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Hitting the High Notes: How Great Training Leads to More Sales & Better ROI

Does your sales enablement training hit the top 3 “high notes” needed for success? 

Summarizing an article published by eLearning Industry: sales enablement training preps your team for meaningful customer engagement, thereby, boosting consumer loyalty and overall satisfaction scores. They’re more likely to bring in repeat business and referrals if you help them make well-informed buying decisions leading to increased customer loyalty. 

The benefits of training should also lead to: 

  • Retain Top Performers 
  • Mitigate Compliance Risks 
  • Reduce Return Rates 
  • Improve Brand Image 


In short, effective training maximizes business goal KPIs.  However, traditional sales enablement training often falls short due to designs that miss the “high notes” in the art of designing effective blended learning programs that actually change behavior and produce measurable results. And yes, there is a true art to instructional design that bridges the gap between knowledge and performance.

High Note #1: Trust

The first “note” is gaining the trust of the learners.  Much like starting a diet and exercise routine, the participants must believe the tools and processes will work for them.  To establish that belief, training must be individualized and adapt to each learner’s needs by integrating 3 key concepts: relevance, individualization, and empathy.  

Read More: Pillar I for Transformational e-Learning Instructional Design: Context

Relevance can be achieved in two ways.  First, by having a meaningful context, and second, by having multiple learning paths responsive to learner-identified goals.  

Context refers to everything that surrounds and establishes meaning in a good interaction. It communicates to the learner how new skills relate to prior knowledge, the work or performance environment, and real life. It creates a platform on which challenges can be built and made compelling.  

Context provides the scaffolding to make sense of the various controls that empower the learner to engage in activities to meet the challenge. Context prepares a platform through which feedback and reference resources will naturally flow. Context should be designed as carefully as other Context Infographic PNG (1)components of interactivity, even though it is not uncommon to see
e-learning shoe-horned into a pre-existing template or standard shell without any regard for the content at hand.  

When we design context, we ask, “What world can we create that will engage the learner in interacting with these intended outcomes?” In answering that question, we often come up with a good idea for an interaction setting (for simplicity, I’ll refer to that as the IDEA), but then find that it falls flat somehow in its delivery. In truth, the context is more than just the IDEA—it is also necessary to decide specifically how it will be transferred to the learner’s mind.   


A fully developed context does more than just describe a scenario, the context simultaneously:  

  • establishes a visual style that creates memorable imagery and connections  
  • applies a narrative glue that will keep the learner’s attention and guide them through activities  
  • creates the framing environment that can impact the way the learner applies the new skills  
  • provides a particular communicative tone to the dialogue between learners and the learning solution. 


Learning paths can be either preset or dynamically created using a triage approach, that could incorporate an algorithm or even AI.  Alternate paths have the primary purpose of answering the question Why would I want to learn this? What’s in it for me? 

There’s a great difference between concluding the learning will be of personal benefit, such as advancing my career, making my work easier, or improving the quality of my work, versus learning because I have to, I was told to, or just to please someone else.  

We can’t assume people want to learn what is being taught at all or that they want to know for an appropriate reason. We also cannot simply tell people they should value the upcoming training; they need to see it responding to their needs and goals to trust the time and effort spent will be worth it.

Individualization is achieved not only by creating a self-paced learning environment but also by learning experiences that adapt to their present skills and needs. They spend more time actively practicing than passively being preached to. When uniform training presents the same content in the same way and order to all learners, the trust factor is significantly reduced. They suffer through content they don’t need or aren’t yet ready for.  By incorporating an effective instructional design strategy, such as CCAF, learners' experiences feel tailor-made. They attempt to solve authentic challenges, learning from failures and successes along the way. 

Empathy: Creating a Connection With Your Learners

Empathy is the most important component in gaining the trust that the instructional program is worth their time, effort, and involvement.  Are we checking in with the learners in a meaningful way and adapting to how they’re feeling about their experience?  Does our training teach learners their feelings aren’t important (because regardless of how they’re feeling, the same things are going to happen)?  Based on Bandura’s concept of self-efficacy, actual competency is achieved when the learner has the proper mindset.  If self-efficacy is too low, learners won’t engage and potentially give up and resort to familiar methods because they “know” they can’t do better than they are doing now.2023 Blog Covers and In-Line Graphics (52)  If self-efficacy is too high, learners expect to be bored by the training and won’t recognize the gaps/mistakes caused by doing things “their way.”  As stated by John Medina: “The brain remembers the emotional component of an experience better than any other aspect.” 

The truth is, if learners don’t feel right mentally and emotionally about themselves and the appropriateness of an instructional program, they will quickly discount the information and revert to behaviors that require no adjustment.  If you don’t trust a diet/exercise program, you either avoid it or try it half-heartedly and give up on it when any challenges appear. 

Read More: Learner Empathy Can Save Your Course Design »


Effective sales enablement training is crucial for achieving meaningful customer engagement and, subsequently, bolstering consumer loyalty and overall satisfaction. This training can lead to several benefits, including retaining top-performing employees, mitigating compliance risks, reducing return rates, and improving brand image. However, traditional sales enablement training often falls short due to its failure to address key aspects of instructional design that bridge the gap between knowledge and performance. One critical aspect is building trust among learners, achieved through personalized and empathetic training experiences that adapt to individual needs. The training should also provide relevance by establishing meaningful context and offering multiple learning paths to answer the "What's in it for me?" question. Ultimately, trust, individualization, and empathy play essential roles in ensuring that training programs result in changed behavior and measurable results, just as the art of effective instructional design intends.

Are You Ready to Take Your Sales Team to the Next Level?

For over 30 years, the world's most premiere companies have built award-winning training programs with Allen Interactions. Is yours next? Contact Us to discover how we've transformed sales teams, boosted ROI, and created measurable performance results.

Allen Interactions Named as Top Experiential Learning Technology Company by Training Industry
Hitting the High Notes Part 2: Making it Right

About Author

Steve Lee
Steve Lee

Steve Lee co-founded Allen Interactions with Dr. Michael Allen in 1993. With 25+ years of industry experience, Lee brings incredible talent and skills to the team with prior experience developing multiple large-scale military aviation e-Learning projects. He served as a college professor for 10 years, teaching and developing curriculum in hardware, gaming, networking (Cisco/A+, Network+, Security+) and information security. During that time, Lee also developed the Information Security Certificate Programs for the State of Colorado. Lee holds many positions within the Allen team including, but not limited to, Chief Delivery Officer, Strategic Relationship Manager, and Studio Executive.

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