Foster and Develop a Culture of Learning within Your Sales Team

Developing a culture of learning within your inside sales organization is no longer a “nice to have,” it is a requirement. In order to continue to develop a competitive edge, each member needs to develop their talents in order to increase the skill set of their trade. They also need to understand their customers, the industry your organization is focused on, and the competitive advantage and challenges your organization solves for your customers.

Having a framework in your organization for learning and development is key. It can help your employees stay committed to leveraging the resources your company has in place for their personal development.

Although learning should be a personal commitment, the company should foster an environment to promote learning and development. Below you will find some ideas implemented by most organizations.

TURN MANAGERS INTO COACHES. Many organizations have a designated group that is responsible for learning and development, largely the HR the apartment. Direct managers have an important responsibility in enabling each one of their team members. In order to achieve success, they need to take the time to speak with each member about their learning goals, as well as provide opportunities for learning.

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pele

CREATE MICRO LEARNING MOMENTS. Take every interaction with your team as an opportunity to learn something. Asking questions usually fosters creativity and thoughts. Short, micro-learning moments throughout the week are more impactful than large gatherings every six months.

LOOK AT YOUR METRICS TO IDENTIFY AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT. Your management dashboard should give you an important clue as to where the problem might be, and can give you opportunities to train, coach and reinforce. Provide guidance to the team members on those areas in which they need to improve and learn.

LEARNING PLAYGROUNDS. Create a workplace that provides an environment for learning. Invite your team members to tradeshows, industry events, seminars, podcasts, and reading clubs. Ask your team members to provide a summary of the lessons learned, and have them share with the rest of the group during your team meetings or company events. Challenge the team to implement one thing they’ve learned during the learning sessions.

PROVIDE FEEDBACK AND ASK QUESTIONS. What did you learn today? How can you apply the concepts to improve your sales? What can you share with your team today? Listen with intent to the answer you get from your team member. Ask questions for understanding and then provide feedback.

Source: Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching

LEAD THE LEARNING PROCESS. Looking at Vanderbilt University Bloom’s Taxonomy, managers and leaders can apply the following principles to help facilitate the learning of new concepts. They can help team members understand what has been learned, and most importantly help them to apply the concepts to the sales situations.

With increased competition and fight for talent, retention and development of new and existing team members is crucial. It is important for organizations, managers, and team members to promote a learning environment and share their experiences with the team. Every company has their unique culture. Those that thrive are organizations that instill learning in the hearts and minds of their employees, ultimately seeing employees as learners who develop themselves throughout their careers.