Remote Life Is Here to Stay – Here’s How to Ensure Your Training Sticks, Even From a Distance
We all remember packing up our desks and pivoting to remote in 2020. It was a frightening time for many reasons, but for me, one of the best things to come out of the pandemic was a pivot to hybrid working. It’s a modern approach to the working world, and at Flume, we’ve found it to be hugely productive.
Of course, that meant we had to pivot our business model too. In-person sales training was our bread and butter, but suddenly sales teams were selling – in a crisis – from their spare rooms.
In the pandemic, everything was changing – including the ways people learn and the ways people expect to learn. It was impossible to offer support in the way we always had. Like everyone else, we became pros at Zoom and Teams, and we changed our training techniques. These new techniques, habits and communication preferences are here to stay, so we’re going share the lessons we learned. We want you to get the most out of the learning and development you teach, train and coach your teams, whether in-house or via a third party like Flume.
BITE-SIZED, NOT BASIC
Instead of big in-person training sessions, break your training into smaller, more manageable segments. The beloved big days out of the office are still important (we are neck-deep in SKO season after all), but these have a different value and purpose.
SKOs are ideal to get the team together, boosting motivation, and setting up for the year ahead. But we know that delivering training in this way isn’t helpful for getting it to stick. So, what does work?
- Breaking training into bite-sized approaches is key for retention. Research shows it yields better long-term memory retention.
- Make training quickly consumable, meaning your team can fit training into every week. This also means engaging, as it’s readily available and fits into their schedule.
- Ensure it’s accessible from the office, or remotely. I’ve even taking my training on the train to make the most of my commute.
- Ask yourself if the training is relevant and actionable. Your teams should be able to take on new information, and immediately implement it in their day-to-day practices. This instant usage reinforces the behaviour, and aids retention – after all, 87% of training is forgotten in a month without coaching or reinforcement.
FOCUS ON ENGAGEMENT
If you are running training and coaching over Zoom or Teams, it can be hard to engage. Cameras-on is non-negotiable. It’s hard to engage with a black square! When we pivoted to virtual, our Sales Performance Coaches doubled down on making content easy-to-consume, hyper engaging, and super relevant to our audiences. But we also ensure content is fun, easy to implement, and quick to show results. If teams can see the quantifiable difference we can make, they come back for more.
- Engagement is not one-size-fits all. Offer a mix of video, demo and hands-on activities to keep participants interested no matter what their learning style.
- Use tech such as screen-sharing, virtual whiteboards, and breakout rooms to create a dynamic and engaging virtual training environment.
- Offer personalised feedback to each participant.
- Encourage competition and celebrate successes to create a learning and improvement culture. We use gamification to make training fun, light-hearted and enjoyable – but it’s also invaluable to show how changing sales behaviour changes performance.
- We host projects which encourage teams to share their best work, creating a learning-and-improvement culture. It adds a layer of accountability which ensures the team are fully invested in the process.
BUYER CENTRIC SELLING – AND BUYER CENTRIC TRAINING
Who is the most important person to the salesperson? It’s the buyer. At Flume, we put the buyer (aka the customer or the client) at the heart of everything your sales team does – including coaching and training. This means that the buyer’s needs, challenges, and priorities come first – not the sales quota. The long-term success of the customer, and therefore of your relationship, comes above a short-term win. Empathy for their situation, deeply listening and understanding their requirements, and exhibiting curiosity shows that you aren’t just trying to shoehorn your solution into their business model.
Salespeople find it tough to change habits – positioning them as the buyer is a great way to show why they should drive change and improve behaviours. Show them ‘why’ and they’ll identify changes to their sales behaviours that will supercharge performance.
MEASURE, MEASURE AND MEASURE AGAIN
How do you know your training and coaching is working? Do you know what good looks like? What key KPIs, apart from revenue, do you want to hit? For new starters, perhaps that’s time to first deal. For more experienced team members, maybe that’s meetings per week or percentage of net new clients. Start with what you want your coaching to achieve, and work backwards from there. You can incorporate this into 1 to 1s and annual reviews, giving your team a clear path to success.
And be sure you celebrate these successes – be it via team Slack message, team meeting shout-out or a round of virtual drinks (I love Huggg for an easy way to send treats and incentives to clients and staff alike). When we train teams like yours, we celebrate the wins and improvements – it’s the part we love the most!
Want some help identifying metrics to measure in 2023? Check out our whitepaper on sales velocity here.
In short, when you are training or coaching, make sessions bite-sized and engaging, even over Zoom. It’s not easy, but you need to get the team on board and set up for success for what’s set to be a challenging year. Put your customer first – always. And measure all the metrics available to you.
Want to talk more about working in a virtual world? Find me on LinkedIn – I’d love to connect.
Anna Sudbury, Head of Sales at Flume Sales Training