid course design and working effectively with SMEs? Download this free ebook!