January 22, 2021
By Selling Power Editors

Selling Power asked a dozen sales training industry experts the following question:

How can sales leaders create successful virtual sales training and/or coaching initiatives in 2021. What advice, tip, or best-practice strategy can you share to help them plan for success?

Their expert insight is below.

  • Richard Barkey
    CEO and Founder

    If 2021 sees a gradual return to in-person selling, use your first in-person sales meeting to rebuild momentum and re-emphasize coaching – but also give guidance on when to keep selling virtually. Our research shows that only 25% of salespeople use virtual approaches well, so provide (virtual) training in mastering virtual presence. As the economic impact of the pandemic takes hold, refresh skills in account management, customer success, building momentum, stakeholder management, and alleviating customer risk.”

    Areas of Expertise
    • Sales and virtual selling
    • Account management
    • Negotiation
    • Customer experience
    • Customer success
    • Sales management and coaching

    Imparta is a global leader in training and performance improvement for customer-facing teams. The 3D Advantage® curriculum develops a wide range of high-impact, research-based skills across sales, service, and customer success. Its modular, multi-format structure allows easy tailoring to roles and support for genuine, ongoing organizational change.

  • David Bauders

    First, focus on training that will produce the greatest business impact. Next, build training around a common challenge your sellers face. Like qualification. When sellers chase poorly qualified opportunities, they waste time on bad fits – and under-serve best fits. Focus on your key constraint. Provide a concise lesson on how to resolve the problem. Model good and bad responses. Encourage the group to record short videos modeling effective approaches. Engage the crowd. Seek 20% lesson, 80% crowd-source.”

    Areas of Expertise
    • Full-cycle consultative selling
    • Negotiation
    • Relationship building
    • Sales coaching

    SPARXiQ provides truly unique training on the critical sales skills that differentiate top performers from the rest in today’s modern marketplace. Providing Hollywood-quality video training content paired with engagement exercises and learning support, SPARXiQ offers virtual sales training that is as impactful as it is enjoyable.

  • Tony Ennis
    Vice President of Business Development

    Many factors contribute to successful virtual sales training. First and foremost, ensure any training is aligned with the broader goals and direction of the organization. From there, focus on minimizing distraction and disengagement – they are threats to virtual training success. Create an active learning experience that promotes a strong sense of engagement by keeping class sizes small, limiting the length of sessions, and ensuring Web cams are on throughout the session.”

    Areas of Expertise
    • IMPAX NxtGen™ selling and account management
    • Virtual selling
    • Sales management and leadership training
    • Sales coaching
    • Sales skills programs

    IMPAX is a global sales performance acceleration company focused on helping value-leading B2B organizations increase success and drive results. Through partnership, expertise, and a robust offering of digital, virtual, face-to-face, and blended sales training solutions, we support customers looking to adopt a value-based, next-generation approach to sales and customer management.

  • Andrea Grodnitzky
    Chief Marketing Officer
    Richardson Sales Performance

    Creating an effective virtual sales training initiative means doing four things. First, training sessions must be shorter, but more frequent so learners can apply new skills to in-pursuit opportunities. Second, trainers must make learning interactive through the use of polling, role play, and breakout groups. Third, training groups must be kept small to keep engagement high. Fourth, organizations must incorporate virtual sales training into their curriculum now as this mode of interfacing with customers normalizes.”

    Areas of Expertise
    • Consultative selling
    • Solution selling
    • Sales process consulting
    • Developmental sales coaching
    • Major account planning
    • Digital learning platform

    Richardson Sales Performance is the global leader in sales training and performance improvement. We drive accelerated growth by simplifying and solving the sales growth equation. From ensuring your sales managers are executing the right activities to equipping your sales team to drive a buyer-aligned sales process with exceptional skills and strategies, we will guide your sales organization through a digitally enabled performance journey that excites, engages, and reveals impact.

  • Rene Groeneveld
    Global Head of Sales and Marketing Practice

    Simplify, simplify, simplify. Deploy short, targeted sprints aligned to the flow of work. In a virtual environment, it’s critical to build competence one building block at a time – so choose topics per month or quarter that will produce lasting effects. For each sprint, incorporate a variety of training modalities (micro-learning, self-paced, virtually facilitated), intentional/detailed on-the-job application guides, and topic-specific coaching. The journey to sales excellence starts one step at a time.”

    Areas of Expertise
    • Change and transformation
    • Leadership development
    • Sales and marketing
    • Assessments for talent selection and development
    • Business acumen and innovation skill building
    • Coaching as a practical tool to shift mindsets and turn strategy into action

    BTS is a global professional services firm that enables strategy execution. We provide the skills, tools, and knowledge so people understand how their daily work impacts business results. We are experts in behavior change and inspire people to do the best work of their lives. It’s strategy made personal.

  • Shannon Holmes
    DoubleDigit Sales

    With everything going on in the world today, helping your team build skills to drive success is more important than ever. My advice is to start now. Think about training as an ongoing initiative rather than a one-time event. Virtual platforms allow the flexibility to provide bite-sized learning over time, so your team can absorb and apply their learning between each session. These multiple touchpoints promote accountability – and accountability leads to results.”

    Areas of Expertise
    • Sales culture diagnostic
    • Practical sales management
    • Virtual sales manager playbook
    • Insight selling
    • Consultative selling skills
    • Story selling

    DoubleDigit Sales helps salespeople, sales managers, and executives perform significantly better to achieve double-digit growth. We leverage a streamlined design process to deliver customized learning experiences that change behaviors and drive improved sales results. Doing our job right means our clients can apply their learning the very next day.

  • Nick Kane
    Managing Partner
    Janek Performance Group

    Virtual sales training should be designed to deliver short and impactful learning bursts with clear objectives and messaging going into the training. Each training session shouldn’t exceed three to four hours max per day. To keep the audience engaged, the curriculum needs to leave room for discussion, role-play activities, and other interactive gamification that gives attendees a break from just listening to a presentation, and instead requires them to actively participate virtually.”

    Areas of Expertise
    • Sales training
    • Sales consulting
    • Sales coaching
    • Sales transformation/change management
    • Selling virtually
    • Inside sales

    Our mission is to improve the sales performance of companies and individuals based on our research of how top performers sell. Whether it’s one of our award-winning, customizable, and field-tested sales training, coaching, and reinforcement programs or our sales consulting expertise, we offer a complete suite of sales performance solutions. Learn more about Janek Performance Group.

  • We need to redesign and enhance training delivery for the virtual world – not try to simply mimic the in-person learning experience. Space out the learning to provide opportunities for real-world application between sessions. Create opportunities for learners to collaborate and solve real-life sales challenges. Include short videos, self-study, live cohort sessions, group activities, social interaction, gamification, and completion badges. These blended programs show the best levels of engagement, satisfaction, and completion rates.”

    Areas of Expertise
    • Comprehensive selling skills
    • Virtual selling skills
    • Value-driven selling
    • Value-driven negotiating
    • High-impact sales coaching
    • High-impact sales manager

    Sales Readiness Group (SRG) is an industry-leading sales training company. Our mission is to help improve sales teams’ performance by providing customized, skills-based training programs that produce sustainable behavior change. Our solutions include comprehensive sales training, sales coaching, and sales management programs.

  • Headshot of Jeff Seeley

    The key to successful virtual training initiatives is to use digital tools to create personal, engaging experiences. Don’t fall into the trap of offering uninspired, off-the-shelf virtual training – viewing it as a stand-in until we can gather again. Virtual training is not the backup plan; it is the plan now. 2021 will bring more distance for leaders and their teams, so we must find ways to use digital tools to enhance training initiatives.”

    Areas of Expertise
    • Virtual training
    • Sales training
    • Leadership training
    • Customer service training

    For nearly 45 years, Carew International has been a leading provider of sales training and professional development programs for leadership and customer service. Carew built its reputation for delivering dramatic bottom-line results with training programs that provide a dynamic, interactive, and unique learning experience proven to drive lasting performance improvement.

  • Dave Shaby
    Chief Operating Officer
    RAIN Group

    Traditional training often uses instructor-led time to teach and then practice a concept – and this teaching typically consumes a fair amount of ‘live’ time. With virtual sales training, there’s an opportunity to do much of the concept introduction and knowledge transfer before the session. This allows the virtual instructor-led session to focus on application, practice, and feedback. Then, when followed up with application assignments and coaching between the sessions, sellers quickly adopt and effectively apply new skills.”

    Areas of Expertise
    • Consultative selling
    • Virtual selling
    • Sales management and coaching
    • Strategic account management/key account management
    • Sales prospecting
    • Sales negotiation

    RAIN Group is a global sales training company delivering award-winning results through in-person and virtual sales training, coaching, and reinforcement. We’ve helped hundreds of thousands of professionals, managers, and sales leaders significantly increase their sales results. We help organizations:
    • Develop and improve sales strategy, process, messaging, and talent
    • Enhance sales capability through world-class sales education
    • Design and execute strategic account management initiatives
    • Increase effectiveness of sales management and coaching

  • Headshot of Tom Stanfill
    Tom Stanfill
    Founding Partner and CEO
    ASLAN Training & Development, LLC

    Success in 2021 will be determined by two factors. First and foremost, get serious about encouraging your reps to be other-centered. Self-centered reps, who aren’t seen as ‘essential,’ won’t survive. Secondly, good is no longer good enough. Virtual selling is exposing reps who lean too heavily on the inherent value of their solution and not their ability to sell. To thrive, sellers must learn the advanced skills to selling without all the props.”

    Areas of Expertise
    • Sales leadership development
    • Sales leadership coaching app
    • Change the way you sell
    • Selling in a virtual world
    • Leveraging technology to sell
    • Self-paced sales training

    Our commitment is to help organizations “bridge the gap” in their sales force execution. We focus on improving sales organizations by delivering competency and skill development programs virtually. Our experience of serving others first has proven to create the greatest positive behavior change in both the professional and personal life of our participants. Learn more about ASLAN Training & Development, LLC.

  • Headshot of Julie Thomas
    Julie Thomas
    President and CEO
    ValueSelling Associates

    Look for the root cause of your sales performance or productivity issues. That will guide you toward the right solutions and behavior changes. Successful virtual sales training requires interactivity and engagement with skill-based activities. The biggest fallacy about training is that people learn when we talk. Instead, they learn when they do.”

    Areas of Expertise
    • ValueSelling Framework
    • Vortex Prospecting
    • Competitive differentiation
    • ValueSelling account planning
    • Coaching the ValueSelling Framework/Vortex Prospecting

    ValueSelling Associates is the creator of the ValueSelling Framework®, the practical and proven sales methodology preferred by sales executives around the globe. Increase your sales productivity and realize immediate revenue growth through our customized training, reinforcement, and consulting. At ValueSelling, we keep it simple and drive results.