Why your sales staff need elearning

Posted on Jul 03, 2014

Elearning

Sales Staff can really benefit from elearning

It doesn't really matter what your business is or even what it does. When it comes to elearning practices any business will benefit from its increased ability to communicate, reach, and teach its staff.

Within the sales world it’s perhaps even more important as members of a sales team are likely to be travelling around. Unlike other members of staff, it can be detrimental to keep your sales team tethered to a desk. Often members of a sales department are in transit between visiting potential leads and working within an office environment.

However it can be difficult to teach your staff when they’re not in-house. This is where elearning practices become increasingly useful. Your business can use such methods to reach staff whilst they’re on the move and at the times that suit them best.

It can be hard for a sales team to stay abreast of the latest product updates and maintaining training that keeps your staff current can become a hassle. However for a sales team telesales training is essential and your sales staff must be well versed in any product or industry changes.

For any business that struggles with any of the above it seems fair to say that elearning practices could be not only beneficial but also necessary. Let’s consider then some of the advantages that it offers a business and its sales team.

Why elearning?

This may well still be the question that many businesses are asking. There is however a number of great reasons to adopt elearning practices. Let’s consider some statistics.

  • Companies that utilise elearning generate revenue that’s 26% higher per employee
  • Online learning platforms typically requires 40 – 60% less employee time than classroom equivalents
  • It increases a business’ productivity by 50% and for every $1 spent on elearning there’s a return of $30 worth of productivity.

In general then elearning platforms can not only aid a business in terms of communication with its staff, but it can also benefit a business through a marked increase in productivity. Let’s explore further some practices and the benefit they’ll have when incorporated within your business structure.

Elearning has greatly altered the way that a business trains its staff. Companies are currently increasing its usage regardless of size. Last year alone 41.7% of global Fortune 500 Companies used such technology during formal learning hours.

Employees have far more extensive control when elearning practices are adopted within a business infrastructure. Their learning process becomes their own and they can better understand the material presented by approaching it and researching it from their own perspective and learning methods. Elearning can have a 60% faster learning curve than traditional alternatives. IBM also noted a drastic increase in employee learning retention rates through with no increase in training time; it’s effectively a better teacher than instructor-led training.

When elearning is combined with traditional instructor-led lessons there’s an even better effect on staff and their learning practices. This is known as blended learning and it’s perhaps worth considering the potential application of this process.

According to a study from the US Department of Education (2009):

“Students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction.”

The use of elearning marks a business out as forward thinking and this can only increase the efficacy of its brand. In fact, this kind of training is even good for the environment and Britain’s Open University conducted a study that backs up that claim. The study found that producing and providing elearning courses consumed an average of 90% less energy and produced 85% less CO2 emissions per employee than conventional courses.

The case for using an elearning platform is extensive and very difficult to argue against. Let’s conclude this part of the article with some more statistics.

Elearning provides:

  • 35% improvement in time competency
  • 32% roll out of new IT systems
  • 32% improvement in the introduction of new products and services
  • 26% overall cost saving

In fact this kind of learning can have a marked increase in revenue generation with a 26% boost for companies that employ training and development best practices. There’s also a reduction in the training time of staff members with the numbers reported standing somewhere between 40 and 60% than if the same material was taught in a classroom setting.

Effectively all of the above facts and figures show just how useful, beneficial, and important elearning practices are. Implementing an effective platform can be an invaluable tool and it will generate greater business performance and learning outcomes for your organisation.

Elearning and your sales team

So, we’ve been a little more generalised in this article but the point is clear – elearning can greatly galvanise your business. Let’s look at how it can work more closely within your sales team and how you can utilise it to increase the efficiency of employee training.

Elearning is a flexible practice and one that allows employees to learn at their own rate and in their own time. For a business to implement this practice well it must set consistent and clear deadlines for its employees however those deadlines must be approachable with the learners own convenience in mind.

Remember that your sales team is very busy and training requirements must be able to be slotted in amongst your sales teams other commitments. Consider perhaps that your staff may approach learning tasks in-between sales calls, first thing in the morning, or perhaps after they wrap up their calls at the end of the day.

Elearning ensures that staff members don’t need to travel to training sessions and this saves time, negates some of the potential decreases in productivity, and fosters a work force that has more agency. The other great factor is the ability for your staff members to work through tasks at their own rate letting them spend longer on more complex materials and move quickly through content that they already know well.

As we mentioned earlier, students on an elearning platform have a 60% faster learning curve which supports the idea that it allows a more flexible platform. This means that employees can work through the material as they see it and retain more information.

Your employees are already portable

Tablets, mobile phone, laptops and any number of new tech devices now have internet access. This ensures that your employees can always be connected and (perhaps more importantly) can always be learning. Responsive elearning means that your telesales team can log on to their portable devices when they’re on the road and if they’re on call and need to quickly reference material, they can.

Elearning also increases motivation and one study found that 70% of students had increased motivation to work on their training when they were able to do it on mobile devices. Your employees are already using their smart devices to access content and are increasingly moving to portable computer screens. Meet them on the devices that they already know and love and you’ll find a marked increase in user engagement when it comes to work courses.

Employees can revisit information

In a traditional classroom setting students are required to take notes. They can revisit these notes later but it’s often the case that much information is lost in transit. That’s why elearning can have such a marked increase in user engagement. Employees can revisit specific information at any point in time and that information will be exactly the same each time that they access it, reinforcing initial training.

Elearning allows a business to store training material within podcasts, presentations, and documents. Employees can flag, save, store, and access that information whenever necessary. Even lectures can be recorded and posted online for employees to re-watch and refresh their memories at their own convenience.

A consistent practice

A business wants its employees to all be on the same page and working as a cohesive and coherent whole. It’s especially important when it comes to a sales team and it’s necessary that they are learning the same material.

It’s worth remembering that classroom learning may use the same book but be taught differently dependent on the lecturers themselves. Elearning uses the same modules and presents the same material across the organisation and on the schedule set by the business. The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to elearning is to maintain a consistent approach and to have a process for documenting how your employees are doing. This can be done via monitoring where those employees are within the coursework.

The above facts are all important to consider and you’ll find that much of the stress and hassle associated with training employees is greatly alleviated through good elearning practices. Those practices can keep a business up-to-date and its sale team can remain current and up to speed. Elearning provides a more flexible, portable, and consistent option for mastering new skills and material than traditional learning methods and approaches.

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Author: Kate Pasterfield, Creative Director, Sponge

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