A trend that has caught on in school and universities is ‘Flipping the Classroom’. It’s had great results in terms of improved grades and engagement amongst students. So what exactly is it?
The flipped classroom describes a reversal of traditional teaching where students gain first exposure to new material outside of class, usually via reading or lecture videos, and then class time is used to do the harder work of assimilating that knowledge through problem-solving, discussion or debates. (Vanderbilt University, Center for Teaching).
Can this technique be used in the corporate setting for Sales People?
There’s not always budget or time for traditional sales training, particularly when the goal is to reduce profit leakages or focus more on strategic accounts. So can we use this philosophy to improve sales effectiveness by focusing on something else?
As a Sales Coach, I’ve been trying hard to ‘Flip my Classroom’ for years by giving sales people pre-work before courses. Typically, this is e-learning or webinars and the reason for this is that when the delegates get into the classroom they will be using the new skills instead of learning about them. This means that this form of coaching is more likely to stick and the return for investment quickly realised.
Over the past few years, I’ve been trying a new tack by cutting back on training altogether and just performing deal reviews with our ‘students’ in the classroom. We take it in turns as a class of up to six delegates to analyse a deal. Typically we get through 3-4 deals in one day, but the more complex the deal the more time is required.
The positives are:
- The delegates leave with actionable improvements that they can apply immediately. Some apply them same day, for example phoning a contact to find out critical information.
- The deal is improved by having the expertise of multiple people, including internal and external perspectives.
- There is no theory at all, we dive straight into problem solving.
- Aside from a diagnostic, there is little design required, which reduces course costs. The facilitator just shows up with a toolkit.
- Everyone is engaged, leaving tired, but inspired from all the hard work.
The negatives are:
- The delegates can feel uncomfortable being under such close scrutiny in a group setting. The facilitator can turn the heat up or down depending on what is required.
- Not all issues get covered. If the issue, or skills gap, presents itself then it can be dealt with and the delegate will learn from that. But I’m big on having a list of skills that they need to master, and ensuring that we deliver on that whole list.
- It is amazing how many people arrive unprepared! One frequent challenge is to help sales people create a contact strategy but firstly, admit that they have been dealing with an account for months or years and know only one person at the account.
When there is no time or budget for sales training, flipping the classroom and just working on deals can be a great way to instill new skills and to get some actionable and measurable results immediately.
Salestrong now have another name for this: Growth Accelerator. It’s evolved and is a big deal for us now. Absolutely no pun intended.
It’s dynamic, hands-on and and designed to support new or “live” deal opportunities. In the last 2 years, we have seen over $150 million dollars in profit improvements with this programmatic approach and some great deals go across the line.
To discover more about how your teams can work on live deals with a 14% shorter sales cycle, give us a call on 01778 382733 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.