Making the Pitch: Selling Your Executives on Virtual Learning (Part 1)

April 19, 2016 10:00 by Dana Peters

Companies today often have thousands of employees spread across multiple office locations and facilities. Business today is global.

In order to operate competitively and develop and retain top talent, more and more organizations are turning to virtual instructor-led training (vILT) programs to support their skills development needs and competency attainment goals.

Learning and Development Professionals probably understand the benefits of vILT, but how do you gain executive level support to sponsor your vILT programs? 

The answer to this question requires us to take off our learning and development hats for a moment and put on our sales hat.

What is your sales process for gaining executive level support?

Let’s look at a common five step sales model, and think about how it applies to our situation:

  1. Planning the Call. Spend time planning and preparing for those first conversations with the executive. Decide early on your approach, expected responses, and potential questions and challenges the executive may raise.
  2. Identifying Needs. Understand the problems your executive is trying to resolve, the goals they are working toward, or the projects they have on the horizon. Identifying the needs will help you understand (and later on the executive) how a vILT program can meet those needs. If you don’t understand your executive’s needs, how can you propose a solution?
  3. Presenting your Solution. Once you understand how you could help your executive, you are in a position to present your solution. Here is where you will want to demonstrate how vILT will solve their problem. (Part II of this post). Make sure you keep the conversation on track by focusing on what is important to the executive and how your vILT solutions resolves the needs discussed. Relevancy is key to success here. Be concise and stick with what matters most to your executive.
  4. Manage Feedback. Presenting the solution will start the process of receiving feedback from the executive. Feedback may come from either direction, positive or negative. If the feedback is positive: “This is great, what are the next steps?” move on to Step 5. If there are some objections or concerns: “I am not sure this type of training will truly be effective,” there is still some work to be done. If the feedback you receive is negative, start by digging in to the executive’s concerns to learn more about the need with questions. This may mean a return to Step 2.
  5. Gaining Commitment. The final part of the process is gaining commitment. We have to ask for it to get it. A simple step that is some times overlooked.

Our hope is that you will find this five step sales model to be a great starting point when planning your conversations to win over executives on your vILT solutions. This process will take some time and effort on your part, but by addressing the specific needs and concerns your executives are facing within the business, vILT can be showcased as a very appealing option. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post where we will explore several business needs that we commonly see our clients solve with their vILT programs.


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