How to train a remote sales team for success in the next normal

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Why are some salespeople more successful than others? Is it luck? Drive? Territory? Especially in today’s virtual environment, what makes a remote sales team succeed?

A seller’s success depends on their ability to communicate the value of their product or service in the context of what the buyer cares most about. To do this, sellers must have the proper knowledge, skills, and awareness to lead the right sales conversations at the right time.

But how can you guarantee that your remote sales team acquires that knowledge, build those skills, and cultivate that awareness?

Traditional, one-time classroom-style training isn’t enough. If your virtual SKO is the only formal sales training you have planned for 2021, it’s time to rethink your strategy.

The reality for remote sales teams  

Today’s sellers aren’t just dealing with reduced budgets, increasingly risk-averse buyers, and growing buying teams. Selling in a virtual environment presents a raft of challenges, including:

1. Less opportunity to interact and build relationships with prospects

2. More distracted buyers

3. And last, but not least,“Zoom fatigue.”

These challenges aren’t going away with the new year. According to Forrester Research, moving forward, 80% of sales will be digital and remote. Meanwhile, a recent survey by Corporate Visions revealed that nearly 70% of sales professionals believe virtual selling is not as effective as in-person sales.

This belief doesn’t come from sales reps’ lack of confidence in their ability to obtain or memorize product information. It comes from a lack of confidence in their ability to effectively engage and build trust with remote customers.

The fundamentals of sales have changed, and sellers need a new suite of tools to help them develop the universal skills required to build relationships in a virtual selling environment.

It’s important to recognize that many of your former road warriors are in uncharted territory. They’re fish out of water in a virtual sales setting and it’s impacting their abilities to meet sales quotas. But you can help them find their footing in this “next normal.”

Training a remote sales team: The old way won’t cut it

Traditional sales training, often described as “just-in-case” learning, consists of cramming as much market, company, and product information as possible into sellers’ heads all at once. The intent is to prepare sellers as best as possible for any sales scenario and hope they can retain, recall, and repeat the appropriate information when the need arises.

But companies that rely on this approach often find their sellers (and revenue) fall short of expectations. The primary reason for this is that one-way, classroom-style lectures aren’t conducive to information retention.

In fact, after just one day, the average person forgets more than 70% of what was taught in the training.

Remote sales team training: Always on, always available

A much more progressive and proven approach is sales readiness – a shift from “just-in-case” to “just-in-time” learning. Sales readiness gives sales reps the resources, tools, and continuous training to effectively engage buyers and successfully lead them down the path to purchase.

Rather than relying on sales reps to memorize information presented in their initial training, this method cultivates their understanding of the value they have to offer and equips them with the tools and coaching to communicate that value in a way that resonates with modern buyers.

This type of sales learning is made accessible via digital modules or video vignettes offered on-demand. Modern sales training solutions integrate with sales enablement technology platforms to offer deep analytics and insight into who has completed what courses. They also track how content consumption has impacted a seller’s ability to close deals and meet quotas.

Sales training received during onboarding or on a quarterly basis often fails because the timing doesn’t align with sales reps’ challenges. But distributing on-demand training materials in a variety of formats opens the door to always-on learning, where sales reps can take control of their own education and performance.

This kind of ongoing, personalized training helps sellers develop the skills needed to succeed in a virtual environment, including active listening, building rapport, and developing a strong online presence.

With the right training, your remote sales team will be confident, motivated, and on the road to success.

Are your sellers ready for 2021? Learn how to help them HERE.

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Tony Kavadas

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