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Remote Learning: 5 Tips for Improving Engagement for Sales Teams

May 27th, 2020

For sales teams in today’s work-from-home reality, designing and delivering remote learning that sticks has, in and of itself, been a learning experience. Previous challenges – including those related to engagement and knowledge retention – are only exacerbated by a crop of new distractions from a homebound workstyle.

By this point, most of us have probably experienced some shared frustrations and roadblocks in the remote learning process. And many have experimented to find new ways to drive learning success. Here are five remote learning tips to improve engagement among sales reps and other client-facing team members.

5 Remote Learning Tips for Sales Teams

  1. Follow eLearning design best practices
  2. Deliver multimodal online learning
  3. Seek free thought leadership
  4. Drive peer-to-peer learning
  5. Schedule some face time

#1 – Follow eLearning Design Best Practices

Most of the same eLearning principles and goals you were trying to implement before the work-from-home mandates still apply. In fact, many of them are even more important now. Guidelines such as keeping learning content “bite-sized” and digestible, and making it interactive (such as with embedded quizzes and knowledge-checks) will help sustain reps’ attention during this busy and stressful time. Keep in mind too: well-designed content still needs to be reinforced. Don’t forget to include follow-up activities (such as additional modules, assessments or role-play opportunities) to foster and assess retention.

#2 – Deliver Multimodal Online Learning

We all process information differently, so it’s important to present information in various ways. Even within eLearning modules, you can use images, text, voiceovers and videos to engage learners’ senses. If you’re creating a Brainshark presentation, it’s also easy to add additional resources such as attachments for a deeper dive, and to help drive remote learning engagement and comprehension.

#3 – Seek Free Thought Leadership

Especially during this busy time, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel with all your remote learning content and needs. Often, free resources can help fill gaps, supplement knowledge and add variety to the materials reps are consuming. Choose reputable resources, of course – many consulting firms, for example, are removing paywalls and making more of their knowledge available right now.

Depending on the topic, sometimes you can use free content without modifying it. Other times, third-party resources and thought leadership can be used as a “base” and adapted, as needed, to the nuances of your company’s messaging and needs.

For instance, at Brainshark, we’ve been taking greater advantage of free webinars on topics that are important to our sales team. Typically, one person attends the webinar and presents the information back during a group meeting. We know the presenter has worked to really digest and understand the material, and other reps are grateful to have another voice presenting a lesson.

#4. Drive Peer-to-Peer Learning

Reps are accustomed to learning from managers, coaches and sales leaders – that happens all the time. It carries a good deal of weight, though, when reps have the opportunity to learn from their peers, whose success they may want to emulate. In the absence of a physical “water cooler,” try to foster those opportunities for valuable peer-to-peer and informal learning.

Asking reps to present lessons learned (such as on the webinar content) is one example. At Brainshark, we’ve also used our coaching platform to ask reps to record themselves – sharing brief stories related to their best practices, recent successes and tips, including work-from-home “productivity hacks.” We put the videos in a central library that other reps can easily access and call attention to standout submissions.

#5. Schedule Some Face Time

With remote learning, most of it will and should be delivered asynchronously. Keep in mind, though, that in today’s environment, reps and other team members may be feeling a bit untethered and craving some connections. So strive for a blended learning program with face-to-face virtual components too, including role-plays and other interactive activities via video conferencing or a video coaching tool.

At Brainshark, we’ve onboarded some new reps during the last month and, since we can’t interact with them in-person, have introduced more live video components into the experience. We’ve gotten great feedback about the virtual meet-and-greets, “day-in-the-life” sessions and other live video components, as ways to enrich the overall onboarding experience. Although we can’t replace the previous social aspects and interactions, we continue to brainstorm more ways to approximate them.

Putting Our Heads Together

Finding new rhythms and processes to drive remote learning success takes some experimentation. It’s a collaborative process – where company leadership, sales enablement, sales managers and reps themselves have valuable ideas, insights and experiences to share.

For more tips, check out our remote learning resources.