Virtual Sales Training: Adapting to the New Normal

Life in the glowing box: it’s our new normal. We’ve grown accustomed to remote work, virtual team building, and digital-first culture. Most sales organization leaders have accepted the fact that some training will be virtual. But should it all be? With that in mind, this article looks specifically at sales training and how companies have been forced to adapt. We also look at how things may evolve as we emerge from lockdown.

Key Takeaways

  • The shift to virtual sales training has posed several challenges but also offers numerous benefits, including flexibility and scalability.
  • COVID-19 has significantly impacted sales training methods, increasing the focus on digital skills and long-term adaptability.
  • Virtual selling is becoming a permanent change, with field sales teams increasingly adopting digital channels for customer engagement.
  • Adapting training techniques for the digital age involves utilizing roleplay, group coaching, and interactive learning tools to maintain engagement.
  • Data-driven sales training and the use of advanced technologies like virtual reality and learning management systems are essential for continuous improvement and personalized learning experiences.

The Shift to Virtual Sales Training

The transition to virtual training has been a significant change for many organizations. Virtual training has become essential as companies adapt to new ways of working and learning. This shift has brought about several challenges and opportunities for sales teams and trainers alike.

Impact of COVID-19 on Sales Training

The many disruptions that arose from the COVID-19 pandemic have led to an evolution in the way we work and the way we buy. Sales training may never be the same again as companies continue to strategize and adapt to new realities. Leaders have had to engage harder than ever to get the next generation of sales staff ready for the new style of sales that lies ahead.

Virtual Selling: A Permanent Change

The shift to virtual selling is not just a temporary adjustment but a permanent change in the sales process. Even before the pandemic, selling was moving to digital channels, but the “new normal” caused by COVID-19 has accelerated this transition. A recent Gartner study expects that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions will occur in digital channels. This shift necessitates a new set of virtual selling skills that sales professionals must adopt to remain competitive.

Adoption by Field Sales Teams

Field sales teams, traditionally reliant on face-to-face interactions, have had to adapt quickly to virtual selling. This transition has required a significant mindset shift, including the need to apply interpersonal skills in new ways and learn how to influence and persuade without the help of some of their senses. The evolution of virtual selling technology has finally met its moment, compressing what might have taken ten years to fully actualize into a matter of months.

Customer Engagement Online

Engaging customers online requires a different approach compared to traditional methods. Sales professionals must learn how to make a personal connection and build relationships virtually. This involves using top tools and techniques for creating the perfect virtual environment and delivering an engaging virtual sales presentation. Keeping a virtual call organized, especially when team selling, is also crucial for maintaining customer engagement.

Future Trends

The future of virtual selling looks promising, with continuous advancements in technology and digital transformation. Sales teams will need to stay updated with the latest trends and tools to maintain their competitive edge. The focus will be on enhancing virtual selling skills, leveraging analytics for personalized learning experiences, and continuously improving the sales process. As virtual selling becomes more ingrained in the sales culture, it will pave the way for new sales strategies and approaches, including consultative selling and inbound sales techniques.

Adapting Training Techniques for the Digital Age

In the digital age, training and coaching methods must evolve to meet the needs of remote and hybrid teams. This involves integrating new technologies and methodologies to ensure that sales representatives remain engaged and effective in their roles.

Challenges in Virtual Sales Training

Virtual sales training can be difficult for several reasons. For starters, it’s harder to get a feel for what sales reps are struggling with, it can be clunky to adjust existing programs to a virtual format, and of course, it’s tempting to succumb to a minimally viable approach to training, compile some materials, and click send. However, the switch to virtual sales training is an opportunity to move away from an over-reliance on direct observation and intuition-based teaching.

Identifying Struggles of Sales Reps

One of the primary challenges in virtual sales training is identifying the specific areas where sales reps need improvement. Without the benefit of in-person interaction, it becomes more difficult to gauge their struggles and provide timely feedback. This can lead to a lack of personalized support and hinder the overall effectiveness of the training program.

Adjusting to Virtual Formats

Adapting existing training programs to a virtual format can be a cumbersome process. Traditional training methods may not translate well to a digital environment, requiring significant adjustments to ensure that the content remains engaging and effective. Additionally, the pace of virtual instruction can vary, making the learning experience inconsistent for the salesforce.

Maintaining Engagement

Maintaining engagement during virtual sales training sessions is another significant challenge. Sales reps may find it difficult to stay focused during online sessions, especially if they are juggling multiple work-related priorities. The lack of physical presence can also lead to a sense of isolation, reducing the opportunities for peer interaction and collaborative learning. To address these issues, it is crucial to adopt digital solutions that enhance engagement and provide real-time feedback.

Data-Driven Sales Training

In today’s competitive market, leveraging data is essential for effective sales training. By utilizing analytics, organizations can gain valuable insights into the performance and needs of their sales team. This data-driven approach allows for the creation of personalized learning experiences that can significantly improve sales outcomes.

Leveraging Analytics

Analytics play a crucial role in modern sales training programs. By analyzing data from various sources, sales managers can identify patterns and trends that highlight areas for improvement. This enables the development of targeted training initiatives that address specific needs, ultimately enhancing the overall sales performance of the team.

Personalized Learning Experiences

A one-size-fits-all approach is no longer sufficient in today’s dynamic sales environment. Personalized learning experiences, driven by data, ensure that each sales rep receives the training they need to excel. This tailored approach not only helps in addressing individual weaknesses but also in building on existing sales skills, leading to a more competent and confident sales organization.

Continuous Improvement

Data-driven sales training courses are not a one-time event but an ongoing process. By continuously monitoring and analyzing performance data, sales leaders can make informed decisions about future training needs. This commitment to continuous improvement ensures that the sales team remains agile and capable of adapting to changing market conditions, ultimately driving sales success.

The Role of Technology in Sales Training

Technology-driven platforms enable salespeople to learn new skills and information at their speed by offering essential and interesting content that helps to enhance their capabilities. Addressing the challenges of virtual sales training will require digital solutions. When it comes to remote coaching, software is your new best friend. Adopt technology that helps you train your reps more efficiently and find the sales software that’s right for your training needs. Some criteria to keep in mind: look for a digital tool that offers real-time feedback, provides tailored analytics, and enhances engagement.

Evolving Buyer Priorities

Buyers’ priorities changed significantly in the wake of the digital transformation. Companies created specific training programs or adapted old ones to be delivered online. Here at The Selling Labs, we kept groups small and we tailored our sales consultancy for SMBs to ensure relevance and engagement.

Understanding New Buyer Needs

Prospects in the sales funnel were a long way from closing. And because of this, training had to adapt with an increased focus on servicing existing customer bases and building strong customer relations. The priority was to maintain a steady state.

Adapting Sales Strategies

Adopting virtual selling skills requires a mindset shift. You must:

  • Apply interpersonal skills in new ways
  • Learn how to influence and persuade without the help of some of your senses
  • Move at a faster pace
  • Get out of your comfort zone

With this new mindset, however, you’ll quickly build a more robust pipeline, increase sales productivity, and close deals faster.

Building Trust Virtually

Navigating a remote future will require boldness and reinvention. Don’t let being busy keep you from making vital changes. Test and experiment with what works for your team, and adjust your remote sales training strategy as needed.

The Future of Sales Training

The future of sales training will likely involve a blend of both virtual and in-person methods. Hybrid training models offer the flexibility to cater to diverse learning preferences and schedules. This approach ensures that sales teams can benefit from the best of both worlds, combining the convenience of online training with the effectiveness of face-to-face interactions.

Sales training programs must continuously evolve to keep pace with the rapidly changing business environment. This includes integrating new technologies, updating training materials, and regularly assessing the effectiveness of training methods. By staying adaptable, organizations can ensure their sales teams are always equipped with the latest skills and knowledge.

In an unpredictable world, it’s crucial for sales training programs to be resilient and adaptable. This means preparing for potential disruptions by having contingency plans in place and being ready to pivot quickly. Organizations that can swiftly adapt their training strategies will be better positioned to maintain their competitive edge, even in the face of unforeseen challenges.

Case Studies of Successful Virtual Training Programs

In this section, we explore various case studies that highlight the success of virtual sales training programs across different business sizes and industries. These examples provide valuable insights into how organizations can effectively transition to a virtual environment and achieve their training objectives.

Best Practices for Virtual Sales Training

In the era of virtual sales training, it is crucial to adopt best practices that ensure the effectiveness of your programs. These practices help in maintaining engagement, delivering relevant content, and achieving desired outcomes.


The shift to virtual sales training has been a significant adaptation for many organizations, driven by the necessity to continue operations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. As businesses have navigated this transition, they have discovered both challenges and opportunities in the virtual realm. The need for effective, engaging, and personalized training has never been more critical. As we move forward, it is clear that virtual sales training will remain an integral part of the sales landscape. Companies must continue to innovate and refine their approaches to ensure their sales teams are well-equipped to thrive in this new normal. The lessons learned during this period will undoubtedly shape the future of sales training, making it more resilient and adaptable to any unforeseen challenges ahead.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *