How Training Fuels Adaptivity For Sales, Service, & Extended Enterprise

Learning is the ladder from mediocrity to adaptivity, and the best companies have already started climbing. Today, the only sure thing that companies can “plan for” is needing to be adaptive. It’s somewhat paradoxical – being prepared to be reactive – but it’s the true “new norm” and a perfectly fitting challenge for what may be the strangest period in modern history.

Adaptivity Is The New Planning: Training Is At Its Core
Learn tips to gain a competitive edge and overcome emerging challenges with an adaptive business strategy fueled by online training.

Why L&D Should Never Be Set In Stone

It used to be that being proactive was seen as an unquestioned positive, if not the only way to operate. Every department in the company needed its one, two, perhaps three-year plan carved in stone and ceremoniously handed up to the C-suite for its blessing. Now, however, companies are seeing the benefits of being able to be reactive, in the sense of being prepared to make fast moves based on event-based, often exterior, circumstances.

This is not to say companies won’t have plans. Of course, they will. It just means that flexibility will be baked into the plan. Old ideas of a rather predictable world are gone. Notions of walled off businesses (much less countries or entire economies) unaffected by global events – those are gone. Thinking that employees will magically adapt to new expectations, situations, and roles without formal guidance and support – those are gone.

Specific to the learning program, preparations can be made to deepen readiness and resilience in employees, as well as in the extended enterprise. Keep in mind that critical learning paths aren’t just about the hard skills of a job. Mental health and emotional well-being have never been more front-of-mind for learning leaders, as they try to maintain workforces who may be more isolated than usual, more stressed with family and fiscal responsibilities, or more worried about what the future holds.

1. Training Adaptive Sales Teams

Salespeople often must turn on a dime even in the dullest of times. As the need for greater adaptivity increases, they’ll need additional training to feel confident in meeting customer needs, navigating a new or changed workplace, or managing performance-based stress or pressure.

Make it easy to stay ahead of new or changing products

Don’t let salespeople get caught off guard when it comes to a fast-moving business. When creating in-house content on products and services, rely on the LMS to assign and track courses in real time. No one should fall behind when training activities can be centrally managed and when sales managers can see the progress of every member of the team.

Continue to develop universal sales skills and techniques

Sales can be a lifelong learning process and even seasoned pros need to brush up on their skills. For this type of content, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel when you can take advantage of off-the-shelf sales courses professionally developed to improve key capabilities such as presenting, objection handling, effective questioning, or closing the deal.

Highlight the importance of soft skills for sales success

A salesperson is usually the first human connection your customer has to your company. Since first impressions set the tone for customer relationships, adaptive salespeople must be trained to be strong listeners, communicators, collaborators, and empaths. Ongoing soft skills training will give salespeople the know-how to build rapport and earn the trust that leads to signed contracts.

2. Training Adaptive Service Teams

Customer service and support people are inherently among the most agile in the organization. The flexibility required to respond to each unique customer’s problem is in itself an act of great adaptivity. Still, you can offer training to make their jobs less stressful, more efficient, and more satisfying.

Streamline access to training in the flow of work

Service agents are often singularly focused on client interactions and shouldn’t have to waste time switching to a separate learning system every time they can squeeze in a micro-learning burst. Make it easier and more efficient by pulling the learning technology into their most-used service platform. They’ll take more training, more quickly when it’s right before their eyes.

Nurture skill development and career progression

Adaptive customer service agents must feel supported in their ability to perform their jobs. Performance coaching and feedback go a long way to retain workers in this notoriously high-turnover role, as does offering learning paths toward management or promotion. Providing skills training in specific areas such as mastering positive language, active listening, and tools for greater patience will increase job performance and satisfaction.

Support stress management, health, and well-being

Dealing with customer issues day-in and day-out can be a massive drain on agents’ moods and emotional well-being. Be sure to extend opportunities for service agents to train on stress management techniques and other mindfulness practices, in order to reduce frustration and burnout in these valuable workers. Underscore the importance of these courses even more during busy seasons and times of crisis or disruption.

3. Training an Adaptive Extended Enterprise

Your partners likely serve multiple companies (not just yours) and must juggle priorities to keep their customers and their service partner organizations happy. Keeping all these parties satisfied requires a great deal of adaptivity on a normal day, but in this “new normal,” an even higher level of training is needed to ensure they feel connected, clear on responsibilities, and current on changes.

Encourage anytime, anywhere connections and updates

Make sure partners, contractors, freelancers, and suppliers never feel out of the loop. A centralized learning platform should make it just as easy for people outside the company to access training and information anytime and on any device. In times of crisis, it’s essential to assure the extended enterprise that the business is operating, inform them of any changes in the flow of business, and train immediately to meet new requirements or expectations.

Deepen loyalty and commitment to the long-term business

Even as changes occur, adaptive learning cultures can bring partners deeper into the business by offering tiered learning paths that award certifications or other designations for completing training levels. Adaptivity training may include business continuity courses and instructions for how to proceed if sudden changes must be implemented. They’ll appreciate being included as essential contributors to the company’s overall success.

Support communication, collaboration, and feedback

Your partners surely have ideas on how your business transactions and relationship can flow with greater agility. Be sure to offer courses meant to stimulate new ideas – rather than presenting an “our way or the highway” approach. Collect feedback through the LMS on what training is working and what needs improvement. Suggestions on more adaptive interactions will always be welcome!

Discover How Training Fuels Adaptivity In A Post-Pandemic World

Uncertainty poses a tremendous challenge for strategy making. That’s because traditional approaches to strategy — though often seen as the answer to change and uncertainty — actually assume a relatively stable and predictable world. An adaptive learning approach can help you ride the tides of change and overcome emerging challenges.

Download the eBook Adaptivity Is The New Planning: Training Is At Its Core to learn how to launch a flexible online training strategy in the New Normal.

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