Communication essentials: virtual sales training

Historically, how much time has your company invested in sales training?

Did that number go up or down starting around, oh, let’s say March 2020? If it went up – or even stayed the same – congratulations. You realized that you needed to act fast to help your sales team adapt to what has now become ‘the normal.’

If that number went down – you’re not alone. A lot has been written about this, now two years in. LinkedIn to Forbes to independent researchers, all  have shown that when organizations utilize sales training, specifically virtual sales training, it is tied to higher performers, higher sales and even employee retention.

Now, two years in it’s easy to say that “yes, of course that’s the way to go.” But, take an unpleasant trip down memory lane with me – it wasn’t really easy to invest in training, hit pause or reboot as so many companies were dealing with the impact of a pandemic, personally and professionally.

But now we’re into 2022. And if you haven’t had a chance to consider a virtual sales training program … this may be the time.

Let’s start with that employee retention point I made earlier. Labor shortages are impacting companies across the board. This isn’t the time for your sales teams to be questioning their role, their purpose or career path. Sales training makes them part of the solution and empowers them to reach their own goals, as well as the ones the company has established. We can’t underestimate the impact of this.

Just like we can’t underestimate the impact of dopamine on the brain … and how our brain releases this powerful chemical when we have human interaction. Remember, we’re talking about sales teams – they are hard-wired to seek these interactions and connections. Providing them with the training to do this in any type of environment will be rewarding at a very basic level. It’s science.*

*Yes, I’m reading Atomic Habits.

Speaking of those human interactions, how do you reach out and touch someone through a screen? Well, you can’t. But you can create a similar environment. Putting your team through a virtual sales training session will uncover those nuances and experiences that your team uses to make these connections. And the sooner you do that, the sooner you can reverse-engineer it and create the same effect virtually.

Note: I spoke about this in the ‘How the future works’ webinar. It’s at the halfway mark, right around 33 minutes, and features some specific examples.

Looking at what’s worked and applying it to how we’re working today is probably the simplest path to change – despite a sentimental reliance on making some of these changes. Fact is we need to accept that communication channels have changed, the new currency is attention and people are eager to do something new, even if it’s doing what they’ve been doing, differently.

The time and energy put into sales training is one example of this. Selling isn’t going anywhere. The art and science still remain. And we all still crave those connections – maybe more than ever. So shifting the thinking and putting that effort into doing these things in a new environment are the next logical steps for developing your teams, connecting with customers and advancing your business.

Virtual reality has become reality. (I just blew my own mind!)