Virtual sales training has become a popular choice for many companies. This option gives companies a wider range of coaches to choose from without concerns about distance.
While there are merits to both in-person and virtual sales training, one may be the better choice for your company. Here’s how they differ.
With in-person training, there’s a sense of togetherness and social interaction. People get to know each other, coaches take non-verbal cues from the group and adjust the training as needed. There’s also an emotional connection built over the training period.
In a virtual environment, the social connection can be more difficult to foster but not impossible. Coaches need to create small groups to work together, institute team challenges, and allow time for small talk to build more connections during breaks.
In-person training requires a lot of coordination and scheduling to ensure everyone is available at the right time. Coordinating schedules, especially with remote sales reps, can create additional challenges for your company when it comes to finding a training program.
Virtual training offers greater flexibility than traditional learning methods, even if it’s fairly structured. For teams that work asynchronously or remotely, virtual training gives them the option to work within their best time frame and continue to complete work tasks while training.
There are only so many options for in-person sales training, whether you bring a professional sales coach into your workplace or you attend seminars. In addition, these options may require travel and coordinating the entire team to attend.
With virtual training, you never have to worry about where or when the training takes place. Classes and training programs are asynchronous and allow sales reps to access resources at their convenience for an experience more conducive to learning.
Costs can vary with any training program, in-person or otherwise, but virtual training can be the most cost-effective type available.
Virtual training saves money on:
- Transportation costs: Flights, gas, and wear and tear on a vehicle to get sales reps or teams to a seminar or training session can add up. Virtual training requires no transportation for attendance and it uses the technology sales reps (or the company) already possess.
- Course costs: In-person classes and training sessions may be more expensive than virtual because of the added costs for operating buildings, parking, physical materials, and staff. Virtual learning eliminates a lot of the overhead, and by extension, the costs.
- Hotel or accommodation: If sales reps or teams have to travel for sales training, the costs can get expensive quickly. Aside from missing their work during the training period, sales reps will need accommodation for a seminar, conference, or out-of-town training. Virtual training can be conducted anywhere, relieving geographic and cost burdens.
In-person training keeps sales teams learning on the same timeline. Even if individual reps need more attention or development, the overall training period stays the same for the entire team. It may be more effective to train a team together as well, compared to letting them use self-paced courses.
Several reps can learn at the same pace online, but it’s difficult to monitor multiple reps simultaneously and ensure that they’re getting all they can out of the training. There’s less structure, which can be excellent in the right circumstances, but may not serve the needs of a company looking for more traditional training time frames.
Which Is Better for Your Solar Company?
There are pros and cons to in-person training and online learning. You should evaluate the advantages and disadvantages for your sales team and your goals.
For example, do you have a geographically distributed team? Do your reps work on flexible schedules, or do you keep normal office hours? Is your team in one location, or do you have a split between office reps and field reps? Do some reps need more in-depth training than others?
You should consider your team’s individual schedules, learning needs, and your resources before committing to a program. If you have a geographically distributed team, virtual training is best. If your team struggles to behave as a team and achieve common goals, the camaraderie of in-person training may be ideal.
Build Your Best Sales Team
Whether you choose virtual training, in-person training, or a combination of the two, sales training is a necessary component of building morale, developing trust, and motivating a sales team to succeed.