How To Transform Enablement With Asynchronous Training

October 14, 2020 / by Spencer Grover

asynchronous training is the way of the future

Sitting in Google drives, SharePoints, and laptop folders across the world, collecting digital dust and just waiting to see the light of day, are hundreds of enablement programs that were initially meant for day-long, in-person training sessions.

But let’s face it – they aren’t going to happen any time soon.

COVID has put an indefinite hold on in-person training. And with all the coordination and technical issues associated with conference calls (not to mention the rising phenomenon of Zoom fatigue), there is a limit to how effective day-long, online synchronous training can be.

Teams have gone remote, and business has carried on.

life finds a way, and so does enablement. You nailed it Jeff, you handsome sod.

 

Sales reps must continue to be trained to learn and to adapt to current business needs. So enablement managers must, uh, find a way to get the training to them.

The content is already there. So rather than reinventing the wheel, take the existing programs, dust them off, and repackage them into remote, asynchronous training modules.

This post is going to teach you how.

Be bold

The fact is, you can probably do a lot more than you think you can.

Earlier this year we spoke with Paul Bleier, Director of Sales Enablement at multinational megacompany TELUS, about how to take your sales academy remote.

“You would be surprised in terms of what you can convert from instructor-led training into more of a distributed and on-demand model,” says Paul.

“You would be surprised in terms of what you can convert from instructor-led training into more of a distributed and on-demand model,” says Paul.

TELUS has about 50,000 employees globally and onboards a huge volume of new sales executives every year. Even in such a massive company, Paul was bold enough to convert their onboarding program into remote, asynchronous training, and now they’re reaping the benefits.

“I took a two-day whiteboard training program and put it into Salesforce, and people looked at me like I was crazy,” he tells. “But now, given that our whole global business ecosystem is work-from-home right now, we are uniquely positioned today at TELUS to keep our sales enablement programs moving forward because we had the courage to innovate. In the last year, we stopped classroom training altogether and moved fully into this digital practice.”

But boldness needs to be backed with a plan, lest it become recklessness. The first step is to figure out what the learning objectives are, and how to translate what was structured for synchronous training into asynchronous training.

“I took a two-day whiteboard training program and put it into Salesforce, and people looked at me like I was crazy”

Paul says that enablement managers must first ask themselves, “How do I give a bit of learning, ask reps to do a bit of practice, figure out what the reinforcement activity is going to look like, and then what the feedback mechanism is going to be so that the seller feels, ‘OK, I'm actually moving forward.’?”

Stretch it out over a long time

Zoom has been a business-continuity godsend, but it’s also hard. Zoom fatigue, a relatively new phenomenon, has been creeping up on us and leaving many feeling exhausted.

Zoom fatigue is no joke.

So, limit the amount of time that people need to spend on Zoom calls for training every day. Keep the sessions short and snappy, and spread them out over days and weeks. The ideal length of a classroom session depends on who you ask, ranging from 40-80 minutes. Though research suggests that it’s around 18 minutes, which is why Ted Talks max out at that time.

On the other hand, truly asynchronous training breaks down instructor training into on-demand videos. Business video host Wistia suggests that the optimal length of a video is 6-12 minutes.

In any case, shorter sessions are easier to approach (it’s the difference between, 'Ah, it’s just a 15-minute video' versus 'Oh no, I have to watch a 50-minute video'), and smaller chunks of information are easier to digest and retain.

Train on what you need, when you need it

With asynchronous training, there’s no need to dump all the training on reps upfront, as is the norm with professional sales training. Rather you can spread it out and do it when it’s relevant. This way reps get to practice what they just learned, which will help it stick better. Plus, it will save overall training time.

For example, if you're training reps on how best to sell a new product, then the most relevant aspects of this stage are discovery, personas, and customer pain-points. They aren’t at the closing part yet, so even if they are trained on it, they won’t be able to use it.

But in a few weeks, after they've actually booked some meetings, that’s when they’ll really benefit from training on things like opportunity qualification, building urgency, deep product features, and so on.

Embed training into their work

Make asynchronous training a part of their workflow by embedding milestones into your training that coincide with the actual work of selling.

Let’s go back to the example in the previous point. Let’s say the rep has received training on customer personas. Let’s say they’ve just been trained on how to sell to engineering managers. the next step is to tell them: 'OK, go ahead and call 50 engineering managers and book 5 meetings. You’ll get the next batch of enablement after that.' You want to tie your training to a change in seller behaviour and through to revenue outcomes.

Regarding the training at TELUS, Paul noted that it was expensive and unproductive to always have sales reps sitting in a classroom for five days at a time, going through processes and checklists. “We [enablement] would much rather be integrated more fully into their team-shadowing and coaching with their leader.”

“We [enablement] would much rather be integrated more fully into their team-shadowing and coaching with their leader.”

Build it into their daily flow

Reps need mad typing skills in our new remote world.

Right now, it’s not possible to enforce training by gathering everyone together in the same room. But asynchronous training lets you build it into their daily flow.

Slice the training up into smaller, easy-to-consume pieces and put them where your reps actually are (on their systems).

Shameless plug: we actually let you can take it a step further. You can serve up programs within Salesforce, check if they’re taking the programs, doing the activities, and completing the quizzes. Leveljump not only enables training delivery, but also daily monitoring and improvement, since you can tie your enablement programs to revenue outcomes to see if it’s actually working.

Paul put it best: “Not only can you track [progress] as an enablement team, but every time the salesperson completes something of value or completes a milestone, the sales leader gets notified that, ‘Hey, you may want to check in with Sally, you may want to check in with Jim because there's a coaching opportunity to be had here.’”

Wrap-up

There’s no reason to let perfectly good training go unused just because you don’t have an opportunity to deliver it synchronously.

And forget about waiting to get your reps into a classroom. Asynchronous training will ensure they get the training they need immediately. Besides, studies show that e-learning typically requires 40-60% less employee time than learning the same material in a traditional classroom setting.

You can successfully turn a day-long (or even longer) training session into a remote, asynchronous training plan by following these tips:

  • Be bold. You can do more than you think you can. Just think about what Pual Bleier accomplished at TELUS.

  • Stretch it out over a long time. Break down a long session into multiple small pieces, and spread them out over days or even weeks if you need to.

  • Train on what you need, when you need it. There’s no need to deliver all the training at once. Deliver pieces of training that are relevant to a rep’s current work.

  • Embed training into their work. Each bit of training sets a milestone for reps, which they have to reach in order to get the next bit of training.

  • Build it into their daily flow. Give them easy-to-consume pieces to take every day. Use a sales readiness tool for daily monitoring and improvement.

Image credit: Senad Palic via Unsplash

Topics: Sales Training & Coaching

Spencer Grover

Written by Spencer Grover

Spencer is the product marketing manager at LevelJump. He comes from the world of content and loves helping B2B SaaS companies find exactly the right people who love a product, and figuring out exactly how to tell that product story so it resonates and compels action. You can find him on LinkedIn.

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