Remote sales training definitely has its challenges. But there are also some specific benefits that, when presented effectively, outweigh the challenges.
The biggest challenge of remote sales training is based on the different ways people communicate. If the remote training is phone-based – using WebEx, for example, to deliver Powerpoint slides with limited interaction – you’re most likely going to lose people because they will consider it a passive exercise.
However, an increasing number of people who have grown up in a digital age are starting to enter the workforce, making remote sales training that is based on engagement (video, audio, social channels) more palatable to both business owners and sales managers.
The overriding goal with any sales training should be to change certain bad habits and provide some new tools that can easily be applied to building sales leads and your customer base. Remote training also needs to be delivered in a way that fits into a sales rep’s busy life and has an immediate impact on his results (rather than something that’s forgotten after several months, if not weeks).
There are several ways to ensure that remote sales training is cost-effective and provides benefits over the long term: First, similar to on-site training, make sure the trainer is, or at least recently was, a sales rep with real-world experience. Second, make sure the program has multiple short sessions (ideally, 90 minutes each) instead of a one-time sessions. Third, remote training should have a video component so the reps can see the instructor (addressing ways in which people communicate non-verbally, e.g. body language). However, make sure the video doesn’t stay on-screen the entire time; use it to highlight a point or show something a Powerpoint can’t demonstrate.
Another component to successful remote sales training: management involvement. Such training goes a lot further if the sales team can all be in one room along with the manager, who can encourage participation and demand attention. If not, then management has to let the team know they will be held responsible for the assignments and whatever else is involved in the training.
Perhaps most important, there should be follow-up sessions scheduled after the initial training session to determine what challenges or success stories can be related back to the training and what areas of training need to be fine-tuned.