|  By  
Ben Chang

Why an LMS Isn't Enough to Train Sales Reps

You already have a learning management system (LMS) in place. It’s loaded with relevant and detailed content for sales reps of every experience level. 

Does that mean your sales training is complete?

Probably not. An LMS offers plenty of benefits (58% of employees prefer to learn at their own pace and 72% of businesses say their platform gives them a competitive advantage).

But there are major disadvantages. 75% of managers say they’re dissatisfied with the programming their L&D departments provide. But it’s not for lack of trying. L&D departments work hard to craft content that will positively impact teams. The question is…is it enough? And are they using the right tools?

Here 7 reasons why it’s time to rethink your LMS:

1. Learning management systems go against neuroscience

Learning management systems support passive learning, but people don’t actually learn passively

The neuroscience of learning teaches us that we learn best when actively utilizing multiple areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus, which governs memory and spatial awareness. 

In order to learn, we can’t just watch. We must reach the highest levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy (a teaching framework): we must create, evaluate, analyze, and apply. 

“The industry standard is to watch a video and take a quiz. In my book, that’s the lowest form of learning. Getting people to practice and engage, that’s where the magic happens.”
- Daniel Craig, Director of Retail Training, Prime Communications (Largest AT&T retailer in the US)

2. An LMS isn’t customizable to a rep’s unique needs

61% of employees want individualized learning that addresses their unique skill gaps, but that’s not really possible with an LMS, which is designed to progress everyone through the same modules. 

Even if there is some sort of personalization in terms of choosing which module to interact with at the right time, the content itself can’t truly adapt to the individual. 

With Upduo, participants engage in adhoc, one-to-one training sessions and can ask their partner for help on a specific issue. For example, let’s say the prompt topic is handling sales objections. After unsuccessfully handling an objection that morning, a participant can ask their partner what they would’ve done differently. 

3. There’s no team building, collaboration, or live accountability

The lack of collaboration is a major downside.  LMS systems don’t help build a stronger, more connected, more ambitious company culture. Not only does this make information harder to retain, but it can also make the program experience feel really boring.  

Without any live accountability, it’s easy to zone out. But when reps are conversing with each other in real-time (the way they do in Upduo), they’ll have to pay attention. 

4. Every rep—regardless of their experience—should practice continually

In the late 19th century, German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus found through his studies of memory that if new information isn’t applied, we forget 75% of it within 6 days.

We need to practice new skills again and again in order to really learn them. With sales teams particularly, there’s a lot at stake. New sales reps can fail to activate and reach their quotas, while experienced sellers can plateau. 

Upduo, unlike an LMS, is designed for small, bite-sized practice sessions instead of info dumps and consumption binges. Partners pair up in real-time across the organization to practice a variety of skills together, based on prompts. And they don’t have to roleplay (a generally hated activity). They simply need to discuss ideas together, such as common upsell pairings or how to position your product against a popular competitor.

5. An LMS can’t be quickly updated for timely content

On top of not being designed for sales training, LMS systems are difficult to update. Most brands have a high standard set for the quality of their content, meaning it can take months to produce a single video. 

But sales is fast-paced. Reps need to stay up-to-date on the latest products, services, and special promotions. They need to practice them over and over to be confident in their ability to sell. 

LMS systems don’t offer speed or flexibility. With Upduo on the other hand, you can come up with a session prompt in minutes, roll it out, and measure results. More on that below. 

6. LMSs don’t drive measurable business results

Organizations with high-performing learning departments are 4 times more likely than organizations with average-performing L&D to use data to measure the impact of their programs. 

L&D departments need a platform where content can be quickly released to address any business goal—and then measured for its success in altering relevant metrics. It’s very hard to measure the impact of LMS content, and that’s partly because of its ineffectiveness.

This can be resolved. Let’s say you want to improve the sales numbers of new employees. With Upduo, you could create a sales practice session that pairs new employees with seasoned sellers. You can then compare the sales numbers of new employees in this pilot program to new employees who didn’t engage in a practice session with a mentor.

Employees who approve of their company’s learning opportunities are 21% less likely to have left their organization, meaning that, with the right training methods, you can positively impact turnover as well as sales metrics.

7. Learning professionals need interactive, science-based features that support innovation

The L&D function of any business should drive real innovation and organizational growth. But when L&D professionals are relying on LMSs, they’re confined to the limitations of that passive technology. 

L&D professionals deserve software that allows them to innovate creatively. LMS systems have evolved to include gamification features like badges and leaderboards, but these are just bandaids that can’t resolve the passivity and lack of whole-brain engagement. 

90% of high-performing learning departments engage in professional development, meaning they don’t just train others, but they make sure to keep learning themselves. Maybe it’s time to learn how to create more active training content.

By continuing to create new content for an LMS, you run the risk of applying the wrong tool for the job. You can create entertaining videos that capture attention, but without practice, true innovation is stalled. 

L&D pros need to upload their content to a platform that offers real-time connection and continuous practice. Your LMS can still be useful for company policies, technical training, and other content.  But it’s not up to par for forging excellent sellers.

If you’re interested in upskilling your sales team, check out Upduo.