While companies worry about attrition across all functions, they worry about it the most in sales teams. CSO Insights puts average sales team attrition levels at around 16% – twice as high as any other function. This means sales trainers are training a third of their audience from scratch every year, without accounting for growth in the team.
Attrition in a sales team can have a strong effect on turnover and affect client relationships as well. Especially when that attrition is of high performers, any organization can go a while before finding replacements and getting these new hires to perform effectively. Therefore, the cost of attrition is not only in actual lost revenues but the time value and return on investment on every subsequent hire.
In high-attrition environments, these costs can pile up significantly. With the amount that companies spend to train these teams every year, ROI for these spends can steadily decline unless managed carefully and through effective sales training programs.
Sales trainers have just one job in high-attrition environments – make new people productive in the shortest time possible. Good onboarding programs can help make sales people productive 2 months faster than less effective programs. With such clarity of purpose, this seems like an easy problem to solve. But its not. 71% of companies take six months or more to onboard people effectively according to CSO Insights.
So, what does it take to build an effective sales training program in such high attrition environments? In one word, “standardization”. Here are some critical ingredients that can help you cook up the right recipe to standardize and increase velocity of your sales training program.
In today’s mobile world, the tendency and receptiveness to consume digital content has gone up tremendously. A 70:20:10 approach – with 70% on-the-job, 20% mentoring and only 10% structured or eLearning – may be outdated, and more expensive than you think. In high attrition environments, placing the burden of on-the-job training on sales managers can mean a further slowdown in productivity. Since millennials are prone to consume a lot more digital content today, given the ease and convenience of doing so, it could be more effective to increase the eLearning/mlearning component of onboarding programs to ~30% to play into your audience’s natural behaviour. Apart from standardizing what is taught to your audience, it also ensures sales managers can focus on productivity and retention among their sales team rather than constantly worrying about training.
Build a eLearning/mlearning repository for informational content
Most sales onboarding programs try and cram in as much information into the first few interactions that a sales person has with the program. Retention typically takes a hit because of this. A more natural way for your audience to consume is to give them online courses with all the information to be imparted that they can explore at their own pace. This will serve as a go-to destination for all sales people to refer to on a regular basis. In some cases, this can also be used as a sales aid in the field, for quick reference before meeting with customers or networks.
Of course, onboarding programs must give critical information to the sales person before they can get started such as product information, company history, sales processes and systems etc. However, including microlearning highlights with references to your online courses repository will ensure they don’t get deluged with a lot of information they ultimately cannot remember. In a high-attrition environment, having this repository will help you send out your sales people into the field faster with a safety net of the reference repository.
Build a culture of contribution in your audience
When performing sales people leave, a lot of institutional learning leaves with them. Whether this is in the form of insights or anecdotes, effective sales trainers aim to capture and build an organizational knowledge repository to draw upon for their programs. To institutionalize this, sales trainers must push for a ‘culture of contribution’ among their sales teams. Having KPIs around knowledge sharing that require all sales people to contribute to a ‘knowledge repository’ can help build such a culture and keep your program current and relevant.
In today’s digital world, generating this content is far easier than you imagine, especially using modern mobile learning products. Instead of asking your experts for PowerPoint presentations – which you will probably never get – ask them to record and post a short video or audio clip with some sales insights, to the social section of your mobile learning app. Most modern eLearning and mlearning platforms will ease this process. Crowd-sourcing such content can help ease your time and budget constraints and promote ownership of the program among your audience. Such content can be drawn upon by your new sales people for sales tips and tricks they would otherwise take many years to learn.
If the holy grail is getting your new folks onboarded faster, then bringing your onboarding program into the new-age may be a great place to start!
Continue to watch this space for our upcoming series on how to drive sales training adoption
Having spent a large part of my career in the financial services space driving traditional business growth, using gaming to achieve business goals was not a cause I expected to be championing. Gaming was always a personal interest, but the business parallels only became apparent after we started experimenting with service engagements for enterprises. Given the planet anyway spends 3 billion hours a week playing games, the challenge was really to figure out how learning could fit in that construct.
We formed QuoDeck in 2010 to bring gaming into learning for enterprises. Having started with some elementary game engines and simulations, QuoDeck quickly moved on to make an omnipotent system built with the changing business environment in mind. QuoDeck’s platform today is one of the most powerful and engaging learning platforms in the world, catering to enterprise requirements for mobile learning. And as a leading player in this category, our advice to new entrants is to stay true to course, understand that the market is huge and that innovation is the key.
Mobility is here to stay
Mobile learning was just about appearing on the horizon in India when we entered the market. In fact, it was still at a nascent stage globally as well. While enterprises saw the demographic shift coming, the speed at which the device shift happened took everyone by surprise. Within a period of 3-4 years, millennial users had junked tablets and wouldn’t access their desktops or laptops for anything but sit-down work. They wanted everything on their mobile – on-demand, anytime, anywhere. Being a generation bred on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, they also wanted content and technology that was easy-to-use, visually appealing and in bite-sized pieces. The learning evolution that needed to happen in enterprises was phenomenal and existing products just weren’t prepared for this. Mobility as a trend forced a change in behavior, technology, content creation and consumption patterns across all strata of business.
There is always an element of luck in startup success and we were no different. Perhaps being at the right place at the right time with the right thought process is what its all about. QuoDeck has been at the forefront of this shift, shoulder-to-shoulder with enterprises looking to stay ahead of the curve.
Gamifying the world
Our personal insight of gaming being habit-creating and creating long-term associative memories, was the inspiration behind the approach we took. Countless times, behaviors and constructs learnt in gaming had been translated by us to address real-world problems with excellent results.
We had a learning curve here as well. Having played on consoles such as PlayStation and Xbox, we assumed the world was ready to deal with highly complex games and constructs. However, working closely with business heads, HR teams and the Learning & Development function, we learnt that hyper-casual games create the best impact from a learning perspective. This is because they are somewhat repetitive in nature, with a greater level of participation & addiction to ‘scoring’.
While we initially worked on gamification applications on functions such as marketing, research, and learning, we chose to go with learning as a primary focus. Having started in this category long before games became the buzzword of today, we were fortunate to be able to take a pole position and we hope to actually drive the future of gamification for learning in the enterprise. But there are still a lot of white spaces to go after in enterprise gamification.
For New Players
Gaming as a learning solution is so vast in its scope, that it can’t be characterized or identified with any particular industry or even a clutch of industries. Wherever there is widespread staff or skilling required, gaming solutions can take charge and lead the change. So, when new players come in, they must remember that competition comes in various guises and is very rarely with another player. You will end up competing for mindshare against the likes of video-on-demand platforms or search engines where users can find information and content at their fingertips. Knowing what creates pull is perhaps the only challenge you should worry about.
Look out for learning opportunities
Gamification as an industry has a widespread application with learning being only one of them. A space was created for us because existing products failed to keep pace with what was required – large entrenched players became irrelevant in a matter of months. Overnight, enterprises recognized that resistance against this changing paradigm was futile, and mindsets started changing. Gaming and mobility were no longer bad words.
It would be foolish of us to think that we cannot be on the other side of such a trend. Keeping your offering relevant and at the cutting-edge requires you to have an innovation engine, which stops for no one. This requires tremendous willpower and a staunch refusal to settle into a comfortable spot.
This article was first published at YourStory
According to a survey by Stat Counter in 2016, the number of mobile users surpassed the desktop users for the first time, with 51.3% mobile users and 48.7% desktop. It is no surprise that mobile has now become a preferred medium for people to access content. In fact, according to a report by Growth Engineering, 43% of people find learning from mobile devices very useful and essential.
Mobile learning is more than a way to learn through a mobile device. It allows people to learn on-demand, at their own pace, and in the form of bite-sized micro lessons.
For companies, the question is no longer whether to consider mobile learning. The question is — How long will they wait to implement mobile learning in their organization?
Here are some of the reasons why mobile learning is the future of corporate training:
International assignments and global mobility continue to rise
Talent mobility has become a norm for most organizations. In the last decade, international assignments have increased by 25 percent, and if it follows the same pattern, then we could see another 50% increase by 2020.
When your business is sending an employee to an unfamiliar and new location abroad, you need to make sure that your employees have all the training and information they need to make their assignment a success. After all, for any business, international assignments are already expensive, and lack of preparation can lead to decreased productivity and poor results.
That is why it is important for businesses to train their employees in advance so that they can deal with any type of challenge that they may experience when they are on the assignment. Though the employees may not have enough time to get their training before leaving or during work hours, with mobile learning. With mobile learning as part of your corporate training, it becomes possible for your team to learn on the go and make their international assignments a success.
Millennials prefer short bursts of information
It is estimated that by 2020 nearly half of the workforce will comprise of millennials, which means companies have to change their corporate training programs as soon as possible to make sure it caters to the new generation and trains them in the most effective way.
Now, millennials are used to smartphones and tablets, and they are from the social media generation where they consume information in small bursts. Handing these millennials a 50-page manual or conducting a 2-hour seminar about a new technology that you are going to implement in your firm, may not help them retain as much information as you would want them to.
Instead, with mobile learning, your corporate training program can be converted into a scenario-based fun game that the millennials can play on the go and it can also help them retain more information leading to a more productive and an efficient workforce.
In-house training to make sure your team is constantly learning and evolving
With high competition, it has become crucial for companies to only have the best talent on their team. When you are hiring new talent for your company, you go above and beyond during the recruitment process to make sure the people you are selecting have all the necessary skills and knowledge.
But the business world is constantly changing, and without the right in-house training you might soon realise that you have an under-qualified staff. By implementing a mobile learning program, you can allow your team to gain new skill sets and always stay ahead of the competition by creating a corporate training program that everyone can partake in at their own speed, without affecting their work.
The rise in the remote workforce
Companies around the world are embracing mobile workforce. By allowing employees to work outside of office, according to their flexible timings, organizations are able to get better results and efficiency.
When your workforce is operating in different geographies, you also need to change your corporate training program to fit the new workforce. After all, you cannot expect the remote employees to cram all the information in a single instructor-led training event.
The employees won’t be able to understand or implement information accurately when they are taught everything in a small span of time. Instead, with a mobile learning application, your team can learn the new course and technology remotely, and at their own pace, which would make retaining and implementing information easier.
Enhanced collaboration and engagement
We live in a world where people prefer sharing their ideas online instead of doing it in person. By leveraging the social aspect of mobile learning in corporate training, you can generate more conversations among your employees and create a continous learning experience. This, in turn, increases collaboration, engagement, and motivation among your employees and makes training fun.
For instance, you could implement mobile-based gaming lessons for your team and keep the scores of the top ten people. You could also create a community page where employees could share what they learned from the game or ask questions about certain sections of the game which would encourage peer to peer learning.
With the flexibility and efficiency that mobile learning provides, there are no doubts that it is indeed the future of corporate training. If your organisation is yet to incorporate it into your training program, then its high time that you did.
Do you know that the attention span of an average human is shorter than a goldfish? (Source: Microsoft Canada, 2015). A goldfish can focus for nine seconds; people are down to a mere eight seconds.
So, the million-dollar question is – how do you design learning which caters to such a short attention span and ensure that it is effective as well?
Micro-learning is the way out!
Micro-learning deals with relatively small learning units and short-term-focused activities (Hug, 2005). In the e-learning context, it refers to a learner’s short interaction with learning matter broken down to very small bits of content.
Here are 5 reasons why micro-learning is perfect for today’s mobile-oriented workforce.
- Easy on memory: Learners are routinely overburdened by unfocused, information-heavy content. Micro-learning reduces cognitive load, making it easier for learners to process.
- Low on space: Since micro-learning takes up less digital space, you can avoid digital real estate issues that come with storing and displaying media files – especially on mobile devices.
- More focused: Micro-learning is more focused in scope, making it easier for a learner to tie what they learn directly to specific on-the-job actions.
- Cost-effective: Short content is cheaper and faster to produce and update, so you can continually test and experiment, even on the tightest budgets.
- Learning throughout the day: Micro-learning forces us to consider the small learning moments and opportunities that happen continuously throughout an employee’s day.
If you could think of more reasons, share with me in the comments below!
Millennials constitute a majority of today’s workforce.The US Bureau of Labor statistics estimates that this group already exceed 50% of the total employee pool and will cross 75% by 2030. Raised in an era of ‘instant access’, this generation consumes information primarily in the form of multimedia, and their most preferred method of communication is their mobile device.
Devising learning solutions for this mobile oriented workforce requires a completely different approach i.e. Micro-Learning. INCITE is one such Micro-Learning framework, developed through the author’s work with over 40 large companies helping them create Micro-Learning systems.
Download your FREE copy of INCITE to get a unique and effective perspective on Micro-Learning – http://goo.gl/qxlokL
Mobile Learning, also known as Mlearning, is at present, the most confused term, if not misused, in the world of elearning. People often describe mobile learning as what is done on your laptop, as you can do it anywhere. But this certainly cannot be categorized as mobile learning.
So, what is Mobile Learning?
Here’s how eLearning Guild describes Mobile Learning:
“Any activity that allows individuals to be more productive when consuming, interacting with, or creating information, mediated through a compact digital portable device that the individual carries on a regular basis, has reliable connectivity, and fits in a pocket or purse.”
Let me simplify it further for you.
M-learning is any kind of learning that takes place via a portable, hand-held electronic device.
And in most cases, mobile phones, PDAs and Tablets.
Mobile learning is a form of distance learning and can be formal or informal, structured or unstructured.