We all know there are no silver bullets to sales training. But there is an easy fix to designing sales training and it’s one that often gets overlooked. I’ve recommended it over and over. I’ll say it again, “ESR recommends employing an instructional designer on a contract basis for the development of all sales training materials. Those with the means and need should have an instructional designer on staff.”

Why? Here are three key benefits:   

1.      Reps will take the training more seriously. 

The instructional designer understands sales reps as an audience and knows that the trainer’s credibility is critical for them.  The designer will recommend assigning the right trainer for the program – one who has both sales experience and product knowledge. For example, role-play activities work best for skill development. Yet, some reps dismiss role-play activities without giving them a fair chance. Designers know how to set up the activities properly, with clear instructions and a demonstration that will allow the trainer to show off industry knowledge and skills. This helps to gain the reps’ attention and interest.  Reps must believe the practice is worthwhile and relevant; then they will engage and learn.

2.      Reps will retain knowledge and apply skills after completing the training program.

The instructional designer knows that sales reps learn a bit differently than other adults, so he will create learning activities that are optimal for your team. He will make sure concepts are taught appropriately so reps learn and retain knowledge. For example, he will design group activities that are fast-paced and engaging. The designer will ensure that the activities produce behavioral changes. He will create an Action Plan for reps to use for planning how they will use skills on the job. When reps attend programs that are designed professionally, they are well-positioned to immediately apply their skills when they return to the field.

3.      The program will bring results.

The program will be designed to fit your specific objectives, so you’ll be more likely to get the results you want. The designer will create an easy-to-use Reinforcement Plan to ensure that learning takes place over time and is extended after the session.  These activities may be self-paced and/or coordinated with the sales manager.  Reps can do “self-checks” to test their understanding of the concepts after the session.  Managers are given an easy-to-use observation checklist to reinforce that skills are being used correctly.

 

The instructional designer provides a blueprint that serves as the foundation for a successful training program. You wouldn’t build a house without an architect, so why would you design your training program without a designer? Sure, training is difficult to measure, but when you design an instructionally sound program, you’ll get classroom engagement, behavioral changes and results on the job, and you’ll maximize your investment.

Check the ASTD and ISPI sites for resources on instructional design. These sites also have career centers where you can advertise and find talent when you decide to hire a designer. IBSTPI has a PDF summary of instructional design competencies, available for downloading.

 

 

 

This article was written for and originally posted on Dave Stein’s blog.

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What should you teach in vILT?

by Sue Schnorr on September 15, 2017

How do you determine what can be taught online in a synchronous virtual instructor-led training (vILT) program?

Consider the learners, viagra 40mg the content and your objectives. Then, discount answer the questions posed by Jennifer Hoffman in her book, approved  Live and Online! Tips, techniques, and Ready-to-Use Activities for the Virtual Classroom.

Here are some of those these questions:

Consider Your Learners:

Are the learners geographically dispersed?

  • Then, yes, online training may be appropriate. Use online learning to allow geographically dispersed learners to interact and connect with each other. Synchronous virtual programs may be used when you can set aside a specific time to learn.

Do the learners need to have real-time access to an expert or a trainer to learn the content?

  • If you need to access an expert real-time, you can use synchronous learning when live support is needed and if that person can work from a distance.

Would collaboration and discussion between participants substantially enhance the learning?

  • If collaboration and/or discussion would not enhance the experience, you may have content that could be delivered in an asynchronous environment. If there is not collaboration, discussion or engagement, your program may quickly become a lecture, and that would not be successful in a synchronous environment. Use synchronous virtual learning when there is value in learning from others and to build motivation and excitement.

Consider Your Content:

Is the content stable?

  • If the content is subject to change and iterations, synchronous programs may be an option, because you can easily change content and slides. (Developing asynchronous methods for unstable content may not be economically realistic.)

Will the program be taught repeatedly over a long period of time or delivered just a few times?

  • If you only plan to teach the program a few times, developing an asynchronous method may not make sense because of the time, cost and resources involved in design and development. The cost can be justified for synchronous virtual training programs, even if the training is only delivered a few times.

Can you test the objectives in an online environment?

  • Even if all of the answers to the above indicate the possibility of online content delivery, make sure you can test mastery of the objectives in an online environment.

 

 

Sources: Hoffman, Jennifer (2004) Live and Online Learning! Tips, Techniques and Ready-to-Use Activities for the Virtual Classroom, Pfeiffer, San Francisco, CA

Shank, Patti (2007) The Online Learning Idea Book, Volume Two: Proven Ways to Enhance Technology-Based and Blended Learning, Pfeiffer, San Francisco, CA

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We All Love Job Aids!

September 9, 2017

  I just saw Guy Wallace’s tweet.   “Inside every fat course is a thin job aid crying to get out …”   Isn’t this true?  How often do people jam pack so (too) much into a course, pharm for (let me count the) many reasons, pill (ugh) when a job aid would suffice?   […]

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The Power of Collaboration

August 31, 2016

As you know, store collaboration is key when it comes to the instructional design process. Clark Quinn posted a powerful piece on his blog, search Quinnovation, page that speaks to the power of collaboration. It is entitled, “Collaborating when it matters.” Check it out! Leave a comment. Let him know I sent you!

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Successful Design Techniques for Virtual instructor-Led Training

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Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) is an excellent option for clients who want to save money on time and travel. It is also a great way to get engagement from learners.   I recently designed a course that was taught in a synchronous virtual training environment.   How about you? Have you considered VILT as part […]

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Selling Fearlessly

February 6, 2015

I’m thrilled to be a Guest Writer on my colleague, no rx Bob Terson’s blog, Selling Fearlessly. Check it out here and thanks for stopping by!  

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Determining What Can Be Taught in VILT

December 28, 2014

How do you determine what can be taught online in a synchronous Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) program? Consider the learners, approved the content and your objectives. Then, visit this answer the questions posed by Jennifer Hoffman in her book, abortion Live and Online! Tips, techniques, and Ready-to-Use Activities for the Virtual Classroom. Here are some […]

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Top 10 Training Books for Your Christmas List

December 12, 2014

As an instructional design consultant, viagra sale these are some of my all-time favorite books. Some are the “tried and true” basics of Instructional Design, cure which I learned about in my Master’s degree program. Others are books that I still use to teach instructional designers today. Still others are books I came upon in […]

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Creating Questions to Enhance Discussions

November 29, 2014

Dr. Cheri Toledo grabbed my attention from the minute I began to read her article, mind “Does your dog bite?” Creating Good Questions for Online Discussions. She reminds us of the scene from The Pink Panther, patient when Inspector Clouseau asks, advice “Does your dog bite?” He is answered with a “No,” and immediately is […]

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What Can Be Taught in a Synchronous Virtual Instructor-Led Training Program?

January 31, 2014

How do you determine what can be taught online in a synchronous Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) program? Consider the learners, approved the content and your objectives. Then, website like this answer these questions that are posed by Hoffman (2004). Here are some of those these questions: Consider Your Learners: Are the learners geographically dispersed? Then, yes, […]

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