While you may have heard of the Learn and Earn concept before, chances are you can’t quite envision how it can help your staff succeed. The short answer is that the Learn and Earn Module is a thoroughly vetted solution for the problems of lack of sales skills, knowledge and time. The long answer is, well, a bit longer.
One of the biggest complaints from companies across the United States, and the world is not having a reliable way to train sales staff. Staff may be resistant to training, believing they have all the information they need. The company may fail them by not providing timely training materials, hampering their efforts in the short term. In the long run, they may lose faith in the ability of training materials, and so let them gather dust rather than referring to them.
Lest you think this problem exists only in isolated circumstances, know that it does not. A high probability exists that your sales department suffers from the same hang-ups. Luckily, the Learn and Earn Module presents a solution. We enable your staff to become more productive, faster, with a simple but powerful sales incentive program.
Sales Reps Do Not Train Long Enough or Effectively Enough
One of the main problems in sales departments is the lack of emphasis on training. When managers do emphasize it, it’s usually in sporadic bursts. The training may result in halfhearted efforts, and managers often don’t (or aren’t able to) follow up regularly. Your company ends up investing lots of money in a program that isn’t working.
The numbers don’t lie. Research shows that while sales training does positively correlate with sales knowledge and performance, this is only directly after training. The results don’t stick around, meaning:
● Your staff is only sometimes up to date on sales materials
● You’re wasting money training people who don’t stay trained
● Your company’s bottom line suffers
This is a completely unsustainable model. That’s especially true when you consider that, in many cases, your salespeople return to pre-training knowledge levels once the training wears off. There’s often not even a residual benefit! Ouch.
Making matters worse is the fact that a well-trained salesperson has a far better chance of connecting with clients. If your staff and channel partners aren’t knowledgeable, then they cannot effectively sell a product. Moreover, they cannot upsell a product, competently explaining to prospects why product B is better than product A. Inability to answer questions or respond in a timely fashion to client or customer questions further hampers the relationship. In many cases, the customer quickly terminates that relationship, frequently before it has a chance to begin.
The bottom-line cause of all this is pretty simple: Salespeople have little motivation to train. So they don’t. In the mistaken belief that their time is better spent with prospects, they ignore dusty training manuals and dull online interfaces. They may even believe that actively engaging in sales is a better form of “training.” In the always-be-closing mindset of many sales environments today, that’s not really surprising. It is, however, damaging to your company, because you need knowledgeable reps. Period.
Provide a Better Result to Clients and Customers with Detailed Product Knowledge
Another serious problem in sales departments is the lack of product knowledge. If your salespeople don’t know enough, they won’t have the ability to promote your products. In some cases, they may even actively work against that goal.
Take the case of contractors, a common channel partner. On the surface, contractors might seem like an ideal partner, helping you get the word out about the newest innovations and the best features of all your products. It might surprise you, then, to see relatively low sales figures from their corner. Why? Shouldn’t they be among the most motivated of all salespeople, since they get a cut of the proceeds and the customer already trusts them so much?
While many reasons may lie at the root of this, one of the biggest is an uninformed desire to do the right thing by the customer. In refusing to upsell, the contractor believes they are remaining honest. They are helping the customer save money (even when the customer might wish to have a better experience and pay more for it). They want to be worthy of the respect a client is showing them.
But as far as you’re concerned, this is a grievous waste of time and opportunity. Why should a homeowner have to ask for a better model to hear about the option? They shouldn’t, of course.
This points to a major unaddressed need: The contractor needs the motivation to sell (or upsell). Without a solid reason to promote the product, they’re not going to do it. Instead, they will fall back on the “doing what’s best for the customer” angle and move forward without making the pitch. You have to put the motivation there with solid training that addresses why this product is better for the customer. Not just spendier or newer, but actually better. That means the rep needs to understand:
● Shelf life
Those are only a few of the important facets of each product, but you get the picture. The missing link is this: If sales reps and channel partners don’t know about all these features, they’re less likely to try to promote the product. That just seems "salesy" to them. Without a solid understanding of the product beyond its price tag, it probably is just salesy. No one likes that.
Product education, therefore, is key. The reality is much harder than this conclusion, however. For one thing, salespeople forget their training – as discussed above. For another, they don’t make enough time for it in the first place – as we will now discuss.
Outmoded, Uninteresting Training Material Lends to a Perception of “No Time”
If you could only pick one problem plaguing your sales departments, chances are it would be this: Salespeople don’t have time to follow up on their training, update their skills and keep their knowledge up to date. Ask a sales rep, and they’ll tell you in no uncertain terms: they simply don’t have time for everything that needs doing.
Boring, haggard old training sessions seem like the obvious task to ditch. If you don’t see much of a sales boost from them, then neither do your sales reps. What’s their motivation to make time? If you answered “slim to none,” then we’re in agreement. That means the bottom line when it comes to sales training is not to make it more frequent or more mandatory.
The bottom line is to make it better. You have to make your reps want to engage in the training. This probably seems like a tall order, especially since the research shows that sales training is miserably off the mark most of the time. It is:
● Often so boring that sales employees and partners simply won’t look at it
● Irrelevant to the actual duties in which trainees engage
● Poorly matched to learning style
● Obsolete by the time it reaches your employees and partners
It comprises, in other words, a very poor tool in most companies. Because of its inefficiency, sales reps and channel partners tend to avoid the training materials, instead turning to them only when they need a specific answer. Assuming they can’t get that answer anywhere else, that is. If they can (say, a manager or online resource that doesn’t necessarily pertain to your sales goals), then they will.
Now, enough of the dreary stuff. What’s the answer?
Motivate Timely, Ongoing Training with Learn and Earn Module
You need a training incentives tool like the Learn and Earn Module. It provides a fast and easy platform for engagement. When using it, salespeople actually get the motivation they need to stay engaged with necessary training. Not only do they earn rewards for doing so, but the platform is also malleable enough to stay current as your sales and training goals change over time.
The Learn and Earn Module employs a variety of motivational tools, including:
● Online training quizzes to help sales reps and partners increase their product knowledge on an ongoing basis
● Rewards and incentives that make people want to jump on the platform and complete training materials
● Surveys and customer feedback options that offer them rewards and offer you the information you need to make products and sales approaches better
● Daily trivia questions that keep participants interested because, let’s be honest, trivia is just fun!
● Multimedia options including links, images and more
● Customizable rewards for any and all Learn and Earn Module activities
With such a variety of ways to approach the material, salespeople can find the content that appeals to them, learning along the way. If you haven’t yet seen the Learn and Earn module at work, then discovering just how many problems it solves might surprise you. It counteracts the tendency to forget training over time by keeping salespeople engaged over the long haul. It also increases product knowledge and provides the proper incentive to make time.
More than that, though, it increases customer satisfaction with products and reps. It helps you determine which types of training work, for whom they work and the best delivery methods. It keeps customers up to date on products and upgrades. Lastly, it creates loyalty among clients, customers and employees, all of whom stay more informed and engaged.
The Learn and Earn module ensures your products and your business stay strong – and grow stronger every day. If you’d like to know more about how our simple, customizable platform can work for you, we would love to hear from you today. Call or connect with our team at Incentive Solutions today, and a member of our team will walk you through the options and answer any questions you might have. Let’s all do our part to get your business where it needs to be!