In today’s competitive sales environment, up-to-date and engaging sales training, information, and coaching is more important than ever. Sales reps need the latest tools to ensure they’re fully prepared for every kind of customer interaction, and sales leaders need the ability to monitor their team’s performance and provided any needed coaching.
To accomplish these goals, you must have a sales training and enablement platform that is flexible enough to rapidly and securely deliver up-to-date information, training, coaching, and certifications in an engaging way, accessible by anyone, from any device, anywhere in the world.
While many sales leaders have turned to Learning Management Systems (LMS) in the past to attempt to carry out these tasks, they eventually realize that a traditional corporate LMS is simply not an effective solution.
If you’re considering implementing an LMS into your organization to train, coach, and enable your sales team for success, be aware of these key missing features:
1. Dynamic Learning Capabilities
A traditional LMS provides little more than a static list of resources, laid out much like a college course catalog. Search capabilities are extremely limited, and there’s little in the way of direction or suggestions on what content to consume next.
Unfortunately, this just isn’t how we, as users, interact with technology anymore. Learning is seamlessly incorporated into the workflow, rather than being a separate, designated activity.
When we need to learn something, we search for specific topics and find information and answers in the form of videos, webinars, blog posts, graphics, and other online content.
Platforms like Google, YouTube, Netflix, and Spotify learn our habits and interests, and then suggest more content for us to consume based on our past activity.
In the same way, your sales reps should have the freedom to select the courses and pieces of content that are most relevant to their individual goals at that specific moment in time. They should also be able to skip around inside courses to find the exact information they need, in whatever order they prefer.
Your sales reps need a sales training and enablement platform that provides them total freedom and control, making learning exciting, engaging, and far more useful.
Unfortunately, a traditional LMS fails to provide these “dynamic learning” features found in other tools:
Flexible, Open Content Creation
A traditional corporate LMS is a closed system that does not allow you to incorporate learning resources from outside the organization. You are limited strictly to the training resources created by administrators within your organization.
Because it is very difficult to constantly create a vast amount of up-to-date content, traditional corporate LMSs are extremely limited in the value they can provide learners.
In a fast-paced business environment, you need the ability to provide up-to-date information and bite-sized training as quickly as possible. Having all of the up-to-date product information in one place not only ensures that sales reps can effectively sell, but it also ensures brand messaging stays consistent across sales teams.
In order to achieve this, you should have the flexibility to create and share training and information in whatever length and format you choose, rather than being limited to the long, rigid, traditional course structure of an LMS.
In addition, both sales leaders and sales reps should be able to add relevant and useful content from any source, both within and outside the organization. When content can be sourced and curated from a wide array of sources, learning options expand drastically.
Instead of having to create original training on a new methodology or tactic, for example, you should be able to simply add an existing YouTube video, slideshow, or blog article from a third party directly into the platform for learners to review. This ensures that your entire team is using the latest, and most effective selling strategies and tactics.
In addition, high-performing reps should be able to share their insights, tactics, and best practices with the rest of the sales team. The best submissions can then be turned into formal training content.
The right corporate learning tool should support any kind of content you already have, and allow you to upload content in any format, such as PDF, video files, Google docs, blog posts, YouTube videos, HTML packages, SCORM packages, and more.
Unfortunately, a traditional LMS will rarely, if ever, provide this kind of flexibility.
Recommended Learning Based on Past Activity
In a recent article, Josh Bersin describes what the experience of using a Learning Experience Platform (LXP) is like:
“Imagine if you opened up the corporate training page and it showed you ‘Mandatory courses to complete this week,’ ‘Recommended based on your current role,’ and interesting categories like ‘Programs to prepare you for promotion’ or ‘Tips and techniques for your current role.’ All, including much more sophisticated recommendations based on your prior learning experience, your job role, and what other peers in your company are taking.”
If you’re using a traditional corporate LMS, this probably sounds like wishful thinking, at best. Finding the right content in a traditional corporate LMS is often extremely confusing and time-consuming.
Your sales training platform should provide intuitive navigation that clearly shows users additional content related to courses they currently taking, recommended courses based on their previous activity, and personalized content tailored to their specific needs.
These personalized suggestions provide clear “next steps” for users, reducing confusion, and maximizing usage and ROI.
Live Video Coaching
When training sales reps, it is extremely important for them to be able to demonstrate that they have fully understood the course material and gained the necessary skills, beyond simply filling out a multiple-choice quiz.
Your sales training and enablement platform should provide leaders the ability to assess their team members and provide one-on-one, video coaching so they can continue to create top performers.
This kind of quick, on-on-one feedback ensures that you can get reps up to speed, and in front of real customers closing sales in less time.
Custom Learning Paths
In order to maximize user adoption and retention of information, you must be able to send your sales reps down pre-defined “learning paths” according to their individual needs. A cluttered, one-size-fits-all solution simply won’t cut it.
You need to provide exactly the right content, to the right people, at the right time. This requires that you be able to organize your content based on roles, topics, categories, skills, products, etc.
Some organizations, for example, use their sales training and enablement tool to create learning paths that include live video classes with two-way interaction, classroom learning, practicing pitches on video with feedback, live practice, and a final assessment to determine whether new sales reps are ready to start talking to customers.
This kind of dynamic training simply isn’t possible with a traditional LMS.
With a traditional LMS, there’s no added incentive to encourage users to continue learning and acquiring skills. It’s simply a linear, boring series of lectures and quizzes. Because of this, it’s often a painful, uphill battle by managers and leaders to get their employees to complete the training and pass the assessments.
To solve this problem, many organizations are starting to implement “gamification” into their sales training, with surprising results.
According to TrainingIndustry.com:
“In any learning context, students often feel overwhelmed and unsure of their ability to understand and master the material. What a system of progressive rewards does is present learning in a more inviting and less demanding context: a game.
People gravitate to something they expect to be fun. Sitting and listening to someone read a story is far more interesting to the average second-grader than sitting by themselves and filling in a worksheet. Being asked to earn five gold coins by working out the answers to five introductory questions about themselves is often a better alternative to new students than sitting through a two-hour lecture followed by an intimidating test.
This phenomenon has been documented already. Deloitte saw a 50 percent reduction in the time requirements for training and has also experienced much better retention than before their training was reorganized.”
One example of gamification in sales training is to provide dashboards to sales reps so they can see how far they’ve come, and also see how close they are to completing a course and receiving their next certification.
In addition, you can spark a little competitive spirit among your sales team by providing leaderboards so they can compare their progress with that of their peers.
Points, badges, and trophies provide further incentive for continual learning by recognizing sales reps for their hard work and progress.
Make sure to look for a sales training and enablement tool that provides these gamification features.
3. Mobile Options
According to Google, 80% of the global workforce is made up of deskless workers. While these workers may not be doing work in an office from a desktop computer, the vast majority of them are working and receiving communication from their employers using a mobile device.
A traditional LMS requires sales reps to access training from a computer in the company’s office, and only on the company’s local network.
What modern sales reps need in an on-the-go, globally-connected world is the ability to quickly access bite-sized knowledge from their mobile device, as they are used to being able to do with virtually every other service in their daily life.
As a sales leader, you need to be able to give your sales team access to your library of content (latest sales techniques, best practices, and up-to-date product information, etc.) whether they’re waiting in their car before a client meeting, or on their morning commute into the office.
4. Advanced Reporting
In order for your sales training and enablement tool to be successful and provide positive ROI, it must help you achieve these key outcomes:
- Ensure new sales reps are prepared and competent to handle all kinds of sales scenarios.
- Help existing sales reps continue to develop their skills and knowledge so they can close more deals.
- Help sales managers monitor the progress and accomplishments of each sales rep, and step in to provide coaching when needed.
Unfortunately, a traditional LMS is not outcome-oriented. The sole purpose of an LMS is to simply provide knowledge through training.
While a corporate LMS may provide simple reports on test scores and display the number of users who completed a course, they typically lack the ability to create in-depth, customized reports on things such as:
- What impact training is having on specific business objectives
- How much time a user is spending on any given course
- What content was accessed by users (and which content is unnecessary)
- Which sales collateral reps are sending to prospects to win more deals
- Where in a course users are getting stuck or confused
- How many attempts it took for a user to pass a quiz or exam
- What skill gaps users have, and where additional training is needed
- Data visualization to help administrators identify patterns and trends
These are the kinds of advanced analytics and reporting capabilities you need in order to see the direct impact on performance that your training is having, and to make any necessary adjustments or improvements.
Instead of a traditional LMS, what your organization truly needs is a sales training and enablement tool that is built specifically to improve these outcomes.
What Should My Sales Team Use Instead of an LMS?
Unfortunately, most LMSs lack the flexibility to truly place the sales rep’s goals at the center.
A Learning Experience Platform (LXP) like Raven360, on the other hand, gives you the ability to help sales reps build a flexible learning path that fills in the gaps of their professional skills.
Typically, sales reps only use their LMS when required. In contrast, an LXP serves as a valuable resource that sales reps rely on for answers, useful information, acquisition of new skills, and career advancement.
When your sales reps are more skilled at their jobs, performance across the team improves, revenue increases, and the entire organization becomes more successful.
Raven360 Provides the Sales Enablement Capabilities Modern Organizations Need
Raven360 is an enterprise-grade, scalable platform that helps fast-growing companies with high-complexity products painlessly train sales teams.
Raven360’s secure, cloud-based platform allows you to onboard faster, train better, coach harder, and close more deals with these powerful features:
- Flexible training methods: set up Instructor-led Training, Virtual Instructor-led Training, and On-demand Learning Environments
- Self-paced Labs: create sandbox instances of your software that users can test, tweak and explore, without breaking
- Your content, accessible 24/7: let your customers use and engage with your product at their pace, anytime and anywhere
- Generate extra revenue: sell subscription-based trainings through a simple e-commerce platform
- Speed up your reps’ training: get them in front of real customers and closing sales in less time
- See what collateral is driving sales: make it easy for reps to know which prospects need to receive which content
- Create top performers everywhere: easily assess your team members and fine tune their pitches using video
- Inspire the next generation of sales leaders: build a coaching culture that motivates your best salespeople to pass on their experience