According to the Global Business Travel Association, travel spending totals approximately $1.5 trillion. This considerable expense suggests that many businesses, including selling organizations, have operated under the idea that travel is a burdensome but inescapable cost.
Savvy business leaders are changing their thinking. These leaders are realizing that technology can reduce the need for business travel.
One key area in which technology can be very useful is in sales training delivery. Leveraged the right way, virtual instructor-led sales training, or VILT, can bridge the divide between distributed teams and expert instructors without sacrificing quality.
Now is the time for sales leaders to get a virtual instructor-led sales training solution up and running. Here, we outline the three key steps for doing so.
CONTEXTUALIZE SKILLS WITHIN THE PARTICIPANT’S SELLING CHALLENGES
Quota-bearing sales professionals are under constant pressure to perform. Therefore, irrelevant sales training will trigger disengagement. Keeping learners tuned in means speaking about the challenges they encounter during the sales pursuit.
Additionally, focusing the content on top-of-mind challenges also enables the sales professional to apply the concepts to in-play sales opportunities. Practical application not only means that training becomes resonant — it also means that the concepts are more likely to stick.
The key here is to remember that the instructional material must be customized to those for whom it is intended. Every industry, company, and sales team is different.
APPLY THE CONCEPT OF SPACED LEARNING
Traditional classroom instruction often demands that learning occurs in fewer, longer increments. This structure is due to the direct costs associated with travel and the indirect costs associated with quota-bearing sales professionals being out of the market. Virtual instructor-led training changes this.
A virtual solution allows learners to engage with the material in more increments that are shorter in duration. This interval is effective for learning in two ways.
First, spreading the training experience across a greater number of sessions consisting of shorter periods engages a mode of learning called “distributed practice.” This style is characterized by spacing out the instruction. These spaces between instruction are critical for driving retention Second, spaced learning affords learners the opportunity to more immediately apply what they have learned earlier in the training experience. This characteristic is in critical contrast to traditional classroom learning in which concepts are not applied until after the sessions are complete. On-the-job application means sales professionals can return to the next session with an understanding of how the concepts work in real selling scenarios.
INCORPORATE EXPERIENTIAL FEEDBACK
The participant’s experience is about the other learners as much as it is about the instructor and the material. That is, learning becomes a richer, more meaningful experience when colleagues are able to share how the concepts have impacted their performance. A virtual instructor-led format is uniquely suited to drive this outcome because learners have more opportunities to periodically pause learning, apply concepts to selling challenges, and report back.
The result of this dynamic is an environment in which participants are able to adjust and modify the material in real-time. Instructors can develop this atmosphere by offering on-the-job assignments between training sessions.