With so much information available online, B2B buyers are much further along in their buying journey before making contact with a salesperson.
There’s a lot of pressure on corporate training organizations to include virtual reality (VR) in their training. In Part I of this series, we will distinguish between virtual experiences and VR in training. Then we’ll illustrate when VR’s a great fit in training, and what to do when it’s not.
Experiential learning in 3D worlds is an exciting, highly effective way for learners to practice skills through virtual experience. As described in Part I, your learning goals should determine which technology you choose in order to create those virtual experiences.
What’s the difference between tactical and strategic sales performance initiatives?
Tactical initiatives typically solve pressing needs, such industry updates, breaking news on the competition, or the latest product information.
Strategic initiatives maximize the significant investments made by an organization in training, sales processes, and coaching. Strategic needs lurk below the radar and often go unnoticed, yet when strategic needs are addressed, they can create significant performance gains for the company.
Here we will explore three strategic needs to improve sales performance. They are hard to solve, and I will describe how new technology offers a promising solution to all three.
Dr. Britt Andreatta, a learning and leadership development expert and author of The Neuroscience of Learning, emphasizes that professional learning can be broken down into three phases: Learn, Remember, and Do. She also asserts that learning programs should focus more on the “Do” phase since that is what makes the learning stick – where competence and behavior change occurs.
This message resonates in continuing medical education (CME), where the goal is to effectively change the competency and behavior of physicians based on new medical evidence. In CME, the “Do” phase means delivering educational opportunities for physicians to personally practice applying the “Learned” information in realistic situations, so that they’ll “Remember” it.
The Virtual Coach
Every trainer out there – including me! – is trying to battle the forgetting curve. We spend hours and hours training new hires – only to have them forget everything we’ve taught them.
Yeah, frustrating, I know.
Because few employees are able to transfer this new learning to their jobs, there’s no behavior change. And behavior change is what we are trying to achieve.
What separates top performers from average performers? Top performers apply knowledge optimally in diverse situations AND they have developed a very important skill: Situational Decision Making.
Learning and training does not end with acquiring knowledge, but with its successful application in real-world settings. How do we achieve this? Learners need to practice how and when to apply what they know – before they forget it! Fortunately, exciting virtual learning environments can be assembled into a platform to uniquely accomplish this important task.
This article was published in e-Learning Industry on January 11, 2018 (link here)
Learn how to use virtual game technology to enable your learners to practice in realistic situations and more rapidly learn optimal decision making. A 4-step process is described to create an effective, scalable, digital learning solution to improve performance using 3D game technology.
Do you want to add immersive learning technologies to your training solutions? These technologies are not one-size-fits-all, and it’s not always clear what is practical and effective for specific learning goals. Here’s a fun little exercise to illustrate the differences. Ready?
How do we know what we know? It’s because we construct mental models that interrelate information in a sensible way, that we can test and refine with our experience. Learning requires that we assemble a new mental model, or integrate it into one we already have. These models can be completely wrong, flawed, suboptimal; or emulate the mental models of experts. Yikes! It seems we should care about mental models!
The mental models a learner constructs can directly impact the rate at which they achieve optimal performance, if at all. Let’s dive in...
Want to know a great way to squander a sales opportunity? Let your salespeople practice proper sales techniques and good decision-making, in front of prospects. Yes, you can teach salespeople in a classroom, or through meeting-style role-plays, but is your sales training and sales process translating into real performance gains? These common problems stem from the same source — and there is a solution.
Great performance requires great coaching. Sales is no different. It’s a situational-thinking game.
Optimal performance requires both practice and expert coaching from those who’ve mastered your sales processes. We all know this, but acting on it isn’t easy: Setting up one-on-one, expert sales coaching is difficult, and expensive to scale. And sales managers often lack the aptitude to be great coaches.
Technology can help! We’re not proposing a mad scientist’s experiment to clone your best sales coaches here... the real solution is better! There is a realistic, optimal coaching strategy that can be implemented in a scalable way.
As our mothers often say, “practice makes perfect.” Where do you practice in your sales organization?
Practicing through role-plays, with a sales trainer in a classroom, or on a field ride is fine — but it’s out of context: not in the actual selling environment. Speaking of that, how much time does a sales trainer really get with a sales person, coaching in the field? The answer often is: “Way too little.”
So practically speaking, where are your sales people practicing? They probably spend far too much time practicing in front of your company’s real prospects, resulting in slower ramp-up times and lost sales. Let’s not do this!
We need to build safe, scalable environments where sales people can practice and make mistakes, without the fear of losing a deal.
Of course, the sales team wants your training program to impact sales. But is your sales training program designed to improve sales performance? Certainly you’re inclined to answer “absolutely.” It’s your job, after all.
The real question is, are you using the right learning tools to make it happen?
Humans are still the best pattern-recognition machines on the planet! (At least for now.) Yes, we have suffered losses to man-made machine, in Jeopardy, chess, and recently the game Go. But we recognize complex patterns in everyday life and transform them into actionable steps, in ways that machines cannot. What’s our secret? Cognitive Flexibility. This trait allows us to diagnose, design, and problem-solve in highly unstructured situations where “rules” do not yet exist.
So, if we humans are so good at this cognitive flexibility thing, how can we use it to develop more effective skill acquisition programs?
Think for a moment about someone you know that is an expert at something. They could be great at their job, defusing conflicts, or managing their health. Now think about how they do it, and how you would build a program to help others achieve better performance in that area. Pretty challenging, right? Why is it so hard?
Does realism really matter in a skill acquisition program? The short answer is... yes.
Let’s start by examining two cognitive science concepts that provide the underpinnings for why experiential realism can improve your skill acquisition programs.
Why do so many e-learning programs focus on acquiring knowledge and then afterwards, expect learners to use it in practical situations on their own? That’s like offering a course on flying a plane and then expecting learners to climb into a plane and take off.
What’s missing? Well, it’s an enormously important part of the learning process: skill acquisition. We need to create programs that help learners apply knowledge in fluid, real-world situations, and make more optimal decisions. This skill-building process – the flight simulator – is the critical part!