How to drive more engagement out of your sales training in 2021

Engagement is one of the most important metrics to analyze the effectiveness of a training program. Engaged users are motivated, inspired and have a high willingness towards performing well. While developing a sales training course for your workforce in 2021, you must keep in mind that getting higher levels of engagement can be tricky because of various constraints. In this article, I will be highlighting a few, very interesting ways by which you can address the above issue and encourage a fun environment during the sales training. 

Storytelling:

An artform which is a two-way interaction between a storyteller and the learner. The interactive nature of storytelling partially accounts for its immediacy and impact. At its best, storytelling can directly and tightly connect the teller and audience. Relatable characters help the learners immerse themselves into the situation of the protagonist as their personality resonates with that of the character. Elements like story structure, emotional connectivity, real life challenges, use of multimedia components make sure that the learner is kept engaged throughout and can achieve the set goals. 

Personalization of training:

Personalization of training is the customization of training so that it is aligned to meet a specific learner’s needs. A highly learner-centric approach, personalized learning makes the training sessions highly relevant to the learners leading to high engagement. As trainers you must let your learners be flexible with your course, they should be able to choose their own device, their learning path, manage their timelines, learn at their own pace, and set their own milestones. 

Gamification elements:

Leaderboards are a great way to introduce healthy competition amongst the learners. This element of challenge encourages learners to do better than others thus improve the level of engagement throughout the batch. Rewards and recognition promote good work ethic and a sense of socialization within the company. Every learner wants to show off their achievement and share their accomplishments with others. This creates an environment where everyone wants to do well and demonstrate how skilled they are. 

Application of learning on the job: 

Provide job aids in your training program which could be used by the learner in the most practical sense. Your sales workforce is on their feet, the whole day interacting with different stakeholders. The training course should be designed in a way that salesperson could refer to the job aids to complete an important task during his/her day. This creates value of the training course in the minds of the learner and will improve motivation and engagement. 

Learner Feedback:

Learners should be encouraged to provide their feedback on different aspects of the sales training regularly. This will not just help in improving the course and fill the loopholes but also reassure the learners that their inputs are valuable and that they are a part of the process itself. This feedback needs to be used to upgrade the system and build on the research that was initially done on the learner profiles.  

There are various strategies which could be used to achieve higher levels of engagement and high immersive experiences. As the marketplace is evolving, the trainer needs to step up with their sales training programs which require effective strategies to drive readiness for the sales teams they support. Take into account the characteristics and personalities of your learner, conduct a discovery process, build and improve at each step of the learner journey. The elements mentioned in this article could be a solution to the challenges involved in engaging a learner during the sales training process by turning routine tasks into fun activities that give your learner a sense of confidence

7 gamification trends to follow in 2021

Gamification is likely to fill in the gaps that were not earlier considered. The gaming factor is positive and good. Here are 7 gamification trends you can follow in 2021.

Games tend to be fun and engaging, which has paved the way for the popularity of gamification across multiple sectors. After all, gamification can turn a boring task into a refreshing one. Gamification has been around for quite a while, especially in the academic sector. In recent times, however, it has become rather mainstream.

Therefore, it does not seem like gamification would become obsolete any time soon, and the trend is likely to go on in the near future.

What exactly is gamification?

Gamification is just a technique where the designers integrate non-gaming settings with gameplay elements. This ensures better user experiences with any product or service. For example, in a business, gamification can help keep the team motivated and provide them with various incentives.

Gamification can be as simple as integrating badges and leaderboards into a system that already exists.

What are the top applications of gamification in 2021?

Various gamification trends have emerged in recent times. Some of the applications of gamification are:

Remote onboarding

Lately, work from home has become extremely popular across different sectors. As an increasing number of activities have gone digital, so has onboarding. Various companies are onboarding their new employees remotely, through mobile apps.

These apps come with features such as trivia-style games, team rankings, and provisions for challenging colleagues. This helps to build a sense of belongingness and team spirit from the very onset.

Digital events

Currently, there exists a constant need for sophistication in a fast-paced world. As a result, an increasing number of companies are holding their events and meetings online. This trend has grown significantly more potent during the pandemic.

This is because face-to-face meetings became almost impossible. As a result, a growing number of companies have started to utilize video conferencing. Consequently, video conferencing has become increasingly popular among companies.  

Virtual learning

Virtual learning programs have been around for quite a while. One of the key benefits of this mode of learning is that it comes with ample scope for gamification. Students can interact with gamified pieces of information. This is much more interesting than learning statically.

Virtual reality-based games help to understand new concepts without many hassles. Thus, it appears that gamification would remain a part of virtual learning for years to come.

Combating disinformation

In today’s world, disinformation has become a burning problem in society. There is no shortage of hoaxes regarding crucial matters on social media. Various organizations have come up with gamified applications to fight disinformation. These enable the user to have fun while spreading correct information on various matters.

Investment

A large section of society finds interest in investment as a mode of earning. However, not everyone understands all the concepts of investment, which deters many from investing.

Currently, there are easy-to-use gamified apps that help the users to invest seamlessly. Although investing in stock trading may be confusing for those new to it, such apps help make it fun.

What are the top gamification practices to implement?

With gamification growing increasingly popular, several strategies and techniques have emerged. Therefore, it is logical to implement gamification in your organization in the right manner. It would help your business reap the benefits of gamification to the fullest. Some of the best gamification practices are:

  • In a workplace environment, competitive gamification is a good approach to increasing productivity. However, you must not celebrate only the top performer. Make sure to reward all the participants in some way as long as they performed well too. This would help to boost engagement and reduce the chances of demotivation. 
  • Try not to overemphasize the rewards. Funding big rewards can be inefficient in terms of costs in the long run. Moreover, focusing too much on the incentives would make the employees fix the wrong goals. Rather than being more productive, they would focus on irrelevant activities just to win the rewards.
  • Be creative and careful while choosing the rewards. Not every type of reward works in every scenario. Try to keep the rewards connected to the business. It would be smart to reward the performers in ways that would help them gain professional recognition. Simple rewards, such as an invitation to a guest blog, a shout-out at a meeting, or a LinkedIn recommendation, can be highly effective.
  • Track the gamification program and the performance of the team to check how successful the gamification is. It also helps the participants gain insights into their own qualities and understand how they can improve themselves.

Conclusion

These are some of the top gamification trends and techniques that one might follow in 2021. Building and implementing the right gamification strategy is crucial. It would provide a a significant boost to the business. 

7 Best Marketing Automation Tools for Sales Enablement

We belong to an era where everything is getting digital very quickly. Especially during this pandemic, the world has faced the dire need for digitization even more. And as we progress towards automation, we focus on simplicity. From the simplest commands on Google or Siri to manless Tesla cars, where can you not find an example?

Digital marketing is no exception in this case. The introduction of AI in digital marketing has only made advertisements and promotions easier and smoother. It also saves you a lot of money. How? According to the Salesforce’s State of Sales report, sales personnel only spend 34% of their time selling their products.

The same report also says that sales personnel spend a lot more time doing other things like writing emails, follow-ups, data entry, scheduling meetings, etc. Now, all these tasks can be easily achieved by using Marketing Automation tools. So, here are our choice of 7 best marketing automation tools for sales enablement.

Best Marketing Automation Tools

1.   Sendinblue

Top on our list we place Sendinblue, an excellent marketing automation tool. Sendinblue has various features for email marketing, SMS marketing, chat, CRM, etc. This marketing automation tool can learn to message and email that you can customize and design.

Sendinblue is also helpful in campaigns. Here you can design effective landing pages. It has additional features like Facebook ad targeting, custom-signup form integration, retargeting, etc. 

2.   MailShake

MailShake is an inevitable marketing automation tool for email marketing. This automation tool excels at finding the most engaged leads. That way, you can focus more on qualified prospects who can be converted into customers.

MailShake also includes various outreach features. It has a very simple dashboard for prospect follow-up. MailShake engages your prospect on whichever platform they are active online. But above all, its built-in phone dialer lets you contact your leads in real-time.

3.   HubSpot

Hubspot is a very popular marketing automation tool available in over 90 countries worldwide. It is the most famous platform for inbound marketing and sales. Hubspot has various tools for social media marketing, landing page designing, SEO, web analytics, etc., made for small to medium-sized businesses.

Hubspot is also popular when it comes to email marketing. It has automated content and attractive templates for each recipient. It also has additional features like document management and tracking, contact management, customer profile, email tracking, etc.

4.   Pipedrive

Taking note of each of your prospects can be troublesome for any salesperson. Plus, it consumes a lot of time. But Pipedrive keeps everyone on the same page. It effectively collects customer data like age, demographics, gender, etc., and sorts it accordingly. Thus, you can understand a qualified lead better before handing them over to the sales consultant.

5.   Automate.io

If you are looking for a complete business automation solution, Automate.io can be the one. This marketing automation tool is an outstanding business workflow manager. It can offer you a completely secured workflow.

Furthermore, it can easily automate and manage business requirements like marketing, payment, and sales. Automate.io supports various major platforms like CRM apps, helpdesk, eCommerce and payment forms, etc.

6.   EngageBay

Small business owners know the pain of managing multiple CRMs and marketing automation tools. Sometimes, it is not even possible for them to align everything as per the budget. EngageBay is a platform where you can do multiple tasks together.

You can sync all your contacts here, and it will nurture those leads automatically. You can also schedule sales calls. Thus, you can focus on one thing instead of many.

7.   Highspot

With Highspot, you can easily fulfill your revenue goal with its expert guidance. Highspot features outstanding integrations like AI-powered search, in-context training, guided selling, customer engagement, and actionable analytics, etc. It has enterprise-ready sales enablement with all the eye-catching modern designs, which can be a breakthrough in your campaign.

Conclusion

Marketing Automation tools are becoming the new future of the digital marketing industry. And the reason behind this is quite clear. They help you create efficient campaigns with a lot less human power. It means that you save more while getting more efficient. We hope that these 7 best marketing automation tools for sales enablement will change your marketing scenario.

Podcasts: Effective ways to train your sales team

Podcasts aren’t just entertainment, but also informative. We summed up a 3 minute write-up to explain how these mini audiobooks can affect your overall sales. Few things might surprise you. 

A podcast is  an audio/video transcription of information that can be downloaded and played anywhere and anytime—it’s like satellite radio, but in pre-packaged and time-limited format.  

  

Podcasts are recorded using certain software online recording programs, exported to a digital warehouse like Spotify, and then downloaded/streamed by anyone who searches for that topic or anyone who has a direct link to the podcast itself. 

The popularity of podcasts have exploded and are now considered a conventional mode of media, easily accessible to everyone. You have podcasts available for every topic under the sun, from gardening to mental health to project management. The ease and mobility of podcasts make it a perfect medium for conducting sales trainings.  

Sales professionals are usually exposed to a lot of content, sometimes too much. Yet, finding accessible and correct content to read can be struggle. Especially if you are an incentive driven sales professional, every second not spent on a deal could feel like a useless second. Apart from being incredibility popular among the current generation, podcasts are turning out to be an effective way for sales trainings. The 5 top reasons to use podcasting for sales training are listed below: 

  1. In most companies, sales professionals don’t have a stationary office job in-front of a computer or at a desk for most part of their day. Creating secure mobile podcasts can make it easier for the field sales teams to have access to the content on their phones, away from their office and home networks. Podcasts allow representatives to have access to the trainings offline, on the road, or anywhere they can multi-task. 
  1. In a podcast episode, business guru Tim Sanders says that our capacity to   understand information when reading text is 7% but increases to 38% in an auditory setting. This would mean that shifting from an email-based culture to an audio-based culture, would improve the understanding by almost 500%. For sales representatives, or anyone for that matter, this jump in efficacy is critical. 
  1. Mobile training methods for sales reps don’t just improve accessibility to content on the field, but are also a good way to generate quantifiable productivity gains. According to research, sales reps spend at least eight hours per month in transit. Extrapolate this number to all the sales representatives, and the company loses a huge amount worth of productivity every month. Mobile training methods easily engage the reps to continue learning, especially in the field, or even behind the steering wheel. Hence, this makes podcast trainings an exceptional choice to turn the wasted downtime into productive opportunities.  
  1. You can’t deny the fact that podcasting is already incredibly popular and has seen a sharp growth due to the pandemic. After the US and China, India happens to be the third-largest podcast market in the world, and the estimation states that the country would see 17.61 million people listening to podcasts by the year 2023. 
  1. Highly successful organizations usually provide its sales representatives with ongoing training throughout the year. This can become extremely easy with 5-minute daily/weekly podcasts in keeping the sales representatives up to date. The minimal effort required in the production of these podcasts, makes it an even easier tool to work with.

Podcasts are proving to be efficient micro-learning solutions as they produce bite sized episodic content which are short, information heavy and engaging. And although podcasting for training is still at an early stage, this could be the perfect time to initiate and experiment with it. 

BONUS READ 

How to Record a Podcast from your Mac 

1.) Open Garageband. Click on “Podcast” when it asks what to record. 

2.) Click the record button to record your voice. Click it again to stop recording. To playback, click the rewind button.  

3.) To add artwork, just select “Artwork” section on your podcast. Then, from the right sidebar, select “Photos”, pick one and upload.  

4.) Select the “Jingles” section on your podcast to add them. Then, from the right sidebar, select “Audio” and find a sample you’d want to use. Shorten it by selecting the track.  

5.) After you’re done saving, go to the top and under “Share”, click “Export Song to Disc”.  Now, you can upload the exported file to your platform.  

REMOTE WORKING: IS IT TIME TO GO DIGITAL ON LEARNING?

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic forced nations of the world to go into complete (or partial) lockdown. As a result, industries worldwide either shut down their operations or switch to remote working. 

Organizations and people have struggled to stay productive while working remotely due to the lack of social life or personal touch. It is debatable if the new-normal will stay normal even after the lockdown measures are entirely lifted. However, there will be a significant fundamental shift in the work cultures of organizations across the globe

Remote Working: A Necessity

Remote working was desirable with the majority of the population even before the pandemic, though not most of them got it. Few companies were digitally ready to implement the work-from-home strategy as they used to practice it pre-pandemic. However, companies worldwide were forced to move to full-time practice of remote working and struggle.  

To stay functional and productive, organizations help their employees with all sorts of information and training, which is also done remotely. At least some of these practices will probably go on even after the pandemic is over. Fortunately, there are tools of digital learning that can ensure success. 

The Changing Mindsets 

Before the pandemic hit, most managers believed that it is impossible or way too challenging to achieve high productivity levels while working from home. For them, there were no two ways for it. However, they are now beginning to see a change in their long-held believes, as they see the results of the employees working at their own places. It is more apparent now that the employees will perform when they are trusted for responsibility. 

The managers can now see that any mandate of having all of the employees in one place together is pointless. People still work well when they do not see each other all the time. Besides, did we always meet everyone in the office on a daily basis? 

Although there are jobs that require people to meet and work together, we might not need to meet our colleagues or our teams daily. We may still gather, but not with the same people every day. 

Digital Learning: The key enabler 

For an organization to succeed at these fundamental shifts in an organization’s culture, the employees are at the core. The companies have to create a collaborative and learning culture for their employees to be efficient at these. On top of that, the companies need to change  the learning style from the one-size-fits-all format to a more personalized mode for the employees. Engaging learning integrated into the day-to-day work is even better. The rise of digital tools is making learning shift towards the concept of individualized learning. 

Traditionally, digital learning has been dull, even after being a revolution. One could not imagine oneself being involved in digital learning regularly, more so on a daily basis. A teacher in front of a camera, running through a series of PPTs, has been the norm. Fortunately, there has been much evolution in this area – game based learning and mobile learning. Learning is now interactive, engaging, at the learners’ convenience, and as a part of their day’s work. 

Few companies were enabled with the WFH model, and others were forced to adopt it. In both cases, the usual 9 to 5 daily office routine is likely to be disrupted with remote working becoming a part of the norm, if not the norm itself, with the employees demonstrating productivity at the comfort of their homes even more than they did being in their cubicles. The corporates will have to deliver the training that is personalized to the employees to keep their employees up-to-date, engaged, and skilled digitally.