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Sales training … sitting in a room for hours listening to a powerpoint-based presentation that you will have forgotten a week later… at best. Traditional sales training certainly doesn’t have sales reps sitting at the edge of their seats, and it’s no secret that it has its pitfalls... lack of engagement, costly, non-scalable, and unsustainable... to name a few.  

Now more than ever, with buying behaviors dramatically shifting over the past year and a half, sales training has never needed more attention. In 2017 alone, organizations worldwide spent over $2.54 billion on sales training. That number is only growing as we’re seeing more reluctant buyers due to increased decision friction leading to longer than usual deal cycles. 

It’s safe to say that selling isn’t as easy as before, meaning current sales strategies and tools may not be adequate enough if companies want to gain a competitive edge in this challenging post-Covid business environment. Sales teams need to change their approach and improve their soft skills to engage potential clients better.

One thing is clear - traditional sales enablement is no longer enough if companies want to close deals successfully in the new world.

So how can organizations win sales training in the new world? How can they develop a winning soft skill training course?

 

What’s in this post?

  1. Developing soft skills: the secret to closing deals
  2. Pitfalls of current sales training initiatives
  3. Training with AI: What effective soft-skill training looks like today
  4. Retorio's AI-video simulation training platform 

 

Developing soft skills: The secret to closing deals

People do business with people they like; we buy from those we connect with. The bottom line is, that sales is essentially a battle of connecting with the prospect. 

"The proportion of companies addressing empathy and interpersonal skills has doubled since the pandemic."

And if we boil things down, the key to that lies in soft skills training. That’s right. It’s not about how big the companies were that they worked for in the past, or about how long they’ve been in the industry. A good sales rep has the ability to empathize with the prospect, build a relationship of trust and communicate effectively - they carry A-game soft skills. 

In fact, a Deloitte Access Economics Study predicts that two-thirds of all jobs in Australia will rely on soft skills by 2030. That’s why organizations are investing in soft skills training to stay competitive, alongside diversity efforts to empower teams and continue delivering ongoing value for the business.

Hard Skills

Soft Skills

> Technical knowledge  > Relationship-building skills
> Job-specific skills > Ability to collaborate well 
> Presentation skills > Active listening

 

Pitfalls of current soft skills training initiatives:

As learning and development (L&D) leaders have recognized the need to grow their training initiatives, many organizations have invested in various e-learning platforms as well as increased budgets for soft skill training methods. 

More employers plan to increase learning and development investments in 2022 despite the pandemic, continuing an upward trend, according to a survey of nearly 300 HR professionals by software marketplace Capterra.

However, both e-learning platforms and more traditional, in-person training methods aren't without their limitations, particularly when it comes to soft skills training.

Pitfalls of e-learning platforms for soft skills training: 

  • E-learning training programs are passive, lacking interactivity that keeps trainees engaged.
  • They don't provide the opportunity to put learnings into practice and perfect real-life job situations.
  • They can't provide tailored feedback.

 

Pitfalls of only using in-person soft skills training:

  • They tend to be costly (flying trainers in, organizing spaces, etc.).

  • Flying in trainers and organizing workshops is very time-intensive.

  • Workshops are usually one-off events and thus are neither scalable nor sustainable.

Training with AI: What effective soft skills training looks like today 

The post-pandemic business environment has instilled in us that we cannot rely on old, known methods to survive in the new, unpredictable environment - this includes new ways of training those vital soft skills we previously talked about, with soft skills training.

So how are L&D leaders keeping up the pace of self-development for sales reps, and establishing soft skills training courses to develop their sales reps' capabilities to thrive in the 'new world'? 

According to the 2022 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report, L&D leaders are doing this by embracing transformation and understanding the opportunities that we have, particularly as the pandemic has sped up digital transformation so dramatically.  So it’s no surprise that L&D experts are turning to recent AI simulation technology which focuses heavily on agent skill mastery to elevate their soft skills training programs.

So, how exactly is AI-based soft skills training effective? 

Value adds of using AI Soft Skills Training

  • Interactive video simulations means users are actually engaged
    No more wasting time and money on passive soft skills training sessions that employees aren't motivated for. AI platforms like the one of Retorio lets employees perfect their skills with highly interactive real-world scenarios.
  • It's scalable - the training program grows as your company grows
    Unlimited scalability of customized training means your training can grow as your company grows.
  • Goodbye to lengthy onboarding processes
    Scalable, interpersonal simulations and job role-plays make it possible to ramp up times for training new and existing employees.
  • Real feedback, in real-time.
    The AI provides immediate feedback for trainees so they can understand on the spot where to improve.
  • Train when you need, make mistakes, and improve at your own pace.
    Build a peak-performing team by creating the opportunity for employees to perfect their skills regularly with ongoing analysis and feedback.

 

Retorio's AI-video simulation soft skills training platform 

The shifting work environment is keeping up the pace of self-development for individuals in the pursuit to thrive in the competitive ‘new world’. These areas of training all have one overarching foundation, which is that they all require high levels of soft skills - essentially soft skills training.

whyretorio_big5

That is why more and more companies are turning to AI-based soft skills training platforms, such as Retorio, to help their sales staff train and grow their soft skills without limitations. 

Retorio's AI platform combines video analysis with role-plays of client simulations to offer interactive soft skills training solutions for customer-facing roles, such as sales and consulting., etc. Their clients, including one of Germany's biggest automotive manufacturers, use Retorio to scale up their soft skills training programs, as well as coach their sales teams. 

Want to learn more about how Retorio's AI training platform can change the game in soft skill training your sales reps? Click the button below!

Use AI to your advantage

FAQ about Retorio's Training Platform:

 

1. How does Retorio's AI work?

Retorio works with a video-based Artificial Intelligence system that supports human intuition. Our technology is based on one of the most well-researched personality taxonomies, the so-called Big5 (or OCEAN) model, which has been validated as a reliable predictor of personality and job performance.

whyretorio_big5

 

Our AI quantifies the behavior that participants of Retorio's assessment show in short video recordings; their facial expressions, gesture, language, and voice in order to derive a perceived personality prediction, meaning that our AI predicts how your candidates and their behavior would be perceived by a representative set of people.

 

2. How does the training platform work?

 

Product explanation

 

In the training overview, you’ll find all information necessary.

Firstly, you have a short introduction to the training, which gives you the underlying concepts of things you will learn in this training. Further, you will find the reason why this training will help you in your everyday work life.

The “What you’ll learn” section precisely shows you actions that are important in dealing with the client scenarios. Those are actions that you will be able to apply after you successfully finished the scenarios.

Lastly, you have the list of training scenarios. Choose from the virtual clients and “Start” interacting with them. If you already finished a scenario, the “See results” button will lead you to your prior results. If you want to improve your score, click on the “Do again” button to start another try. No worries, old results will still be visible to you even if you redo a scenario!

References

1. Sales is essentially a battle of connecting with the prospect

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Briah

Written by Briah

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