SalesTech Star

New Research Highlights Pivot to Virtual Software Sales & Training Experiences

A study from CloudShare found that B2B software companies increased the amount of virtual POCs and self-paced virtual learning experiences by nearly 400% in 2021, clearly demonstrating the customer engagement and retention benefits of this approach

CloudShare, the software experience company, has completed research on the state of B2B software sales and product training. The research points to a seismic shift in the way B2B software companies connect with customers and the potential for increased revenue that comes from a shift to virtual software experiences.

The demand for virtual software experiences is growing dramatically, both for sales organizations and customer training teams. Anecdotally, this has been true for nearly two years—the new remote reality from 2020 onward accelerated the need for virtual platforms. But CloudShare’s study, which includes data from more than 500,000 unique CloudShare users, is the first to back up the stories with raw data.

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Among other things, the report highlights a rapid increase in the adoption of technologies that will become the new norm: virtual POCs, self-paced learning, video-enabled training, tighter integrations, etc. Following are the biggest trends:

There’s strong evidence of increased demand for virtual sales experiences

  • As forward-thinking organizations start to look for ways to engage buyers digitally, it’s no surprise that CloudShare’s research identified a sharp increase in demand for virtual sales experiences. There was a 368% increase in virtual POC experiences delivered on the CloudShare platform from 2020 to 2021, along with a 311% increase in activity on the same POC environments.

Similarly, there has been a significant increase in self-paced virtual learning

  • In a recent survey, 42% of SaaS leaders said scheduling across the globe is their number one barrier to effective training. That’s one underlying factor behind the shift to self-paced learning in virtual environments. While virtual instructor-led training (VILT) still has a major place in onboarding and complex product training, CloudShare’s study found a major shift in 2021: VILT courses decreased by 16%, while self-paced experiences increased by 365%.

The use of multiple instructors in the same class has a positive impact on sales/training engagement

  • While self-paced learning is growing, live engagement still has an important place in prospect and customer interactions. One way to boost engagement is bringing multiple instructors into a VILT environment. CloudShare’s research found that companies using multiple instructors in a single class saw an average of 53% higher attendance and nearly 20% higher class completion rates.

In-app video conferencing has the biggest effect on participation and completion

  • Video conferencing affects participation like no other training tool. According to CloudShare’s study, in-app video conferencing brings class completion rates up to 67%, compared to just 46% when trainers and learners have to switch back and forth between materials and video conferencing.

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“Simply put, B2B buyers expect more from sellers in 2022 than they did even just a few short years ago, and customers expect better training experiences, too,” said Dr. Zvi Guterman, CloudShare CEO. “Gone are the days when software companies could interact with users from afar, through walk-through videos, passive Zoom webinars and how-to guides, none of which offered insights into product engagement levels. The modern software user expects a collaborative virtual experience that allows them to ‘play and break’ products in their own replicated environments while providing the software company with real-time visibility into the way customers are actually using their products. This is the present and future of B2B software experiences.”

CloudShare’s report was produced solely from data based on the use and operation of the CloudShare platform. All data refers to these users, from any company (excluding CloudShare’s use) that accessed and leveraged the platform between 2019-2021.

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