Why Organizations Should Adopt Microlearning to Improve Sales Enablement Programs
By Bret Kramer, VP of Sales and Customer Success, Qstream
The pandemic disrupted people’s personal and professional lives in unprecedented ways. Even as things gradually return to some semblance of normal, organizations are dealing with ever-changing safety protocols that impact when and how people return to their offices, as well as a newly hybrid workforce. Meanwhile, “The Great Reshuffle” has brought widespread personnel changes to many companies.
This has all significantly affected sales functions, especially as sales teams were often closing deals in person, making sales enablement programs more critical than ever. As research firm McKinsey puts it, “now is the time for companies to double down on their learning budgets and commit to reskilling. Developing this muscle will also strengthen companies for future disruptions.”
When organizations look at ways to increase the effectiveness of their sales force, they can uncover trends using trackable data points at scale. But as they’re evaluating where to resolve friction points or increase productivity, it’s important to remember that sales enablement, for all its focus on numbers, is about people more than processes.
The ROI from enabling your sales staff to become more proficient at their work is incredible. When it comes to people, typically those friction points and productivity barriers represent skills and knowledge gaps that can be filled with the right training and education. Organizations need to adopt sales enablement programs that actually reinforce and increase the knowledge their people possess. The best way to do that is through microlearning.
The benefits of microlearning
Microlearning is unique from other learning modalities and when applied correctly using the neuroscience principles of spaced repetition and scenario-based testing, the results can be transformational.
Microlearning is typically delivered in personalized, bite-sized sessions, and any session may be repeated. Both the short duration and repetition ensure that a person can learn necessary information quickly as well as consistently retain it. Then, scenario-based testing, which closely resembles actual situations individuals encounter in real life sales and customer situations, reinforces the information in a way that’s immediately applicable.
Microlearning is designed to be highly personalized and customizable. By starting out with a comprehensive evaluation of what a given sales rep needs to learn, they can dial into the specific skills or information that will benefit them the most. This is a far more efficient method than forcing a sales rep to wade through a long course–whether asynchronous or in a traditional classroom-type setting–just to get to the bit that applies to them.
The snackable size extends to the device format; modern microlearning platforms are designed to allow sales reps to use computers, tablets or their mobile phones, which fits each person’s available time and allows them to participate when and how they want within their normal routines. Microlearning challenges can also be integrated and delivered to sales reps via the systems they use daily — Salesforce.com, Microsoft Teams, Slack, etc.
How sales teams benefit from microlearning
Both managers and their direct reports can use microlearning effectively within sales teams. First and foremost, microlearning is used to rapidly train entire sales teams on new products or services they need to sell. Additionally, microlearning can help sales teams learn new messaging, objection handling, discovery skills, etc. in order to win more business. Further, the evaluation process that precedes a microlearning program is ideal for onboarding new salespeople, significantly reducing the time-to-productivity of new hires.
Smart sales managers will rely on analytics to gauge team and individual performance and will use that data to create tailored coaching opportunities for their sales personnel. Analytics from microlearning may reveal that one person could use additional help with negotiating more effectively. Another may need assistance in closing larger, more complicated deals.
Team members may be intimidated by being presented with a list of skills or information they’re supposed to acquire. But it’s important they understand that the evaluations and microlearning opportunities aren’t punitive; they’re about empowerment. When organizations equip their people for success, everybody benefits, and it helps prevent issues like burnout and turnover.
Too many organizations try to keep their staff happy and productive in a hybrid work era by offering Zoom happy hours, flexible working hours and trivia nights. Those are all nice to have, but if you truly want to see your sales team flourish, you need to find the areas where each of them could use help, and then provide effective ways for them to learn whatever skills or knowledge they need to succeed.
Microlearning is the preferred method for upskilling and reskilling sales teams because it’s quick, effective and fits neatly into everyone’s existing schedules and workflows, thereby minimizing disruptions and distractions.