Free Your Employees of Memory Failure

Wondering why your salespeople keep floundering when it comes to closing a deal? They can’t answer simple questions that their prospects ask, or they neglect to mention key product features, or they make mistakes in proposals that cost your company real money–even days or mere hours after participating in an intensive training seminar. As a result, they come across as incompetent, scaring away a perfectly good prospect.

Why does this keep happening?

The forgetting curve

Meet the forgetting curve: The proven concept that knowledge retention drops precipitously after it is acquired. While the vast majority of information can be recited immediately after it is taught, within 20 minutes, just 58% is typically retained. A month later, students remember less than a quarter of what they’ve been taught.

Memory, by its nature, is faulty. We can hard-wire a few crucial details–addresses, phone numbers, and the lyrics to “Blank Space” (gee thanks, Brain!)–but try to remember what you had for lunch last week, or the name of that marketing manager you spent 20 minutes talking to last month at a conference, and you’ll likely draw, well, a blank.

Beat the brain at its own game

Short of embedding a “Black Mirror”-esque memory chip into your head, it’s impossible to keep all of the facts and figures your reps need to close a sale in their memory at all times. Adding in more classroom training sessions just sucks time away from actually making sales, and won’t give them any extra advantages.

Instead of trying to cram more knowledge in, sales reps can accept that they’ll forget, and instead make the most of their pseudo-brains: their mobile devices.

An IDC survey found that 77% of executives already use their smartphones to research business-related topics. But that’s not always an ideal solution: Online information can be outdated, inaccurate, or generally off-brand.

Mobile devices can be crucial tools to aid your sales team’s failing memories and help them quickly surface relevant facts and figures with the flick of a finger. But the answers should come from your corporate knowledge bank, not from Google.

A “just-in-time” knowledge solution

Savvy companies are transitioning from paper training manuals and PDFs to mobile-based content platforms that provide their sales reps with just-in-time access to sales training information.

Under this model, sales reps don’t need to stress about remembering specific details in advance of a meeting: They can look up data that applies to each specific use case exactly when they need it.

If your rep is meeting with a manufacturer to discuss a new piece of equipment, for instance, she can look up the specific product features that will be most relevant to how the factory would be using the equipment. She can also pull up case studies that showcase other examples of clients using the product successfully in similar industries. While she may not have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the product, that’s not what your prospect cares about–he’ll want to know what specific value it can provide to his business. And that’s exactly what just-in-time content can effectively illustrate.

Make it personal

Today’s prospects don’t want a scripted pitch: They want a chance to engage with your sales rep and have a genuine conversation. They want to understand your solution and how it could meet their needs.

The fact is, memory is overrated. While having a good memory didn’t rank in the character traits of top-performing salespeople, curiosity did. When your sales reps are able to use their natural curiosity to seek out relevant information when they need it, and use it to connect with prospects, they’ll far surpass their classroom-bound peers.

It’s impossible for sales reps to memorize data about how your products or solutions could be used across dozens of industries. But it is possible to collect that data in a mobile learning tool, and make it easily accessible to your sales team at the point of need. When your reps are adept at seeking the information they need, they can respond intuitively, with on-tap knowledge to back them up. That results in better engagement with prospects, and, as a result, a higher closure rate.

Stop forcing your reps to memorize facts and figures, and free up mental energy so that they’ll feel empowered to forge genuine connections with their prospects. With mobile learning tools, you can enable your team to remember less–and use their brains more.