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Peer Learning: Why It’s So Important for Remote Teams

Jun 16th, 2020

With many sales and client-facing teams working remotely, peer learning has only become more important to knowledge sharing, skills development and performance.

But what does peer learning mean? For sales organizations, peer learning or peer-to-peer learning is an approach that leverages institutional knowledge and facilitates a method to share it so reps can learn from each other.

Peer learning can happen naturally from reps interacting with one another, or sales enablement teams can expedite this process by cataloging and sharing peer learning content via a sales readiness platform. In any case, with many teams working remotely or already globally distributed, peer learning is even more important since the typical, in-person exchange of ideas may not be available right now.

This post will explore 5 reasons peer learning is so important for remote teams.

Peer Learning: Why It’s Important for Remote Teams

  1. Replaces in-person ‘water cooler’ talk
  2. Reinforces training
  3. Makes training programs more current
  4. Helps B and C players level up
  5. Facilitates the virtual exchange of institutional knowledge (and remote selling tips

#1. Replaces in-person ‘water cooler’ talk

Typically, informal peer learning often takes place as ‘water cooler’ talk, where reps casually exchange ideas and tips around the office. However, even without in-person interactions, peer learning can still take place.

You can set up groups or channels via your collaboration tool (i.e. Slack, Microsoft Teams, Skype) where reps can share information and the latest tips and tricks. Another option is to leverage a video coaching tool and assign reps a coaching activity to share a recent win story or best practice that will benefit others on the team. Once you’ve collected the video submissions, you can score them, provide feedback to the reps and choose the best ones to share them with the entire sales team. You can even add videos to a formal learning curriculum to ensure that the knowledge is captured for future groups of reps.

#2. Reinforces training

During a remote work arrangement, teams may have to pivot when it comes to carrying out sales training and coaching programs. One of the challenges is ensuring that reps are actually completing training and absorbing the material. You can address that with various virtual coaching activities, but another great way to reinforce training is through peer learning.

Using a video coaching tool, ask your A players to record a video of a recent tactic they used in a competitive deal. Then take the best submissions and distribute them to the team or add them to a learning curriculum that covers competitive intelligence.

You can also ask reps, either during a team meeting or via a coaching activity, to reiterate three important takeaways they learned in a recent training and explain how they’ll use them in upcoming selling situations. Again, you can catalog the most helpful responses and save them for future use.

#3. Makes training programs more current

Remote work has caused many reps to pivot their selling strategies to accommodate new challenges that customers and prospects are facing. As a result, your sales readiness programs may need a quick and dirty update to include the latest information.

Leveraging peer learning is one of the fastest ways to incorporate new information into your training programs. For example, you can assign a video coaching activity asking reps to describe how they overcame a recent objection from a prospect. If many of the responses include similar objections, you can glean that you may need to update an objection handling course so it’s more current to what reps are experiencing in the field. You can even incorporate the best rep responses directly into the course or tag them so they’re easily searchable in your content portal for just-in-time learning.

#4. Helps B and C players level up

Another challenge during work at home is providing help and support for B and C players. While you should ensure that B and C players are keeping up with training, they may find it helpful to see what A players are doing and apply those tactics to their selling approach.

One way to facilitate this is to have B and C players share their biggest challenges in closing deals. Then have A players share a tip that will help them overcome those obstacles. During a team meeting, you can have A players explain why their approaches have worked well and have a few B or C players discuss how they applied what they learned to a recent sales interaction.

#5. Facilitates the virtual exchange of institutional knowledge (and remote selling tips)

No matter how long your reps have worked for your company, they probably have a lot of sales experience, skills and knowledge that resides inside their heads. With peer learning, you can capture and save that knowledge, so it doesn’t leave your organization if the rep does.

A sales readiness tool can be helpful in this instance – especially if your teams are working remotely. You can capture reps’ tips and tricks via group video coaching activities or target specific reps and ask them to record a quick video to share information that will benefit the rest of the team.  

Then you can share these videos with the sales team on group video conference calls or via your collaboration tool so reps can comment and react in real time.

You can even tailor peer learning to the remote selling environments reps are in right now. Create a fun, informal video coaching activity asking reps to submit their best remote selling tip or a recent anecdote and then highlight the most notable ones in your next team meeting or gather a handful of useful responses for a future microlearning course.