Live training exercises provide a realistic facet that can’t be duplicated by rote-learning or computer-based training. During live training, the participants experience emotional elements such as diverse personalities and negotiation. Live learning events bring information and insight to life, improving understanding and reinforcing retention of concepts.
A Real-World Problem
Executives of three separate companies that would be jointly selling a new service product were concerned that their sales teams would drift into channel conflict, wasting valuable time and resources. The Executives sought some means of jointly training their sales teams so each team would understand how their individual activities contributed to the overall success of the program.
Sales management from the three sales organizations were interviewed to identify the sales stage process that each entity followed, and the differences in sales activities between each company. These interviews also revealed product knowledge weaknesses in each organization that were creating both low confidence and delays in advancing sales opportunities. And the interviews provided insight into customer stakeholders, their issues and how the adoption of the product would address each stakeholder’s issues.
- Key stakeholder personas were constructed that included background, concerns, objections, and relationship to other stakeholders
- Using the input from sales management a narrative script was created to guide sales discussions during the simulation to uncover information that would advance sales progress
- Simulation facilitators were trained to play the roles of key stakeholders, providing answers to questions that the sales teams raised and recording sales team performance for post-simulation “lessons learned”
The simulation concluded with an open discussion where each team shared insights gained, open questions, proposed solutions and next actions.
The live simulation enabled the individual sales teams to interact in a safe environment that emulated the real world. Sales teams dynamically developed the “big picture” by working together in the simulation as they would need to do in the field. To help maintain the momentum generated during the sales simulation, a working group was created with sales management of each company participating, and further web-based sales training courses were delivered to expand and reinforce the training.