Connection timed out after 2001 milliseconds Using Social Media for Learning

Using Social Media for Learning

by Sue Schnorr on July 24, 2012

Social Media provides powerful ways for sales reps to collaborate, treatment share best practices and learn.

Here are some tips to help implement an informal learning approach, using Social Media for the purpose of sharing best practices amongst geographically dispersed sales reps.

Plan – Determine the objectives of your informal learning program. If you are setting up a social media tool to allow sales reps share ideas, you will probably need some help in getting them started. Most reps are busy working with their customers; additional tasks that involve learning how to use new tools, and inputting ideas aren’t always high on their “to-do” lists. Identify which tool (Chatter, Yammer, etc.) makes sense for your sales team and fits with your environment.

Communicate – Let the sales reps know the purpose and benefits of the Social Media program and deliver the message in a format that works for them. (Bullet points – who, what, where, when, why!)

Involve high level sales leaders – In your message, let it be known that this is a high-exposure initiative and that top management is not only interested but hoping for successful results.  If the communication piece was sent by a key manager, that would be even better!

Get buy-in from early adopters – Find out which reps are already using Social Media, and which are most likely to get involved. Talk to them; find out what they are looking for. Once you are up and running and reps start posting, make sure they get recognition from sales leaders.

Offer incentives – Offer gift certificates for the first 20 reps to post. Provide a higher cash reward for new ideas or for best practices in a certain category or industry. Provide the highest cash rewards for second tier quantifiable successes (“I used an idea posted here and closed a deal.”)

Build your Social Media program into coaching efforts with sales managers – Have sales managers reinforce the collaborative program by reviewing the posts and posting and encouraging their reps to post.

Results – All of these tips will help to develop habits that will make increased sharing, collaboration and informal learning a part of the culture.


Past, Present and Future

In the old days, when sales reps frequently attended classroom training, we heard that “the best part of the training” was having dinner with peers and sharing “war stories” and “success stories.”  In today’s world, training dollars are scrutinized, classroom training is limited, and face time is rare with reps and colleagues. However, we can get similarly successful outcomes by using social media tools like Chatter and Yammer. They provide opportunities for reps to share success stories, yet with less time and expense involved.  Social Media can drive learning. And if you implement the tips suggested with your informal learning program, you’ll be much more likely to get results!


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