If the ramp up to a busy sales season makes managers feel like event managers, making sure that sales reps complete their training can make them feel like they're herding cats. If you've never tried herding cats before, trust us when we say it doesn't feel very good. Sales leaders find themselves overwhelmed trying to get all of their reps to the same place on the training schedule, and it inevitably consumes the time that leadership has left to meet their own deadlines.
Ensuring training compliance creates a lot of tasks and challenges which are often tedious and not the best use of leadership's time.
Compliance reports need to be run in order to find the people who didn't complete their training. Often this needs to be done multiple times when all is said and done.
Leadership needs to divvy up those who haven't completed their training to regional managers of team leaders to track down.
Inevitably, there will be reps who wait until the last minute. This can create a host of last-minute problems that can make a rep "sound the alarm," reaching out to the entire team with questions at the last moment.
These challenges do not sound like much on their surface, but taken all together, sales leaders end up with significantly less time to dedicate to driving sales or releasing training that has the potential to move the needle for your team.
Why Our Framework?
Our company has enough experience to know that issues like the ones described above are not unique to you. These problems are human and universal, and impact all kinds of companies, even those who are considered "top" corporate trainers and management at Fortune 100 companies.
We know this because we've worked with them.
At some point or another, even the most savvy trainer has dealt with these problems from time to time. These individuals are proof that these problems, though universal, can be overcome. They can be figured out, and our framework is the result of studying the techniques trainers and organizations used to greatly boost their training completion rates.
Step One: Do A WIIFM Audit
WIIFM stands for "What's In It For Me?"
If you want to boost your training completion rate, the first thing you need to do is consider the experience from the perspective of your sales reps. With your "rep" cap on, go through your training step-by-step and ask yourself at each point "what is in this for me? Why do I need to do this training today, or even this month?"
When you run through your training with this perspective in mind, it's likely that you will find various points where there is no real "hook" for your reps to complete a step with much urgency. This creates friction between what leadership needs to be completed for compliance purposes and what the rep perceives as important to them. The further apart these two perspectives are, the more friction leadership is going to have to navigate.
To reduce this friction, you need to sell your reps on the training. They need to know what's in it for them, and why they want to do this. Think of these motivators as either "carrots" or "sticks."
"Carrots" are positive explanations and motivations that remind reps why they want to do the training. Carrot-like messaging sounds something like, "Hey! Did you know that reps who finish this training course within 10 days make an average of $10,000 more in sales in their first month?" Carrots provide a reward and incentive for a rep that makes it more important to them.
"Sticks" are ways to motivate using a story, often cautionary. Stick-like messaging would sound be along the lines of "There's always somebody who misses the beginning of quarter dinner because they're stuck finishing their training. Don't let it be you." Nobody wants to be that person, and telling a story about them is likely to resonate with reps.
These motivators are effective and easy to incorporate, but there will never be any carrots or sticks if leadership doesn't create them. If you don't talk about these motivators, you are missing these opportunities to motivate your reps in their compliance. These powerful tools only make themselves known when you put yourself in your reps' shoes and ask, "what's in it for me?"
Step Two: Make Training Feel Shorter
(It doesn't have to actually be shorter)
If you've successfully implemented Step One, then Step Two has already begun. Once reps are motivated and aligned properly with the "why" of their training, then they are going to actively want to be involved with training more. The less it feels like a task or a chore, the faster training is going to feel for them.
Beyond this, it is key to tell your reps how long their course are going to take. It's easy to want to leave this out for fear of intimidating reps with long completion times. But do you know what's more intimidating to your reps? Having absolutely no idea how long that course is going to take! This will free your reps from worry and ensure they allot the proper amount of time for each training.
Next, whenever possible, break up any big pieces of training into bite-sized chunks. By progressing between smaller milestones at a faster pace, your reps are going to feel like they're moving much faster through the same amount of content. Think about how much faster you can burn through a book with short chapters, hitting a milestone every few pages. An additional benefit of breaking up your content is that it will allow you to streamline, reuse, and mix-and-match individual pieces as needed.
Step Three: Create a Nudging System
Inevitably, things get forgotten. At times we all have both the best of intentions and the memory of a fruit fly. Sometimes things can slip through the cracks, and that's okay, especially when there is a system to get things back onto your radar when they fall off.
Now, the concept of a nudging system is far from new and is obvious to many, but implementation can be daunting. Fortunately, there are more software services than ever that help you to fully automate these processes and fine-tune them to specific contexts. It's certainly something that we offer here at ConveYour.
However, if you don't have the resources for a fully automated system, don't wait until you do before you start doing some nudging! It's easy and cost-effective even to send out reminders to the entire sales rep team along the lines of a simple, "hey, if you haven't done this training yet, make sure you do." It isn't full automation but it still serves as a simple reminder to your reps that they will be sure to appreciate.
Once you have this reminder system in place, the next step is to go about making a list of everybody that has received a required training, and slowly pull them off the list as they complete it. This can be done manually or programmatically, but will help to keep a running tally for compliance and allow you to send more frequent reminders to those who may need them.
Finally, if you want to become Nudging Master, you can create fully contextual, automated nudges that take into account a variety of factors. These can be based on lesson release time, open time, or lesson progress, among others. This is typically accomplished with the help of a software such as ConveYour.
In today's installment of The Rep's Journey, we looked at the three steps that you can take to get your sales reps to complete their training faster:
Do A WIIFM Audit - Put yourself in your reps' shoes and ask yourself, "what's in this for me? Why do I need to do this by the due date?"
Make Your Training Feel Shorter (While increasing its effectiveness) - Take measures to reduce the amount of perceived time in training.
Create a Nudging System - Everybody needs reminders. It's way better to get something in place that you can refine than to not nudge at all.
Struggling to get your team to finish their training on time? Click HERE to book a demonstration with one of ConveYour's Executive Team Members today!