Upskilling sales teams to improve opportunities

Posted by Dan Kelly

There is no time like the present to prepare and educate your sales team for current or future sales deals. Knowledge is power and when salespeople are equipped with information, it provides better customer service and will bring more opportunities for the organisation.

The Covid-19 lockdown is changing the way people and businesses work; it also means that many companies are having to go back to the drawing board to ensure that their business plans are still fit for purpose. It’s no secret that many businesses are having to plan the rest of their fiscal years closely and carefully at the moment, to ensure that the impact of the lockdown remains low, and the opportunities for growth later in the year are high.

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Knowledge is power

Many are implementing new strategies and refocusing their sales teams to maximise sales for the goods and services that are likely to be in higher demand during this time. For example, a tech company turning its attention to the sale of laptops and monitors to aid the working from home set-up, or sports goods supplier putting a lot of focus on the sale of home gym equipment. This might mean the business needs to upskill sales teams to quickly learn how to sell specific products based on specifications and benefits or services they haven’t previously sold, or haven’t been as heavily focused on until now, in order to reap the opportunities available at this time.

Knowledge is power. So, to be successful, it is imperative for organisations to provide the team all the relevant resources and information they need, ensure that this information is absorbed and understood, and also ensure that the team is motivated. Businesses need to educate and galvanise employees in the same way they do when releasing a new product or service.

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Introducing incentivised e-learning 

At CR, we’ve supported many businesses who want to motivate their sales teams, or channel sales teams to fully understand their brand, products and services through incentivised e-learning programmes. Utilised within a channel or sales incentive programme or B2B loyalty programme or as a standalone education campaign. Information is integrated into an e-learning incentive module which includes interactive quizzes, auto marked tests, videos, reading materials, badges and courses that – when accessed and completed – enable employees to obtain prizes and rewards through successful achievements. The continuation of improving knowledge puts team members in a more informed position when speaking to prospects and boosts the chances of success.

Online learning can be particularly engaging for employees, improving knowledge retention by 25-60%, making it an incredibly valuable tool. Incentivising learning through prizes only makes it more engaging, and combining rewards with different formats like quizzes adds a sense of novelty to the programmes. It’s fast and easy for companies to implement, ensuring that the benefits can be seen rapidly.

e-learning can also bolster success by ensuring employees are fully aware of all product offerings. Certain industries like Technology and IT can take advantage of current sales opportunities by introducing incentivising sales convergence of targeted SKUs to boost deals and revenue. Sales employees could complete the appropriate online courses on which products complement each other the best and learn which ‘bolt-on’ products would be best to promote for different scenarios. It’s important that sales teams not only understand their company but also their products, and incentivised learning is perfect for this.

Building brand ambassadors

In addition to looking for ways to maximise sales, e-learning capabilities are particularly useful during this time to broaden and deepen the team’s understanding of the brand, and create fully engaged brand ambassadors. Training and upskilling has come to the fore, with many training providers adding more online courses to their catalogues as people spend more time at home. This is equally a great time to build skills in areas the business plans to focus on in the future, as well as broader knowledge of the company’s offerings. For example, if the business has plans to expand into a new sector next year, adding a quiz about the industry can be a ‘light touch’ way of starting to steadily build knowledge so by next year it will be an easier transition. Businesses can also build in courses to help build skills for personal development so members of the team are upskilling in areas that would support their overall job performance. Offering personalized, customizable content demonstrates the company places on every single individual.

Focus on the future

Focusing on the future is particularly important during the lockdown that much of the world is experiencing. In order to come out of this period as well as possible, companies can invest in eLearning for their employees. Incentivised learning upskills and educated employees so that they have the most up-to-date skill set possible, as well as boosting motivation. This will allow companies to really hit the ground running as the lockdown eases off, with workers who have become even more capable in and passionate about their work. With staff working remotely, now is the time to utilise the quieter environment to enable them to concentrate on developing new skills.

Having employees who are motivated, encouraged and continually learning is exactly what businesses need when we get to business-as-usual. This makes them more effective sellers, develops a culture of long-term learning, and also helps to boost morale and loyalty – which is especially important at this time.

To discuss how we can implement incentivised learning in your business, contact us today. Or check out how we have successfully implemented reward solutions in these businesses.

As a founding partner of CR Worldwide in 2002, Dan helped develop the company from a start-up business into the multi-million global brand it is today.