It’s no secret that sales training – and, let’s be honest, workplace training in general – can be dry, dusty and dull.
Tell your salespeople that you’ve enrolled them in a new training programme and you’ll most likely be met with frowns, sighs and tuts. “Do I have to?” you’ll hear. “The last one was so boring…”
But the thing is, sales training doesn’t have to be dull. Learning new things is always going to be mind-numbingly tedious if the focus is on sitting quietly, cramming knowledge into your noggin and regurgitating facts. But just imagine if you swap the focus and instead work on creating fun training, with entertaining scenarios, enjoyable quizzes and game-based learning techniques…
Let me tell you about Bensons for Beds, the UK’s largest bed retailer and part of Steinhoff UK Retail Limited, which also includes UK furniture brands Harveys and Cargo. Bensons was suffering with high attrition rates, high training costs and was making a double-digit million pound loss. Not the best situation to be in, in an already tumultuous economy.
There were 5 goals that Bensons needed to achieve to secure its future: staff engagement and motivation; consistent standards and improved performance; streamlined business and cost reduction; better branding and customer recognition; and clear and consistent channels of communication and development opportunities.
After realising that what they’d been doing so far wasn’t producing the results they needed, they created Bensons Academy – an online learning portal (aka Learning Management System) that focused on making things ‘fun’.
Bensons Academy is feature-heavy with gamification, which means using points, badges, leaderboards and ‘levelling up’ to make the learning experience more entertaining and enjoyable. The Academy is chock-full of exceptional accredited sales training content from the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management as well as home-grown documents, videos and bespoke eLearning modules.
And what has Bensons Academy achieved? Well, it’s pretty breathtaking, actually.
As Noel Jolly, Head of HR for Steinhoff Retail, says: “We’ve had 1,000 people working their way through the system. We’re now approaching 13,000 logins, which means that people want to do it. The investment is minimal compared to the performance increase. It’s also been about engaging learners. Yes, it’s paid for itself, yes, it’s made the business successful, but most importantly it’s made the staff engaged and happy!”
If that’s not enough to convince you of the benefits of putting fun back into sales training, here are some more awesome stats to set your hearts racing:
- The Academy cut the attrition rate from 51% to 23%, which equates to a 450 fewer people moving on each year
- Training those extra 450 people would cost £3,000 to £6,000 per year, meaning a saving of £1,350,000 minimum every year
- A conservative estimate is that Bensons Academy will save an extra £500,000 in training costs per year
- The higher the salesperson’s rank on the Academy leaderboard, the better their performance on the shop floor – a clear indicator that engaging with their online training platform has real-life benefits.
There are many ways to put the ‘fun’ back into sales training: gamified Learning Management Systems, gamified eLearning modules, even gamified classroom events can help to create a more fun, enjoyable and engaging atmosphere for learners.
There’s no reason why, in this age of technology, your salespeople have to put up with deadly dull training that turns them into zombie learners; dribbling wrecks that simply go through the motions without properly engaging with the training content. Now is the time to take a stand against boring sales training. Repeat after me: “Let’s make sales training fun!”
By Juliette Denny, Managing Director of Growth Engineering, the award-winning Learning Technologies company which created Bensons Academy. Find out more about how to make learning fun by clicking here.