Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mix it up with peer-to-peer training

Do you regularly force your sales teams to sit through days of training only to be left with employees who are zoned-out and overwhelmed by the overflow of information? Are your instructor-led training courses completely boring your teams so much that they’re ready for nap time?

Lauren Kinke, Marketing and Sales Operations Manager at ReachForce, recently shared on the company's B2B Lead Blog how they have created an employee training program that keeps employees actively engaged in the learning process.

Here’s a piece of the story:

Our typical training regime used to be comprised solely of a full-day quarterly kickoff. During that time we would run through a few “sales” skills specific sessions, some background on our industry, and a piece on what we do and how we do it (for newbies). Part team-building, part skills training, it was an exhausting day and by the end of it some of our more ADD inclined employees had mentally checked out. Recently we decided to make some changes.

First, instead of only hosting training sessions on a once a quarter basis, each of our weekly sales meetings would be host to a mini-session led by a sales rep. Second, our quarterly sales training meeting would be shortened to a little over half a day.

Through this new training program, members of the company’s sales team have presented topics including how to prepare for a first call, overcoming customer objections, closing techniques and time management.

There are no strict rules as to how a team member can present their topic. Some employees have found success with PowerPoint, while others simply stood in front of the class and spoke.

I can’t say that we’ve measured our results, but I can say that our reps have been able to put these things into practice as quickly as they are being taught.

The benefits of using a peer-to-peer training program are seemingly endless. It allows employees to connect and fosters teamwork, improves engagement and, above all, keeps trainees awake.

Have you ever put peer-to-peer training to work in your organization? What benefits/drawbacks have you found in the process?

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