5 Ways to Deliver Effective Sales Training in Your CRM

business people sitting around a table, talkingSales organizations are adapting to selling in turbulent times. They’re dealing with evergreen problems, like making quota and quickly onboarding new hires. At the same time, sales teams are dealing with new challenges, like the increasing expectations of buyers, the move to digital selling, and supply chain issues. It’s not easy; 69% of sales professionals say selling is harder now, according to Salesforce.

Training can help address many of these issues, but there’s an additional problem; time. Sales reps have extremely full days, and adding one more thing seems likely to take away from what really matters: selling. In fact, Salesforce found that in 2022, reps were only spending a quarter of their time on sales.

The answer to all of these problems may lie inside the platforms salespeople use most: customer relationship management (CRM) software.

Sales teams practically live in their CRMs. CRMs store information about leads, customer records, and notes about sales. Since salespeople spend so much time using this platform, it makes sense to deliver training through the CRM as well.

Why offer learning in the flow of work to sales teams?

Learning in the flow of work is a term coined by HR and L&D industry leader Josh Bersin in 2018. Rather than asking a learner to take time out from their job to attend learning, learning in the flow of work delivers that learning to them while they’re working.

In this case, rather than switching out of the CRM and into a separate platform, CRM-based learning keeps sales reps in one platform for both work and training. This keeps distractions to a minimum: studies show it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to a previous task after an interruption. If your sales rep “quickly checks TikTok” while waiting for a password confirmation for a learning platform, they may not get back to work for another 20 minutes.

For sales teams, for whom time is money, minimizing distractions is key, especially since many sales reps are still working from home, where distractions abound.

How to deliver effective sales training through the CRM

It’s not enough to simply insert any training into the CRM. Strong sales training should address the issues of your sales team, and work well within the CRM.

  1. Use micro-learning: Micro-learning serves up actionable chunks of learning right when employees need it. Your sales team is probably already doing this on their own. When they have a question, their first impulse may be to ask Alexa or Google, not consult the company’s training materials. By making searchable, quick, and relevant content available in the CRM, you make sure they’re getting the right information when they need it.
  2. Supplement coaching: Sales reps are hungry for one-on-one coaching from their managers; getting that personalized attention keeps sales professionals engaged and productive. However, sales reps aren’t always getting the coaching they need. However, they’re not always getting that attention. Salesforce found that only 26% of sales professionals get coaching weekly. While digital solutions can supplement coaching, just 53% of sales leaders are using those solutions. By using your CRM to supplement coaching, you’re more likely to improve engagement among reps.
  3. Use CRM data to design learning pathways: Because the CRM is so widely used, it’s often a single source of truth for sales data. The CRM contains data about reps’ performance, the number of sales won, and the sales activities your team’s been engaging in. By using that information, you can design learning pathways addressing the skills your team needs to succeed.
  4. Gamify, gamify, gamify: Gamification is a natural fit for sales training. Sales reps are competitive by nature, so using points or badges within the CRM can be an excellent way of motivating your team to take training. Your reps may not automatically want to take their modules, but a public leaderboard displayed on your CRM is likely to spur some salespeople to start learning.
  5. Use CRM-based learning as part of a strategy: Of course, your sales training shouldn’t only be based in the CRM. The learning you serve up in the CRM should be one piece of a larger learning strategy, backing up in-person instruction, onboarding, and annual sales training events. One of the reasons learning in the flow of work is so important is that it helps boost retention. Gartner finds that sales reps forget 70% of the information they learn within a week of training, and 87% will forget it within a month. By having that information available in the CRM, you can reinforce learning, and help your reps remember it long-term.

For remote workers, your CRM is the new watercooler

Remote work is the new normal for sales teams and customer service teams. According to Hubspot, only about one third of reps are working from an office. The rest are hybrid or working from home. The same goes for service agents.

The one thing most agents have in common is the software they’re using. Sixty-two percent of reps say all the departments in their organization are using the same CRM software. While opinions differ about whether the CRM is being used effectively, the CRM is the glue that binds teams together.

Sales teams also admit to being overwhelmed by the number of tools they’re already using at work. Salesforce found that sales teams use an average of 10 tools to close deals and 94% of sales organizations plan to address this by consolidating their tech stack over the next year. Delivering learning in your CRM eliminates an additional tool from that stack, while helping to upskill your team.