7 Reasons Microlearning is Essential for Your Sales Enablement Strategy
Over the last two decades, I’ve lived through the evolution of sales training from lengthy in-person events to blended learning and more recently a focus on asynchronous microlearning. And when I say “lived through” I mean that I’ve designed and delivered in-person workshops, digital learning programs, and virtual instructor-led courses. I’ve worked with salespeople and leaders in 40 countries across almost as many industries. Along the way, I’ve witnessed first-hand the things that transform sales enablement initiatives into improved business outcomes.
Here are seven reasons why microlearning belongs in your enablement strategy.
1. Learning is in the Hands of Your Sellers
Literally. People are used to having information at their fingertips. Spot someone familiar in a movie? Google their credits while you watch. Trying to do something complicated in Excel? There’s a Youtube video for that.
With microlearning, people can learn whenever they have a few minutes using the devices they already carry.
Janine may brush up on questioning skills on her iPhone as she waits for her morning train. Sajid can test his retention of negotiation strategy on his tablet while he waits for a colleague. Design your microlearning for mobile first. It’s the standard for Gen Z, and the rest of us aren’t far behind.
2. Relevance is Everything
Time is precious. Don’t ask sellers to learn things unless they can use them right away. We’re an on-demand society, where our collective attention span has been chipped away by short forms of media like Tweets and TikToks.
People and organizations no longer have the time or appetite to sit through 2 days of training in return for those 2 or 3 “aha” points that made it worthwhile. Match microlearning to specific needs, defined by role or team priorities.
If the Industrial team is behind target on landing new logos, assign microlearning on prospecting and need development. When the Services team reports longer sales cycles, assign microlearning on driving consensus and accessing decision makers.
3. Repetition Over Time Drives Recall
It’s tough for sellers to learn and synthesize everything they need on products, processes, pricing, contracts, industries, market trends, and all the rest. A one-hour eLearning course may contain hundreds of pieces of information.
When Markko takes that course, how many concepts or best practices will he recall a month later? Break that content into 3-5 minute chunks that are delivered each day and repeated in different ways to nurture his long-term memory.
It’s not about how smart someone is – our brains are wired to learn through repetition. I’ve seen that play out in the classroom where we make heavy use of recaps, quizzes, and summaries to encourage retention. Yet it can still feel like drinking from a fire hose. Build long-term recall by serving the same concepts differently over time – a powerful approach that just isn’t practical in the classroom.
Learn more about the importance of relevancy and repetition by downloading the white paper: Learn, Apply, Win, Repeat with the Accelerate Sales Performance Platform
4. Updates are Easier
The information that sellers need changes. Since microlearning content is condensed it takes less time to design and maintain than traditional eLearning courses. Each module stands alone, so it’s easy to add new modules. Your competitor just launched an aggressive wallet share campaign? Don’t kick off a long course-authoring process - assemble your defenses and push out a new 4-minute module this week!
5. Data Shows the Way
Agility is your secret weapon for great microlearning. Don’t spend ages trying to figure out what will work before getting content into your learners’ hands. Create early versions of microlessons, deploy quickly, and let your microlearning platform analytics show you what works and what doesn’t.
Pass rate on a particular quiz looking low? Fix that next cycle. Do learners report low confidence in applying a skill? Adjust the content. Monitor these insights relentlessly to drive ongoing improvement.
6. Learners Have Agency
Many sales professionals see training as a chore - another thing to accommodate in their already busy calendars. We’ve seen companies recognize the value of shorter virtual sessions or digital learning over in-person events, but a two-hour virtual workshop will still take sellers away from their customers and prospects at a time that they don’t choose. Microlearning allows them to choose when and how to learn. Alessia might start her assigned microlearning in the office on her computer and resume later on her phone as she heads out. Her learning, her way.
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7. Be Global AND Local
When delivering a workshop in person, I can add industry-specific examples to the standard content, and tell my war stories in dollars, euros, yen, or rupees to add local flavor and relevance. In the early years of eLearning we found that, just as in clothing, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work that well.
Shorter blocks of content are inherently easier to localize. Not everything needs to be switched out, but offering content in multiple languages, with relevant images, date formats or measurement units, and more, help your learners to relate to the concepts.
Learning in small pieces reinforced by repetition isn’t new. It’s how I learned most things as a child. Early in my career, I designed courses by starting with small building blocks of content. Before digital learning existed, we had to combine these small blocks into topics and aggregate the learning objectives. As we bundled those topics together to form traditional in-person sales training courses, we recognized that learners could get overwhelmed by so much information. So we added yet more content for context setting. And we made it work because that was how training was done.
Digital transformation has rewired the way people learn. We habitually find information by browsing search engines and social media. Today’s learners don’t want to drink from the fire hose. Technology offers scalable and flexible options for serving sips of learning at the point of need. One sip with a single theme and learning objective doesn’t need contextual positioning. Stripped back, it is free to make its point clearly and efficiently.
This is how we truly enable our sales organizations.
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