Developing a Sales Training Program

Training is a fundamental element at the center of any successful enterprise. Organizations and individuals alike invest a substantial amount of their resources into training for it allows them to acquire new skills and adopt nascent sales incentives geared towards the attainment of specific objectives. In recent years, it has included the incorporation of new complex technologies focused on enabling the organization to attain a set of specific goals. Traditional sales programs were designed by professionals with cohesion in mind. Training routines became an important component of since it was always important to have teams that worked as units. Improved efficacy and cooperation between team members meant that there was a boost in productivity, which also increased the revenue (Ingram, LaForge, Avila, Jr., & Williams, 2015, p. 34).

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The quality of the training adopted would always reflect on the work which was typically characterized by harmony. Sales training programs are also critical in enabling enterprises to consolidate their knowledge of key services and products offered. Representatives were accorded with a unique opportunity to become specialists in their field and boost sales for specific products. Sales talents are also easily retained since this specific action communicates interest in employees and advancing their professional capabilities. In addition to this, new innovations and ideas are usually disseminated and spread to an eager workforce ready to replace obsolete approaches with novel ones aimed at improving productivity. Modern day sales training now integrates the use of training programs that use contemporary technology owing to a wide range of benefits. New technological infrastructures are now capable of providing training through a new dimension. A discussion of the benefits of integrating new technology into training programs is, therefore, important when assessing the traditional vs. modern divide.

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New technologies are cheaper than their traditional counterparts which promotes cost reduction. Traditional sales training programs were rigorous processes involving numerous training materials and materials. Experts would be outsourced and booked organizations and slotted it at the right moment to make sure that their arrival coincided with training regimen. Normally, these services were expensive but necessary since most organizations were dedicated in their attempt to make headway in the market. New technologies, such as eLearning, soon proved to be game changers. Training activities were moved online allowing many of the traditional training activities to become scalable and available even in busy working environments (Siegfried, 2010, p. 23). Moreover, employees would also be exposed to relevant material from a live facilitator taking them through the entire process. As a result, crucial information would be imparted on employees within the shortest time possible and at a cheaper cost.  On the other hand, traditional training techniques present ongoing expenses that often accumulate and present future financial problems. Traditional sales training usually requires both trainers and to travel to a specific location where the session is conducted (Jones, 2018, p. 12). Travel and accommodation are incurred by staff which is a part of the larger budget. With innovative technologies like eLearning, costs are reduced since trainees can access sessions remotely from work or home. Meal costs are also common in traditional sales training programs. Trainees and facilitators require meals during their breaks which are paid for by the organization. Moving training workshops online eliminates this expense since the organization is not directly involved during each session. In-person training sessions also require physical spaces before commencing with the said activities. Venue rooms are rented as part of the training facilities and utilized by the trainers as part of the training process. New innovations such as eLearning present new possibilities in the business world where no venue fees are incurred and the money saved redirected towards pressing needs.

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Integrating new technologies into training programs allows an organization to leverage its resources. A majority of the businesses that make major losses do so because they fail to participate fully in their enterprise’s activities. The active engagement of employees is fundamental in allowing them to understand how the system functions and bets practices to leverage resources for the business. For the most part, traditional sales training programs spent a lot of time and money sourcing experts in particular subjects. They do this, while ignoring the fact that new free technologies also do exist. Furthermore, new technologies (such as virtual instructor-led training) allow firms to recognize that their employees are their best asset that can be harnessed for the enterprise’s ultimate good. Employees are identified as resourceful individuals with a specific set of skills which, when put to good use, become a resource for the organization. New technologies create a new scenario where firms and organizations can develop internal trainers to avoid using scarce resources to outsource individuals with a specific set of skills (Lilien & Grewal, 2012). It is first important to identify employees with a wealth of knowledge and ready to train others. They would then be informed of their important role in the organization and how their participation would benefit other employees. The next step entails collecting relevant content and materials from online repositories linked to a specific training program. Expert trainers from the organization will then be expected to tailor this information to suit the employee’s needs. This will save the time that would have been spent creating new content.  Any feedback received by other employees can be recorded and monitored before finally deciding on the next course of action. Traditional sales training programs were mainly instructional and failed to provide trainees with an opportunity to provide feedback regarding the overall experience. For instance, the use of webinars as a tool for training sales representatives allows trainees to provide continuous feedback that would promote its relevance. An improved training experience would ultimately ensure that future learners also benefit from the program through the new technology acquired. 

Innovative technologies heighten the level of employee engagement during training sessions. The level of engagement during training sessions has often been a major determining for the success of any training program. For the most part, traditional sales training programs succeeded in bringing employees together but failed to ensure that employees were always actively engaged in the training sessions. Innovative technologies endeavor to change this state of affairs by focusing on material and interaction that allows learning to occur unabated. Traditional sales training programs have been known to focus primarily on a lecture-style training program to educate employees, although times are now changing warranting the application of innovative styles. Technologies such as Immediate Response Systems (IRS) are designed in a manner that allows instructors to remain aware of the progress being made at any particular time (Touhill, Touhill, & O’Riordan, 2011). Pertinent questions are posed to participants whose responses are immediately captured by their trainers in real-time. Any opinion held regarding a topical issue can be assessed thoroughly and the results evaluated for application during future training sessions. By so doing, modern sales training programs create an interactive learning environment where anonymous questions can be posed and responses received immediately. Additionally, video conferencing has emerged as one of the most important modern innovations for it allows engagements between instructors and their students. Traditional sales training programs usually involved face-to-face meetings which were difficult to plan and execute. Modern alternatives such as Skype allow instructors to interact with their trainees at any given moments regardless of their distance from each other. Employee engagement is also promoted through the introduction of games during intense training sessions. Gamification allows trainees to enjoy the games while also improving their knowledge of key ideas presented during their sessions. Instructors may include augmented reality and advanced simulators to give trainee employees a realistic experience.

Integrating new technologies in training is also beneficial to an organization since it only requires an existing corporate infrastructure to function. Unlike traditional training techniques that required new structures to be set up to conduct the sessions, modern technologies may only require existing training modules and platforms. It is also vital to acknowledge that innovative technologies are cross-platform which ensures that other trainees can retrieve the information in future. The information is usually in cloud storage and can be accessed by any corporate intranet. The material can also be converted, upon request, to a version compatible with user devices at any given time. New technologies also come in handy in a modern setting since the internet is now widely available to all. Most organizations invest heavily in internet connectivity owing to numerous benefits that it presents (Zoltners, Sinha, & Lorimer, 2004, p. 78). Program sessions can be installed in a corporate server which will also be accessed by other members within the same institution. The presence of a standard interface also promotes the easy access to training material regardless of the software used. Trainees have an easier time adapting to material they are already familiar with in comparison with new content. Reduced anxiety often leads to increased participation with the ultimate goal being to learn how make good use of specific applications. Mobile adoption of these training sessions also allow companies to manage their content and allows users to access valuable data any time (“6 Training Trends for 2018 (and 3 you’re still not doing right),” 2019). Synchronous communication was non-existent in traditional methods by available in modern ones where experiences are greatly enhanced. Multiple instructional styles are used by make certain that chances of success are increased while ensuring that communication is convenient for all. The primary aim is to promote continuous learning where trainees have access to modules on a day to day basis and use the knowledge acquired to improve the organization’s future standing.

Although there are a myriad of benefits that result from integrating technological innovations, detractors also present disadvantages as issues of grave concern that need to be addressed.  The so-called “cooperate culture” has emerged as a barrier since it may intentionally limit access to information to its trainees. There are many recorded instances where organizations lack accessibility and openness which acts as a barrier to the spread of transformative material. Trainees may, therefore, be disempowered with little or no control over the material they are exposed to and little or no access to corporate intranet.  Corporate infrastructure may also act as a barrier to adopting training material that would benefit trainees in future. There are occasions when officials deliberately fail to invest time, money and other critical resources in the workstations which ultimately affect its efficacy. Traditional systems would, often, allow trainees to access mainframe data that would have aided them in maneuvering through the corporate landscape. A general lack of online skills is also a reality that trainers and trainees have to contend with. Trainers must anticipate future needs for their trainees and work steadily towards ensuring that they have correct content material at all times. In addition to this, innovative technology may also be faced with bandwidth limitation.  The speed exemplified by a device during simultaneous transmissions may sometimes be slower affecting the material being transmitted trainees (Seley & Holloway, 2018). Unlike traditional training programs which were more personal, innovative ones lack human contact. Trainees fail to gain the support of fellow learners which is a common feature in traditional methods. Resistance by trainees who lack motivation and self-direction is also a major disadvantage of using an innovative integrated approach in sales training.             In conclusion sales training has transformed over the years and morphed into a new a system. Modern day sales training now differs greatly from the traditional one through the integration of technology during the instruction phase. Thus, modern day sale training that use technology are cost effective, increase employee engagement and only requires a cooperate structure to function. Nevertheless, an organization’s philosophy; infrastructure, slow bandwidth and trainee resistance are disadvantages that still need to be considered. Both traditional and modern sales programs have their strengths and need to be considered fairly by organizations seeking to integrate technology into their training regimen.

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