Tag Archives: employee training

Low-cost, peer-to-peer sales training ideas

How often does your sales team go through training? Once a quarter, every other month?

I recently came across a practical idea over at the B2B Lead Blog to train your sales team more frequently, without involving any additional costs or resources.

In the post, Lauren Kincke, Marketing and Sales Operations Manager at ReachForce, shared how frequent, peer-to-peer training has helped their sales team to reach and exceed their goals.

Here’s part of their story:

Our typical training regime used to be comprised solely of a full-day quarterly kickoff.  During that time we would run through a few “sales” skills specific sessions, some background on our industry, and a piece on what we do and how we do it (for newbies).   Part team-building, part skills training, it was an exhausting day and by the end of it some of our more ADD inclined employees had mentally checked out.  Recently we decided to make some changes.

First, instead of only hosting training sessions on a once a quarter basis, each of our weekly sales meetings would be host to a mini-session led by a sales rep.  Second, our quarterly sales training meeting would be shortened to a little over half a day.

During their weekly sales meetings, employees were assigned and presented topics ranging from overcoming customer objections, to managing your time effectively to advice on how to prepare for a first call.

There’s no set format for how employees can present the material. Some have found success using PowerPoint presentations and others have simply discussed the topics in front of the class.

“I can’t say that we’ve measured our results, but I can say that our reps have been able to put these things into practice as quickly as they are being taught.  One of the greatest things about this training is that it is led in a peer to peer setting.”

It’s an interesting training idea that gets everyone involved in the process. Apart from learning how to be more efficient at work, the peer-to-peer sales training strengthens the bonds between coworkers and improves engagement across the board.

Moreover, the training method helps businesses save money by eliminating the need to bring in outside training providers and lessening the time employees spend away from their work. When combined with a formal sales training program, the peer-to-peer method has the potential to bring success to almost any business.

Do you think a training method like this could work in you organization? What benefits does peer-to-peer sales training offer that traditional training can’t deliver?

Training programs shown the door during recession

The training industry is facing some serious challenges this year, with the shrinking corporate training market topping the list.

In 2009, training marketers face the greatest decline in corporate training spending in more than a decade. Here are some of the latest statistics from Workforce Management:

Average training expenditures per employee fell 11 percent in the past year, from $1,202 per learner in 2007 to $1,075 per learner in 2008, according to a report issued Friday, January 23, by research firm Bersin & Associates.

Bersin said its figures include training budgets and payroll. Bersin also said the U.S. corporate training market shrank from $58.5 billion in 2007 to $56.2 billion in 2008, the greatest decline in more than 10 years.

Another study released in November confirmed the old theory that training is one of the first victims when budget cuts strike. Almost half of corporate and government training professionals surveyed said their training budgets will decrease in 2009.

As they watch their budgets shrink, HR and corporate training professionals are looking for low-cost training options that can still get the job done without an expensive price tag.

The downturn is bringing new life to e-learning, where companies feel they’re getting the most bang for their buck. It’s easy to deliver and generally less expensive than traditional classroom training methods.

Learning experts are also watching a growing trend toward informal learning methods in which employees depend on managers and coworkers for training and on-the-job education. The trend includes using webinars, mentoring programs and brown-bag lunches to develop a strong learning culture and motivate employees.

While the recession is dropping a long list of challenges in our laps, it is up to us to decide how to attack each one. The face of corporate training is changing we’ll have to adapt right along with it.

Surprise, training budgets take a hit in economic downturn

It may not be much of a news flash to HR professionals, but a new survey has confirmed that employee training budgets are typically one of the first victims when budget cuts hit.

According to a new survey by learning-services firm Expertus, training is often cut during tough economic times. Almost half of the 84 corporate and government training professionals surveyed reported their training budgets will decrease over the next year.

Among the findings:

  • For 2009, more than twice as many respondents expect budget decreases rather than increases.
  • 48% of respondents expect decreased training budgets in the coming year, up from 41% in 2008.
  • Only 17% expect a training budget increase in 2009.

As HR and training professionals struggle to prove the importance of employee training to their organizations, they’re looking for more low-cost training options and moving to more e-learning platforms.

From the HR Executive Online article:

One of the ways companies are trying to leverage their limited training dollars is through e-learning, Leon says, where he is seeing an uptick in interest.

“E-learning is easy to deliver to folks all around the world,” Leon says, noting that it is a less expensive alternative to live training with an instructor and the obligatory morning doughnuts and coffee. .

A move toward e-learning was also a trend identified by a roundtable of training executives assembled by Expertus, following the completion of the firm’s recent training survey.

“One of the main trends they discussed was realigning training to match the company’s goals,” says Gordon L. Johnson, vice president of marketing for Expertus. “You no longer have the luxury of being comprehensive when it comes to training. You need to do things that increase revenue, decrease costs or improve relationships with customers. Otherwise it will get cut.”

As we enter 2009, more companies will be turning to low-cost employee training options as a way to get more bang for their buck. Do you think the training industry will see more of a trend toward e-learning and online training outlets?

Friday fun: Turkey Bowl 2008

Do you know what year the first Thanksgiving feast was held? Or, how fast a turkey can fly?

Then test your Thanksgiving knowledge in the Turkey Bowl 2008, the latest game from C3 Visuals. If you manage to pull in a top score, you’ll be entered to win BRAVO!, a new software package that helps you create engaging training games and presentations.

Online games like C3 Visuals’ Turkey Bowl, have the potential to go viral and create exciting online buzz about your company or new product release. A game like this is also a great way to harvest names and e-mails, especially when players want the notoriety of a top score.

For more training quiz shows or to learn how to make your own visit the C3 Visuals profile at TrainingTime.com.

Have fun and happy Friday!

Turkey Bowl 2008

Turkey Bowl 2008

Training humor: Safety video unveils winning Halloween costume idea

Because it’s Halloween, we would like to share with you one of the most entertaining safety training videos we’ve seen lately. Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo takes their safety training very seriously, so seriously that they will dress up in a rhino costume for the sake of employee education.

Many learn best by doing, but this experiential training may be offering more laughs than lessons learned. Wouldn’t it be great if all workplace emergency training was this much fun? Take a look for yourself …

Free webinar: Employee training in a recession

During a recession, businesses typically respond in a number of ways including widespread job cuts, reducing training opportunities and consolidating multiple jobs into one position.

Learn why training needs to remain at the top of your company’s priority list, and how you can squeeze the most benefit out of every training dollar during the free webinar, Squeezing the Most Out of Your Training Budget: Corporate Training in a Recession.

The value of employee training:

  • Better trained employees perform more efficiently, with less errors and delays
  • Employees taking on extra work catch up more quickly with proper training
  • Improved employee morale, confidence and loyalty
  • Well-trained employees are your best asset, especially during economic tough times.

Companies may think they’re saving money by slashing employee training budgets, but they’re causing more harm than anything. Avoid taking the “easy” way out and use this time to build upon your existing strengths with cost-effective employee training.

Led by experienced training professionals, you will learn:

  • Typical responses to a recession and how training suffers
  • The priceless value of training during a recession
  • How to find better training at less cost

Good, quality employee training doesn’t have to be expensive. Join us on Wednesday, October 15, 2008, at 1 p.m. EST for the free webinar – Squeezing the Most Out of Your Training Budget: Corporate Training in a Recession. Space is limited, reserve your seat now.

Follow ‘4-Hour Workweek’ principles, be more productive

In 2007, Tim Ferriss published The 4-Hour Workweek, an immediate best-seller outlining simple ways to be more productive and the secret to how he dropped the 9-to-5 and joined the “new rich.”

A popular misconception of Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek (4HWW) is that it is limited to top CEOs or successful entrepreneurs. But, the productivity-focused principles he follows and writes about can be used in almost any type of organization, large or small.

Several businesses in the Colorado Springs area began training employees on 4HWW. The training has led bosses to put more trust in employees, improved client relationships and increased productivity.

Read what one Colorado Springs CEO had to say about implementing 4HWW training in The Gazette:

“We’ve removed many of the normally accepted distractions that detract from productivity,” he said. “It’s not so easy to just pop your head into someone’s office for a ‘quick’ question. You start to see the true cost of those little interruptions, and you modify your approach. Our efficiency has increased, so we have been able to take on more work without adding employees.”

Another public company in Silicon Valley reinforces Ferriss’ productivity principles by listing them on a large board in a high-visibility area. Simply put, the board reminds employees to:

  • Focus on quality over quantity.
  • Check email only at three designated times during the day.
  • Never send email on evenings or weekends.
  • Focus on one to three activities each day.
  • Minimize chat and avoid multitasking.
  • Leave the office by 5:30 p.m. everyday, no excuses.

While all of us may never make it to a true 4-hour workweek, the productivity and time-saving principles that built Ferriss’ success can also make an impact on your career. He invites every business to give it a try, “it just takes some lateral thinking and a willingness to test small.”