Last year, we wrote several posts on the positive impact that social learning and social media can have on workplace training.  But how could “going social” improve your company’s sales training plan?  Could social learning tools have a positive impact on your sales results? Our experience has shown that by fostering social learning, your company can create a culture of knowledge sharing and best practices development that will have a real impact on sales growth.  Here are some of our top tips for creating an effective social learning environment within your sales team:

1.  Improve onboarding by connecting new hires with mentors and other experienced staff members:   After all, there is a strong tie between successful onboarding and employee productivity and retention!  Since your younger staff members are accustomed to a highly-connected life style due to the prominence of social media, they are likely to benefit from opportunities to engage with their peers online throughout the learning process. Our recent blog post on social media in today’s workforce also highlighted a Cisco study that found that 1/3 of young employees prioritize social media policies over salary when choosing a job, and the numbers are growing every year. As a result, integrating social networking into your onboarding process could also help engage new employees as soon as they start.

2. Create opportunities for mobile, at-your-fingertips learning: Sales training often involves an annual meeting where a company flies in its reps at launch time to train them together on location. Sound familiar?  Enhance your training program to go above and beyond these last-minute sales meetings.  Ensure that team members have constant access to crucial information and can connect with one another from mobile devices, especially when they are on the road making sales calls.

3.  Don’t be afraid of social media: One of the top myths about informal learning is that it only serves as a liability for your company.  Though such concerns are legitimate, managing online learning through both policy and active monitoring is the best way to ensure that your sales team understands to directly align social media engagement with sales goals. Since your team is likely using social media anyway, it could serve as a highly effective tool for staying connected and sharing insights in real-time.  This may be especially true for younger employees, who view social media and social learning as an integral part of their daily lives.

4. Engage sales team members on salesforce.com:  One of the key themes in social learning is bringing training to your employees wherever they are.  If your sales team is already using salesforce.com, consider integrating training with Salesforce to keep your team up-to-date with the knowledge and skills needed to drive sales within the social enterprise.  Because we all know – Salesforce without sales training is a train wreck! What methods or tools is your company using to integrate social learning into sales training?  Consider solutions such as Blackboard Learn for Sales to enhance your sales impact, and be prepared to watch your sales team meet and exceed your 2012 sales goals!

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