Remote working has become one of the biggest trends in the workplace. While a couple of decades back it would have been an inconvenience to have employees working remotely, now it has been normalized to an extent where companies offer work from home options to employees upfront for better productivity. In fact, 3.9 million Americans work from home at least half the time!
Technology has made it possible to coordinate and be in sync with a decentralized workforce so that nothing goes amiss. Sales is a function where the employees are required to commute often and work from different locations. It’s part of their job. And ensuring on-going and regular training is part of the manager’s job.
But with a team that is dispersed far and wide, sometimes in different cities and even countries, how is a manager supposed to execute a retail sales training program?
The answer again lies in technology.
Thanks to all the modern innovations, today it is quite easy and convenient to deliver retail sales training to a remote workforce. Before we take a look at how one can deliver remote training, let us see some of the advantages of employing remote workers.
Here are some benefits of having a remote workforce:
- Companies can save cost on the purchase/lease of office space and utilities
- Can hire the best talent across locations
- Employees have less stress of commuting
- Familiar and comfortable work environment increases productivity
- Employees enjoy a better work-life balance
Now let us have a look at how you can deliver retail sales training to remote employees.
1. Create Short Learning Modules for Online Training
Sales being a field where one has to be constantly aware about the latest trends in the industry, there needs to be a training module which can be updated regularly. For this reason, online training proves to be a highly resourceful training approach. While you can’t be present to guide your employees in every situation, you can create courses that employees can access on their smartphones and tablets.
The courses should be broken down into small nuggets. The idea is to not take up a lot of time in reading but providing quick information that the learner can remember and can probably use during client interactions for a quick reference. Online training courses are also cloud-based, which means it can be updated or modified anytime you want. Creating an easily accessible training module will keep your remote employees up to date with just-in-time information.
2. Deliver Video-based Training
With more and more people finding video training effective, sales managers and L&D teams are now trying to deliver sales training via videos. Videos are visually appealing; hence people tend to remember the information more effectively. Designing a video for retail sales training would require you to highlight important points with an interesting narrative.
Creating an interactive video definitely helps more than just a slideshow of texts and images. Include moving images, have a narrator speak on-screen, or include animations to keep the learner engaged in the content. You can use these videos to train your team on selling skills, negotiation skills etc. Remember to keep the content short, crisp and engaging.
3. Use Screen Capture for Software Skills Training
If you wish to train your sales team on how to use the latest software or tool for updating and managing their targets and daily work records, you can develop a screen capture video. Screen captures are the perfect way of training one on software applications. These videos are usually a recording of the narrator’s screen, while the audio is being played in the background. There are many free screen capture tools available online if you wish to create one for your sales team. As you won’t be meeting with your employees often, try to address all possible queries that could arise while learning.
4. Use Video Conferencing to Hold a Virtual Classroom Session
Managers must want to know how the team is performing individually, address their queries and give new updates. It is essential to connect once in a while to know what’s happening in the overall team. The team can conduct a video-conference, whereby all the sales team members can join the conference from wherever possible.
These sessions can be utilized to explain new concepts to the whole team, gather inputs and feedback for further improvement etc. Interacting only with a phone or tablet gets monotonous over time. We need human interaction, and hence, it is a good idea to face-time or have a video call with your employees as often as you can. Also, to ensure that the learners are actively listening to the speaker, maintain a steady flow of interaction by asking questions and encouraging them to discuss concepts.
A lot of times, employees tend to be passive listeners while on video conferencing calls. There is no way for you to know whether they are able to comprehend all that is being spoken. So, keep the video training session interactive to engage the learners.
5. Conduct In-Person Training Once in a While
As we mentioned in the previous point, there has to be human interaction to maintain a good relationship with your employees. While it is agreeably difficult to get all your remote employees together often, you can have a meet-up once a quarter, where all the employees gather for a day or two of meetings and trainings. Managers can utilize this day to interact with everyone, share updates and announcements and maybe have a team activity to further engage with them. This opportunity can be used to brainstorm ideas, listen to suggestions, have an interactive training session with the whole team in attendance.
You need to put equal efforts in training your remote employees as you would for your in-office employees. Worldwide, the number of employees doing their work remotely is going up. As of 2018, 16% of global companies were fully remote. With businesses branching out far and wide, it is quite imperative to incorporate remote training program. This is especially beneficial for the sales team.
In order to deliver retail sales training to a remote workforce, enterprises must design the training materials in such a way that it answers all their queries, gives them all the necessary information and helps them enhance their skill-set.