Having created effective training programs for medical device sales representatives for over 25 years, we've seen that training methods are not one-size-fits-all. Each audience is different in terms of current knowledge, learning styles, and how they will use the knowledge gained during training. Any good instructional designer will start by evaluating these variations in order to choose the training methods that will produce the desired results.
Here are some important points to keep in mind when creating training for sales representatives:
5 Things to Know About Training Sales Representatives
- Sales representatives are driven by goals.
- Sales representatives don’t want to search. They want answers right away.
- Sales representatives prefer to squeeze training into their busy days without disruption to their schedule.
- Sales representatives like interaction.
- Sales representatives like tips and stories that can help improve their success.
In our experience, there are also some commonalities among most medical device sales training scenarios. First, knowing the product inside and out is critical to sales success. Second, multi-day sales events are ineffective because there is simply too much information to retain. Third, most of the true talent development happens in the field when a sales manager can coach a sales representative through real- life sales scenarios.
Rooted in these commonalities, here are some rules to consider when creating sales training:
4 Rules for Effective Sales Training
- Utilize eLearning as much as possible
Sales professionals’ days are crammed with sales calls and frequent travel. An eLearning option accommodates any schedule or time zone and allows them to train whenever it is convenient. Because eLearning is accessible 24/7, sales representatives can revisit the training as much as needed to refresh their product knowledge.
- Break training into 15 minute modules
A report by Sales Performance International shows that on average, 50% of the content learned at a sales training event is lost in 5 weeks. Breaking up content into 15-minute modules containing only one or two topics makes it easier to stay engaged and aids retention.
- Include Knowledge Checks at the end of modules
Rather than waiting until all training content has been covered to test understanding, include a quick Knowledge Check assessment at the end of each module to reinforce the key takeaways and make sure sales representatives "get it." One to three questions is often sufficient.
- Make training interactive to increase engagement and learning
When sales representatives don't engage in training, they do not learn and therefore do not change their behavior. To increase engagement and learning, include as much interactivity in your training as possible, such as simulations, exercises, video, role plays, and case studies.
Field training is effective for sales representatives because it's relevant, interactive, and timely. Deliver interactive field scenarios in live training or eLearning so that both new and seasoned sales representatives receive more practice and learning.
Interested in learning more about how to select the best training option for your audience?
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