One of the most reliable ways to equip your sales team for success is through a sales training learning management system (LMS). An LMS is a comprehensive software platform designed to manage, deliver, track, and report on training and educational programs. LMS platforms like Absorb offer a centralized and efficient way to provide sales teams with up-to-date information, sales techniques, and compliance training, all while accommodating various learning styles. In this blog, we’ll outline some of the industry best practices for sales training, and show how your LMS can give your sales reps the confidence to close deals consistently.
The Essentials of Sales Training in LMS
Before you hurry to choose and LMS for your sales training efforts, there are several factors that need to be considered in order for your sales team to perform to the best of their abilities:
Product and market knowledge: Sales teams need to possess deep, up-to-date product and market knowledge so that they can effectively identify consumer pain points and communicate the benefits of the products and services your business offers.
Sales techniques: Sales reps need a strong understanding of different sales methodologies such as consultative selling, solution selling, and challenger selling, as well as when to employ them.
Objection Handling: Your team also needs to be able to handle common objections and concerns that prospects may have about your products and services. This is crucial for building confidence in sales professionals, making them feel prepared for whatever their next meeting or call has in store.
Closing Techniques: From “assumptive closes” to “now or never closes”, there’s no shortage of techniques for making a sale with a client, the key is knowing which one to use. When the time comes to close the deal, your sales reps need the skills to bring it over the line.
Compliance and Ethical Guidelines: It’s vital that sales teams stay up to date and ensure sales practices are in line with changing regulatory requirements.
Sales Technology and Tools: Sales professionals also need to be trained in the use of your business’s sales tech, covering everything from CRM software to sales analytics, and other tools for managing leads and improving processes.
With so much information to take in, as well as techniques to master, it’s critical that your LMS offers your salespeople the content they need at their fingertips.
How Sales Training LMS Can Streamline the Sales Process
By implementing a sales training LMS platform, your business can offer a centralized and efficient way to give your sales team up-to-date information, sales techniques, and compliance training, all while accommodating various learning styles. A sales LMS can help make sure your team’s messaging remains on brand and consistent while giving your sales managers access to data and analytics that can drive better decision-making.
Another area in which sales LMS can help your business is the sales pipeline, otherwise known as the sales funnel, in which sales reps take potential customers from the initial call through the negotiation phase, to closing and post-sale support. According to the Harvard Business Review, 61% of executives admit their sales managers have not been adequately trained in pipeline management strategies and techniques, however, companies that had trained their sales managers to manage their pipelines saw their revenue grow 9% faster than those that didn’t.
One key way to improve your sales process is to integrate your LMS with your customer relationship management (CRM) systems like Salesforce and other sales tools. Integrating your sales LMS streamlines the exchange of data between training and customer management, ensuring a seamless flow of information while empowering sales representatives with up-to-date information for customer interactions. Real-time performance tracking lets managers monitor and coach teams effectively, offering data-driven insights for better decision-making.
Sales LMS can also offer crucial insight into the performance of sales reps through detailed tracking and reporting, giving sales managers the opportunity to monitor progress, assess the effectiveness of training modules and highlight areas for improvement for teams and individuals.
Designing Effective Sales Training Programs
When structuring sales training programs within an LMS, there are several factors to bear in mind to make sure that your sales team gets the most out of your learning content.
Personalized learning journeys: As any sales manager will know, no two salespeople are alike, and even the best sales reps have areas of their role that they can improve on. That’s why it’s important to create training programs that are tailored to the strengths, weaknesses and knowledge gaps in your team. Personalization also has the benefit of keeping learners engaged by offering a consistent level of challenge and a sense of progress.
Modular, self-paced learning: With sales meetings, calls, and unpredictable schedules, it can often be hard to get your whole sales team together for lengthy training sessions, and even if it’s possible, it’s not always the best way for your team to learn. By offering short, mobile-accessible microlearning modules that can be completed when it suits the learner, your team can fit their training in around other commitments and learn at their own pace.
Spaced repetition and knowledge retention: Anyone who works in learning and development will be familiar with the “forgetting curve” which tracks how quickly new information is forgotten after it’s first been learned. One way to combat this is through spaced repetition techniques which, in a study from the University of Leicester, have been shown to greatly improve knowledge retention. Learners who used space repetition had an adjusted mean exam score of 70% compared to the 61% mean scores of those who did not. It’s a good idea, then, to incorporate some spaced repetition techniques into your training plan to make sure new concepts gain purchase.
Assessments, feedback and certifications: Quizzes and surveys are a great way to see if your training is having the desired effect. Your LMS can help you gather feedback from learners that you can use to iterate on your current program and tailor future training modules. Short, regular quizzes can also be used to add an element of friendly competition to your training plan. By offering certifications in conjunction with assessments, you can also reinforce the sense of progress your team gets from their training.
Data privacy: As with any software that handles large volumes of employee and customer data, it’s vital to implement robust data security and compliance when integrating an LMS into your sales team. When designing an LMS sales training program, ensure that user data is handled with the utmost care and in compliance with privacy laws.
It’s also vital to align your training program with your organization’s sales goals and targets. Here, the data tracking capabilities of your sales LMS can help track the effectiveness of your training and see how closely it matches your ambitions for your sales team, giving you the insights you need to adapt your training approach on the fly. Businesses that are effective at providing training, coaching, and professional development have been found to outperform those that don’t with 17% higher sales objective achievement1. Training that aligns with sales goals ensures that the sales team can adapt and respond effectively to market changes, delivering a competitive advantage for your business.
Leveraging Interactive and Multimedia Content
With targets, quotas, and high levels of competition, sales can be a high-pressure occupation, so it’s often good to inject a little fun into your sales training. Gamification—adding game-like elements into your content—can be a smart way to keep training fun while also keeping learners engaged. Recent studies have found that gamification increases employee engagement by 48%2 and can improve understanding of concepts covered in training exercises.3
Gamified LMS training often uses things like leaderboards, badges and progression systems to give learners the feeling of “leveling up” their skills as they move through the training program, with quizzes and assessments acting as regular challenges to make sure training sticks.
But gamification strategies can be especially useful for training salespeople in simulated environments too. AI-powered chatbots can assist with role-playing exercises which can be a great tool for teaching, recreating the experience of a client call and giving your team a chance to practice valuable objection handling skills.
Sales Coaching and Feedback
Your LMS can also be a great tool for sales coaching and mentoring, facilitating real-time feedback and improvement among your team. This is especially important for sales teams as according to research from the RAIN Group, successful sales coaching has the potential to increase average deal size, sales activity, win rates, and new leads by 25%-40%. Another study by Aberdeen Research found that dynamic sales coaching resulted in significant performance improvements in both quota attainment (21.3%) and win rates (19.0%) when compared to the study’s average.
By using an LMS for sales coaching, mentors can adopt a data-driven approach to their training, analyzing the mentee’s progress, creating performance reports, and highlighting areas where additional support may be required. Your sales LMS can offer a place for discussion forums and collaboration between team members, acting as a place for learners and mentors to discuss their biggest challenges, share helpful strategies, and ask questions. Coaches can also use the LMS to track their sales reps’ progress towards different certifications and badges.
When using an LMS for sales coaching, there are several useful strategies to ensure that both mentors and mentees get the most out of the coaching relationship:
Set clear, measurable goals: Give your sales team a sense of purpose and direction with clearly communicated targets that can be tracked through your LMS.
Regular training and development: Equip sales professionals with the knowledge, skills, and tools they need to excel with short training modules and coaching sessions at regular intervals.
Implement regular feedback mechanisms: Use your LMS to identify areas for improvement among your team, offer constructive criticism that’s backed by data, and guide them on how to enhance their performance.
Performance reviews: Be sure to recognize and reward outstanding performance whenever possible and create a roadmap for the future with your sales reps.
Sales Onboarding and Ongoing Training
One enormous advantage of a sales LMS can be seen in the process of onboarding sales reps. Zippia reports that the average new hire is fully productive in 5.3 months with new sales reps needing a minimum of 10 weeks of training to be successful in their role. Having an up-to-date repository of product information and training content means you can get your new salespeople up to speed and ready to start making calls faster.
An LMS enables the rapid integration of new reps into your sales team so that they can hit the ground running and start generating revenue for your business. With a standardized approach to employee training, new reps can receive the same foundational knowledge and messaging as your existing salespeople, creating a sense of consistency and continuity throughout your team. eLearning can help new team members with cultural assimilation, giving them an introduction to your company’s values and mission, and improving the cohesion of your wider organization.
Measuring Impact and ROI
An oft-repeated statistic estimates that the ROI of sales training can be anything up to 353%., meaning that for every $1 a company spends on training its sales team, it receives around $4.53 back.4 Of course, not every sales team can expect such impressive returns from their eLearning programs which is why it’s important that businesses accurately measure and track the ROI of their sales training. Fortunately, this is another area in which your LMS can support your team in making data-driven decisions.
When measuring the impact of your sales training, the first step is to establish a baseline for the performance of your sales team by collecting data on deals closed, revenue targets and sales activity. Then, taking the baseline into consideration, you can set realistic expectations for what you want to achieve, both in terms of revenue and the effectiveness of your sales training.
To calculate the ROI of your training, the traditional formula is the program benefits (net profit) minus the training costs and then divided by the program costs or:
ROI = (Net Profit - Training Cost) / Training Cost
It can take time before you see a return on your eLearning investment, so, it’s usually worth taking other aspects into account such as productivity, customer satisfaction, and knowledge retention to make sure that you're looking beyond the bottom line and maintaining a holistic approach to training.
Teams that invest in sales training technology have been found to be 57% more effective than those that don’t,5 and according to a report by Aberdeen Research, companies that provide real-time, deal-specific sales coaching increased revenue by 8.4% year-over-year – a 95% improvement over companies that didn’t provide the same level of coaching. Turnover is also a key consideration when calculating ROI. According to The Bridge Group, the average company will spend between $10,000 and $15,000 hiring a new sales rep but will only spend $2,000 a year on their sales training.6
A stellar case study of successful sales training with LMS is marketing software provider Litmus who implemented Absorb LMS with our online course builder, Absorb Create LI. The company now has a comprehensive set of online courses dedicated to onboarding new team members, and they’ve created weekly learning paths to track who’s completed training. Team members can train and revisit content whenever they choose, and Absorb’s blended approach ensures their training can scale as the company grows. The team at Litmus reported a 5% increase in completion rates after the introduction of their new LMS, with learning managers receiving “very positive” feedback from the sales team.
Creating a Closing Culture
As sales teams face increased competition, the importance of sales training has never been greater. By integrating an LMS into your sales software, you can ensure that your sales reps are prepared for every call and every meeting, armed with up-to-the-minute product knowledge and advanced sales techniques. An LMS also offers powerful data-driven personalization capabilities, which can be especially useful in a sales environment, as Hamish reminded us on his recent Return On Intelligence appearance, “Figure out where your team is, then you can successfully design a path to get them to where they want to be.” With a well-designed learning program, accessible, mobile-friendly modules, and content that’s aligned with your organization’s goals, closing deals will soon become part of your company culture.
If you’d like to find out more about using an LMS to boost your sales performance, get in touch with one of Absorb LMS’ expert advisers or book a demo today.