We’re in the sales training business here at Rapid Learning Institute, so we think a lot – and I mean A LOT – about the best way to use technology to improve the skills of front-line salespeople.

We build our training around three key principles:

Short modules. We’re called Rapid Learning Institute for a reason. We started our business based on the idea that busy salespeople don’t have time to sit in front of a computer for 45 minutes to an hour to watch a training program. Their time is precious, and is best spent in front of customers. So we kept our training short – just 6 to 10 minutes per module.

A single transformative concept. But can you really teach something that matters in 6 to 10 minutes? We discovered that we could – but it meant leaving a lot of stuff at the door. We don’t try to cover everything there is to know about sales, or the Sales 101 topics that most reps already know. We decided to focus each module on a single, transformative topic – often based on research — that helps salespeople solve a real-world problem. For example: how to convince a buyer that they’re wrong, or what to say when you reach a prospect’s voice mail, or the best time to attempt an upsell.

Learning in the moment of need. This challenge proved to be the toughest one for us to crack. Users told us how they used the modules to help with an immediate challenge – just before a sales call, for example, or when they were putting together a presentation. The short-form, single-concept modules were ideal for that. But delivering them in the moment of need created a daunting technical challenge.

Moving to mobile
We launched RLI in 2008 – just one year after the original iPhone debuted. It was clear that we wanted salespeople to be able to access our training on mobile devices. But, like many of you, we quickly learned that mobile learning is easier said than done. Our modules ran in Flash. Apple doesn’t support Flash. Converting to HTML-5 posed its own set of problems. What worked on an iPhone didn’t render properly on an Android. And what ran on one Android phone didn’t always work with others. Then came iPads, Galaxys, Windows phones. Plus everything had to work with our learning management system (LMS). As well as those of our larger customers. What a mess.

I’m pleased to report that our technical gurus were finally able to sort it all out, and our Selling Essentials Quick Take modules can be viewed on mobile devices – Apple, Android, Windows. Phones, pads and everything in between. On our own platform or within your LMS.

The wizardry that makes this possible is beyond the understanding of a mere writer and editor like myself, but I’ve seen the future, and it works.

I bring all this up for two reasons:

One: I’d like to sell you a subscription to Selling Essentials. (No apologies; this is a blog about selling.) More precisely, I’d like to offer you a no-obligation trial so you can see the future for yourself.

Second, for those of you involved in training salespeople, I hope I’ve given you some food for thought about how to create training that works for a mobile-centric workforce. Long-form training just doesn’t work for them. We think it needs to be short, focused and practical.

Happy training.

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