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How to Create Engaging Training Content for Sales Teams

Jun 12th, 2019

There’s no question that salespeople need A LOT of information to succeed. From product and messaging updates to competitive intel and new market insights, the list is long and always changing.

Keeping busy sellers up to date on all those complex details is hard work. But it gets even tougher if your sales training content causes reps to lose interest 30 seconds into a presentation.

Between the pressure of hitting quota and the distractions at everyone’s fingertips – phones, emails, social media, etc. – your salespeople will have a hard time paying attention to training content if it isn’t engaging and easy to consume. That’s why learning needs to incorporate audio, video and interactive elements that hold sellers’ attention and convey enthusiasm about the topic, according to Brainshark’s Senior Director of Customer Success, Pat Kelly.

“What comes out of training content is only as good as what you put into it,” Kelly explained during a Brainshark webinar. “Each viewer has the ability to turn off your presentation at any time – don’t give them a reason.”

If you’re wondering how to develop better training content for your sales organization, look no further. Here are a few best practices that can level up your learning courses in no time!

For more content creation best practices, check out our on-demand webinar: 10 Keys to Creating Engaging Brainshark Presentations.

4 Ways to Improve Training Content

1. Remember Your Audience and Engage Them Early

Any time you produce a new piece of content – for salespeople or otherwise – it’s critical to keep the audience in mind.

This means asking key questions before you start creating, such as:

  • Why should they care to keep watching?
  • How will this training help solve their problems?
  • What value does this training provide?

First and foremost, salespeople care about hitting their numbers. But in addition to that, at any given moment they may be thinking about trends affecting a certain customer segment, a large deal in their pipeline, an activity that takes away from their selling time, or any number of other issues.

No matter what they’re juggling at the time, your training content needs to convey value right away. Why? Our data shows that when someone closes out of a Brainshark presentation before completion, 30% of viewers do so on the first slide.

Think of it like sales prospecting: if your subject line doesn’t grab the recipient’s attention, why would they bother to read the rest of the email?

Creating a new training course is more time- and resource-intensive than writing an email, of course, which makes it even more critical to hook salespeople instantly. Start with a clearly-stated objective that the audience shares, and explain how the content will help them achieve it.

2. Plan Your Message Carefully

Having a script ready before you present a training course is helpful, as it allows you to focus on message delivery (instead of figuring out what the message should be).

Most great content begins with an outline, and training scripts are no different. Start by identifying what format best fits the topic at hand. If you’re delivering deal negotiation training, for instance, you could build the presentation around 10 different examples of effective negotiation practices and title it, “10 Keys to Better Deal Negotiations.” If the content topic is more of a how-to – such as explaining how reps should file a pipeline report in your CRM – a step-by-step format may work better for this type of presentation.

Also ensure that the script focuses on the points that will most help your sellers in their roles. Avoid the temptation to conduct a “knowledge dump” on the topic – especially when working with a subject matter expert. Filter out unnecessary information so that the message stays clear, concise, compelling and consistent. (If there is leftover information worth including, tools like Brainshark allow you to attach documents to training presentations for added context!)

Once the script outline is ready, start writing the body of the presentation script – the main points you’re conveying – and then use that information to hone your introduction and closing messages.

3. Show, Don’t Tell

Think of the content your sales reps might consume when they need to fix something around the house. Are they going to read a long, text-heavy manual that tells them how to replace a bathroom cabinet? Or are they going to watch a short how-to video that shows them what cabinet replacement involves? As you can imagine, most how-to videos are light on words, and the text that is included is there to support the overall video message.

The same concept applies to sales training content. Microlearning that incorporates video and easy-to-read visuals, for instance, will do a better job of engaging reps than a dense, 40-slide PowerPoint deck. 

If you’re using voiceover narration to deliver your message, make sure the words and images that appear on-screen reinforce the message of your script. Placing too much text on each slide, or using text doesn’t support your voiceover narration, can end up distracting the viewer.

Keep these best practices in mind when designing slides for a training presentation:

  • Use no more than 5 bullets per slide, and 5 words per bullet
  • Use phrases instead of full sentences (your voiceover will provide the full context)
  • Use large font sizes: 20-plus for desktop viewing and 32-plus for mobile
  • Use images instead of text when possible, since your sellers may consume training from a mobile device

Read more: 4 Learning Methods to Better Engage Sales Reps

4. Keep Your Training Content Brief

“Brevity is the soul of wit,” according to Shakespeare, but it’s also the soul of great sales training!

That’s because the average salesperson only has so much time and mental bandwidth to spend on each task. If a rep is busy, chances are they’ll spend less of their valuable time listening to the training content you (lovingly and painstakingly) created.

Your goal, then, should be delivering the need-to-know information as concisely as possible. To do this, break up longer training presentations into ‘bite-sized’ chunks that can be quickly consumed. For example, Brainshark makes it easy to break up a 15-minute course on “Sales Process 101” into smaller learning modules on prospecting, pre-call planning, discovery, objection-handling, and closing.

Keeping the length of your individual slides around 30 seconds is helpful for two reasons:

  1. It makes recording easier, as there’s less audio to re-record if you make a mistake.
  2. It adds more visual movement to your presentation, which is a great way to capture reps’ attention.

Training content creation is important, but it’s also just one element of effective sales enablement technology. Check out our Sales Readiness Tech Buyer’s Guide to learn more.