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The 4 Benefits of Engaging in Virtual Instructor-led Training

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richardsonsalestrainingMarch 24, 2020Blog

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Today's savvy sales leaders are realizing new sales training delivery technology can bridge old geographic divides that once separated sales professionals from high-quality instructor-led training. The solution they are using to bridge this gap are virtual sales training solutions.

This transition to virtual, instructor-led training is becoming easier in an environment in which remote work and online meetings are commonplace.

Despite this trend, effective virtual sales training has been conspicuously absent as many solution providers have been unable to coalesce technology with a meaningful and engaging learning experience.

Until now. Here, we explain the four ways Virtual Workshops engage sales professionals and sales managers to drive business results.

1. Spaced Learning Format Enhances Recall and On-the-job Application

VILT is typically delivered in shorter more frequent increments across multiple sessions. This cadence is often in contrast to in-person training where participants engage in one or two long-form sessions. This drives skill improvement in two key ways:

  1. Spreading the training experience across a greater number of sessions consisting of shorter periods engages a mode of learning called “distributed practice.” According to research in the Association for Psychological Science, this style is characterized by spacing out the instruction. These spaces between instruction are critical for driving retention.
  2. Spaced learning allows for more immediate practical application. That is, learners have an opportunity to apply what they have learned earlier in the training experience.
Spaced learning is in critical contrast to traditional classroom learning in which concepts are not applied until after the sessions are complete. On-the-job application means sales professionals can return to the next session with an understanding of how the concepts work in real selling scenarios.

This speed to market matters in a competitive environment in which top-performing sales professionals spend “four more hours per week than other reps communicating with customers,” according to a study from Bain. Finding these extra four hours is easier when learners can immediately transition from the classroom to the field without delay.

2. Interactive Features Built into the Program Boost Engagement

VILT solutions mimic live workshop interactivity using tools like polling, chats, and breakout groups. These elements not only expose learners to input from other participants, but they also create a cooperative learning environment. Learners interact over video rather than exclusively through chat, which, if overused, can in fact dissuade interaction.

Cooperative learning seeks to develop the individual’s skills through group engagement. The effectiveness of cooperative learning is that participants share knowledge and work together to make each other’s understanding of the material complete. Students become active participants in the learning process rather than relying entirely on the instructor.

3. Video Connectivity Replicates the Spontaneity of a Classroom

VILT uses video to make the participants visible to each other rather than simply acting as a two-way mirror in which learners only view the instructor.

This approach helps replicate the classroom experience. Facilitators can also periodically stop using the “Screen Share” function so that participants have a view of their colleagues. This approach reminds the group that they are in a cooperative environment and that participation is part of the learning routine.

Virtual Instructor-led training sessions also typically feature smaller class sizes to keep learners alert because they know there is a greater probability that they will be called upon.

4. The Immediacy of a Remote Solution Leads to Faster Results

Though mounting travel restrictions have impeded certain aspects of business, they represent an uncommon opportunity for leaders to reaffirm their case for virtual training.

Leaders are discovering that ROI justification is easier when the substantial cost of travel and related non-selling activities can be removed from the equation. A training program yields financial benefits earlier when the required financial outlay drops.

This case for virtual training becomes even stronger when put in the context of competitive advantage. By making the move to virtual training now, a business will outpace competitors who choose to wait for conditions to change. Those who take proactive steps will already be yielding results that remain out of reach for those opting to “wait and see.”

Achieving end-of-year goals means starting sales training efforts now. The reason: learning, adopting, maintaining, and measuring new selling skills require a considerable timeline. Moreover, the sales cycle of today is increasing. As more sales professionals position digitally transformative solutions, the time needed to position these dynamic, intangible products and services increases. The sphere of stakeholders is growing. This fact, coupled with the growing influence of procurement professionals, means that the sales professional has a longer and more circuitous route to the sale.

Reaching the end of this path before year-end means developing the right selling skills now.

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Moving Forward

The unique circumstances of today present an opportunity for proactive sales organizations to make the overdue leap to virtual instructor-led training.

Our new VILT programs allow sales professionals to enjoy the benefit of our renowned facilitators while embarking on a learning journey that is properly paced, cooperative, interleaved with real selling scenarios, and free from the exhaustion and inefficiencies that are common when traveling.

While others wait and watch, forward-thinking sales leaders can turn seemingly inconvenient events into an immediate competitive advantage.

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