Tell me if you have ever experienced this situation:
All the commercial team of your company (86 people) is summoned in the same hotel during 2 days of January, and among those who work in the central offices you distribute the agenda to give them all the strategic information they need to know and master to be trained to grow sales. Negotiating with art, you get 1.5 hours to expose your topics, although you do not know how you will summarize it so much, since in reality you see very clearly that to go well, you would need the whole 2 days just for you, but the commercial director is not willing to withdraw the commercial force more days from their field work with clients.
It seems like a drama to have so little time to deploy all the “armament” that you have prepared to kill the competition, but you put your feet on the ground thinking that if you do not roll up a lot, at 1 slide / minute, you can show them up to 90 slides, so that will be the number of concepts that you put to work to present them. The other colleagues think in the same line, so the 4 hours of presentations in the morning, and 3 more in the afternoon, result in more than 400 slides / day x 2 days = 800 very interesting concepts that have to come out of this meeting dominating to raze in the market.
In the sales network there have been 5 new additions. You will take advantage to quote them a day before and review the basis of everything you are going to explain to the commercial team as a whole, to ensure the effectiveness of the event, so in your case you will receive more than 1,000 new concepts in just 3 days.
The logistics of flights and trains fits perfectly with the target agenda, and we ensure that the hotel room has the distribution of the tables we want at all times, and the Wi-Fi capacity supplement so that we can project some motivational videos of 2 minutes very good. We have also perfectly organized all the logistics, including a super-funneled team-building motivational activity for the evening of the first day, followed by a spectacular dinner, so the event should be a success, right?
Do we leave something important?
Of course! We have not taken into account how to get these 800 concepts or more, from the power point to the memory of each and every one of our commercial delegates, considering that the main objective of the meeting is to deploy them effectively in their respective areas . And we have a serious problem: from every hour of information presented, the human brain that your commercial network will bring installed as a series will only be able to be attentive less than half the time (Stuart and Ruthenford), so from slide 20 of each talk will disconnect frequently. Commercials are not used to sitting for long hours, so distractions are even more inevitable than in office groups, especially since smartphones exist.
And what do we do then? Is it worth it to make them come?
We would be naive if we think that by sending the presentations to the commercial attendees at the end of the meeting, or sharing them in the company’s digital campus (LMS), they will look at everything again, and make the effort to dedicate enough time to learn what We have transmitted them. If your LMS gives you the data of users who have accessed the shared presentations or the number of visits, I invite you to share in the comments of this post the information that contrasts the most recent similar experiences.
A sales convention is an excellent occasion to motivate commercials, and give them the opportunity to resolve their doubts. Also, they can express their opinions, objections or recommendations, as well as discuss among all the commercial strategy of the different products. But it is not the best forum to give them for training in what they need to know, so we will need to design a plan B for reinforcement.
3 ways to facilitate learning to the sales team:
1ª) Give the set of subjects gradually
To ensure that the sales network is efficiently trained so that they can incorporate the information of the presentation of the strategic arguments into their professional practice, they should be facilitated with the learning work by imparting the “agenda” in a gradual manner. Do not waste the opportunity to take advantage of the 10 minutes a day of deep attention with each day. They should dedicate them to reflect on the new knowledge we want them to master.
The process of short training sessions adapted to the learning capacity of human memory is known as MICROLEARNING. If we had 800 concepts to transmit, we must “distill” a little the most important ones that it is essential to ensure that they dominate. In this way we can perhaps simplify 2/3 of them to keep the 250 main ones. For example, we can send you a daily email with the “10 inspiring concepts of the day”. In this way, in a month we can have reviewed the highlights you should know.
2ª) Introduce active training methods
The objective is to achieve an excellent commercial team of high performance. For it to master the concepts clearly and safely, it is essential to introduce active training methods. We could tune René Descartes’s phrase applied to the human brain to say “I think, then I learn”. An everyday example to understand the difference between active and passive learning can be when we go by car. Normally, the driver is the only one who learns the way because he is the one who has to make the decisions. The rest of the occupants, are taken to the destination passively and, probably, they would be unable to arrive again without being guided.
Applied to the sales team we could, for example, raise practical situations in which they have to think about how to solve them. The case study method has been successfully applied by business schools for decades. When having to make decisions in a safe environment, the concepts are much clearer and consolidated.
3ª) Make multiple impacts
If you are a product manager and you manage marketing campaigns, you will know that a single advertising impact is not enough to change the client’s behavior towards your brand. A re-impact campaign distributed over time is needed to grow your sales.
The brain of your commercials is as human as that of your clients. Possibly, they need more than one impact to consolidate the knowledge imparted to them in the sales convention. And not only so that they do not forget them, but also to practice them and that they happen to be processed mentally. The objective is to strengthen the neural circuits, until the response requires little attention, and emerges immediately. It would therefore be necessary to review the same concepts at the next sales meeting, or ask the zone managers to work on them at their local meetings, debating in small groups as they will apply them in their areas to improve their commercial action plan, and reviewing the results in the next meeting.
Following these 3 recommendations seems a very complicated process, but it can be greatly facilitated. For example, using as tool a serious game type quiz that, for several weeks, energize the whole consolidation process. It would be to draw an itinerary that goes by resolving practical situations raised in the form of a game. These can be repeated more than once without being boring. It will be enough for the commercial delegates to dedicate about 10 minutes/day, motivated by the addictive effect generated by self-surpassing.