Increase Sales With Proven eLearning Elements
There is no doubt that technology has changed corporate training for the better, by all indications, and that there will be no return to older models and methods that required a traditional classroom setting. Technology has provided a paradigm shift and has also opened up new approaches and processes that are infinitely more adaptable and scalable for modern business. There are few limitations to the reach of eLearning training modules in terms of numbers of people served, benefits to be gained, information that can be shared, and the type of training offered. Similar concepts apply no matter what the specific goals of an eLearning format. However, to employ eLearning methods to sales incentives, there are some proven ideas that can lead to greater gain.
Let’s look at 7 considerations that are especially important when crafting an eLearning experience specifically designed to boost sales.
1. Focus On Top Selling Seasons
No matter what the product, seasonality is generally a factor. You’ll want to plan your eLearning well in advance of the peak season, ensuring that participants are ready to leave the gate fully prepared and trained to run the distance. No matter what your seasons or your products may be, timing is vital to success.
You and your sales teams need to be prepared well in advance of your primary selling seasons, whether they are Back-To-School, Holidays, Spring, or other time frames pertinent to your product line.
Key messages will not be as effective if they are delivered too far in advance, and they won’t do much good, in terms of sales volume, if they’re given too late. Also, any training that takes place during a peak selling period is likely to be a distraction for your top performers, competing for their time and energy with their primary task of selling.
During the prime sales periods, keep participants engaged in your training program with periodic sales tips and ongoing assistance to reinforce the learning they have already received.
2. Define Goals
eLearning trainings should have specific goals. Trainings may be structured to introduce a new product, strengthen the team’s knowledge of the entire brand, or to offer sales goals and provide incentives for the selling season. Ensure each module is structured to reach your end goal. Succinct training should focus on empowering participants and motivating them to perform at a higher, more productive level.
What may not be so clear is that your participants have needs and goals of their own. Everyone who participates in any eLearning training program has a personal goal. If you can target those individual expectations and needs, you will be better equipped to obtain the necessary buy-in for the training, leading to engagement and success.
Once you have established your overall goal, it’s imperative to develop benchmarks that allow you to evaluate the training’s effectiveness. Routinely solicit participant feedback. If you see that something isn’t working, change it. Never make the mistake of continuing an aspect of any training cycle that does not generate the desired result.
3. Tailor eLearning To Specific Needs
Whatever the purpose of your eLearning effort, design specific training modules to address previously defined goals. Ideally, you can group goal-specific modules to create a multi-purpose message. One suggestion is to continually offer content that will generate both short-term and long-term excitement. In that way, you can revise and revamp the training modules to meet different future needs.
When tailoring your program, always include the element of fun. Banish the boring and leave the drudgery behind.
4. Boost Participation Through Competition
Many strategies will work in an eLearning environment, including allowing participants to share their personal experiences. That kind of sharing fosters a sense of community and builds the camaraderie that pays dividends in unexpected ways.
Participants tend to appreciate content more and be more serious about learning if they are part of a committed group effort. Team cohesiveness and friendly competition boost that kind of spirit and engagement because enthusiasm is contagious.
Think about setting up teams to collaborate on the designs of varied sales approaches; then watch what happens when teams demonstrate the effectiveness of their unique strategies. This interactive learning offers fertile ground for inspiration and galvanizes sales teams to reach a common goal.
The result will be obvious: Team success leads to individual success. Everyone wants to emulate a winning team, so celebrate the winners and capitalize on their success to point everyone in the same direction. It will inspire, generate enthusiasm, and pave the way to a record-breaking sales season.
5. Hone Your Engagement Strategies
Team learning is an excellent way to make eLearning fun. But other strategies make use of some old-fashioned methods in new ways. A multimedia approach is often more effective than a single approach. Employ traditional flashcards or experiment with scratch cards and trading cards to generate team interaction and friendly competition. These strategies are especially effective when combining eLearning with small-group meetings that encourage personal interaction among team members.
Memory is enhanced when learning takes place in a sensory-rich environment. When possible, develop methods and utilize training tools that involve multiple senses. Also, remember that individuals learn in different ways. Design your training modules to address the needs of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners.
6. Employ Co-Marketing Techniques And Training
Co-marketing and co-training opportunities with industry partners are effective ways to build excitement on several different levels. By not limiting training to a single strategy and enlarging the scope of such training, it is possible to add credibility to a new product or brand and extend the reach of information.
In retail, one example uses multiple platforms and communication vehicles to relay similar messages: Employer, product manufacturer, or sponsorship of ingredient brands. Understanding the audience sentiment toward the product brand is vital, and that can occur naturally when the training is not limited to a single strategy. Experiment and improvise, and be continually aware of what works and what needs additional honing or development.
Another example: If you are rolling out a new computer game, train participants on the computer components needed to optimize the game and offer training about the game itself. This cross-training opens new opportunities to regularly co-train with your industry partners and leads to a win-win situation for everyone involved.
7. Encourage Product Tryouts
Salespeople are far more likely to sell products they own or have personal experience with. Encourage this kind of beneficial familiarity through product seeding or introducing a purchase program for new products. Either can be a great incentive, not only to boost engagement but also to generate enthusiasm and motivation.
It matters less whether you offer products as part of a sample program for hands-on experience, as prizes earned for successful completion of specified training sessions, or through an employee discount program. The bottom line is that placing new product lines in the hands of your sales teams is an effective way to boost your bottom line. It is also a potent engagement strategy to create awareness and encourage participation in optional training for the future.
One Final Note
We have so far addressed how to structure an eLearning environment that is beneficial for the organization. Another critical aspect is the “What’s in it for me?” question that participants will invariably ask.
Training participants, and their managers, want some assurance that the takeaway from eLearning will also be valuable to them. If you can answer that question at the outset and communicate it effectively, you will obtain the kind of participant buy-in that assures success. Spend the time and effort to deliver on your promise of benefit for each participant, and you will easily accomplish your goals.
Have you included other elements which have resulted in an increase in sales for your business? I’d welcome the opportunity to learn more about them.