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The Right Tool for the Job? How to Accelerate Sales Performance through Skill Acquisition.

Sep 27, 2017 2:46:13 PM


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?

Two Sets of Learning Tools

Sales professionals need to know certain things to succeed: the product, the sales process, customer pain points, and the like. But does this information increase sales performance? Yes and No. Is it required to improve sales performance? Yes! Does it move the needle in sales? Not that much. 

The reason is that there are two kinds of learning.

Knowledge Acquisition. Known also as “traditional learning,” knowledge acquisition is absorption of concepts, ideas, and facts.

Skill Acquisition. Skill acquisition is the ability to apply knowledge in a realistic situation. It’s the practical application of knowledge that’s demonstrated confidently, and eventually honed to optimal performance and sales mastery.


Both traditional learning and skill acquisition are necessary to sales training, but require different methodologies to accelerate sales. eLearning, or even didactic lectures with reinforcement, are effective as knowledge acquisition tools, but impractical and ineffective for skill acquisition.



Only Skill Acquisition Improves Sales Performance.

Until your reps have an opportunity to put the knowledge they’ve learned to the test in real-world situations, you won’t see any improvement in sales performance.

If you want to improve sales performance, focus on skill acquisition. How can we do that in training situations? By tapping into the power of cognitive science learning methods. Let’s briefly discuss two here:

  1. Learn by Doing. Experiential Learning shows us that creating authentic virtual experiences can translate to real-world behaviors.
  2. Realistic Situations. A key premise of Situated Cognition is that the context of the learning situation must be similar to how the knowledge is applied in actual practice.


Implement A Skill Acquisition Program and Increase Sales Velocity.

To implement in a sales context, a training program needs to set up realistic practice calls and role-playing situations. Sales people can then use them to master when and how to apply new techniques, the sales process, or explore changes in their belief system. By implementing these principles, we are setting up the learning environment for skill mastery…and eventually, sales mastery.

In our next post, we’ll discuss how to use this ideal environment for practicing skills to improve sales performance.


About Syandus: Virtual immersive learning technology that transforms knowledge into real-world performance. We immerse participants in realistic virtual situations with one-on-one expert coaching that gives them experience making optimal decisions. Syandus Learning Modules combine cognitive science principles, the realism of game technology, and our customer’s proprietary content, to deliver rapid skill acquisition. Modules are cloud-based for easy deployment, fully trackable with embedded analytics, and can be used on any web-enabled device.

Topics: Sales Training

Douglas Seifert, PhD

Written by Douglas Seifert, PhD

Doug leads a team at Syandus that combines cognitive science with virtual game technology to create rapid skill acquisition. The company has won several awards from the National Science Foundation’s Education Division.