Effective Sales and Sales Software Training

A Different Kind of CRM

Continuum CRM changes the way you'll view customer relationship management tools in Senior Living. It goes beyond activity tracking for the Marketing & Sales department. It helps sales people manage relationships and marketers track campaigns. For managers and corporate team leaders, it’s a powerful data-driven machine capable of providing insights to achieve better budgeting and strategic measures.

Effective Sales and Sales Software Training

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Sales and Sales Software Training for Senior Living

I have delivered countless training sessions on sales and sales software for sales people.

When I first started as a sales trainer the only way to do training was to call all the attendees into an office and spend several days presenting concepts, doing breakout sessions, and having sales people practice new concepts. When I first started to include sales software training as a part of these sessions, we still had to bring everyone into an office and do the training in person.

With the introduction of the internet and tools like WebEx and GoToMeeting, it became possible to do these sessions remotely. In fact, most companies today prefer software training to be delivered this way to save time and money.

Recorded video training has also become very popular. It saves money and sales people can consume this type of training at a time that’s convenient.

As with most choices in life, all three types of these training options have their pluses and minuses. In this blog, I will discuss all three options plus a new option from Continuum CRM, our Online Learning Center.

On-Site Training

One would think that this is the best option for most companies and sales teams. If we’re talking about sales training, then I would wholeheartedly agree that this is the best way to go if you have the budget and time. For sales software training, this may not always be the best option.

I was recently teaching my six-year-old grandson how to cast a spinning reel. He had been watching fishing shows and was sure that he could do it on the first try. Of course, it took him a few tries and me telling him how to correct his mistakes before he was successful.

Sometimes there is no substitute for hands-on face-to-face training.

On the positive side: There is a lot of benefit that being face-to-face can bring to the training experience regardless as to whether it is sales training or software training. The sales person can ask questions and the trainer has a hands-on option to make sure the student gets the concept or procedure. Sales people, being social beings, will benefit greatly from other sales people’s questions and discussions with the trainer.

For many companies, there is also the benefit of having groups of sales people in the room together so that they can discuss real sales situations. I think this is especially true for Senior Living Sales.

On-site training is also great for giving feedback to the trainer and/or the software project team on what may need to be adjusted or added to the software configuration.

On the downside: The biggest negative is the cost. It is not only the cost of the trainer but it is also the cost to bring in all the sales people.

When trying to do on-site training for a sales software solution, I’ve found that there are usually one or two students that tend to slow the class down. This can be a serious problem if they just don’t get it and the trainer has to continually stop and show them how to do simple functions. This not only slows the whole class down but, it can cause some of the other students to lose interest and start making phone calls, or sending emails, or working on proposals, or even checking Facebook.

Some students will jump ahead when things slow down. As a result, they may miss important details.

Teaching sales people software in an on-site training class can be a lot like herding cats. With that in mind, there are some things you can do to help with these problems.

Make everyone turn off their phones. Do not let them have anything else open on their computer other than the software you’re training on. Give them lots of breaks and keep each session between breaks down to around one hour. If you have someone who isn’t getting it, try to help them during the breaks.

There is also another issue that happens a lot with on-site sales software training: one or more students may have issues with their PC. This can happen anywhere, but for some reason it seems to happen more when you’re on-site. Maybe it’s because they’re close to their IT staff and want to use the opportunity to improve the usability of their PC.

Web-Based Training

This has become the standard for most software training sessions. Web-based training is much less expensive and much less time consuming.

You can also get a lot of the team benefits from this approach, especially if the students already know each other. For sales training, I’ve never found web-based training to be less effective, unless you’re talking about refresher classes for concepts they should already know.

On the positive side: Low cost and no wasted time are the two big benefits to web-based training. With the ability to share screens, even if a student has a problem they can share their screen to get help from the trainer. As with on-site training, web-based training is great for being able to ask questions and give feedback.

On the downside: You can still have the one or two students who just don’t get it. While they’re less likely to slow everyone else down, they will tend to get totally lost and shut down. You may not even realize that they have shut down until after the training and you notice they aren’t using the software.

Recorded Video Training

This is by far the least expensive training you can provide for your sales people.

On the positive side: Cost is the biggest positive to recorded video training. In most cases, there is no cost from the provider to watch training videos, only the cost of the time spent watching them.

Sales people can also watch them at their convenience. They can rewind or watch the video again and again if they don’t understand something.

On the downside: Getting sales people to actually watch training videos is hard. I’m not talking about watching while they’re doing three other things. I’m talking about blocking out time where they do nothing but watch the training video.

Even if they do set aside the time and do nothing else while they are watching the video, their comprehension is far below an interactive session with a trainer and other students. The training videos normally cover general software functionality and do not cover custom configuration.

Another big downside is it’s all one sided. You can’t ask questions.

Online Learning Center

I think that this is the future of software training. This goes far beyond the recorded video training even though it does use video.

An Online Learning Center allows you to watch short focused video classes with a test at the end of each session. It allows your company to control when a student can move to the next class based on them being able to answer questions correctly from prerequisite classes.

Continuum CRM has developed such a system for its Senior Living CRM Software. This Online Learning Center is also directly connected to the knowledge base where the sales person can search the knowledge base or send a question to support.

On the positive side: This system allows the student to progress at their own rate but ensures that they can’t move forward without having a full understanding of prerequisite classes. While there is some cost, the cost is very low compared to on-site or web-based training.

Your company can not only adjust the prerequisites requirement, but can also add company specific materials. In other words, the training can take into account your company’s processes, procedures, and sales software configuration.

On the downside: It’s not live training.

While I’m really excited about Continuum’s Online Learning Center, I realize that one size doesn’t fit all Senior Living organizations. Most will use some combination of the four options.

Going back to my grandson spinning reel casting training, he used a combination of video and on-site training and now he can out-cast his PaPa.

If you’re in need of a CRM software application for your Senior Living organization that comes with multiple options for training, sign up for a Continuum CRM demo today.


Scott Farmer

Scott is one of the co-founders of Continuum CRM. In addition to being a US Navy Veteran, Scott is a seasoned sales professional who has more than 35 years of sales, sales management, and operations experience working at Westinghouse Electric, ABB, Invensys, Formation Systems and SFA Strategies.