Don’t leave sales results behind.

How to Train Salespeople Using Microlearning

If one thing is clear from the experience we have in designing incentive programs, it’s that one-size-NEVER-fits-all. Clients are always looking for that magic equation that will guarantee success…and boy, are there a lot of them. Here are some we’ve used to drive sales motivation using incentive rewards.

POP QUIZ – which formula is correct?

  1. Motivation = Communications x Training x Reward
  2. Performance = Ability x Preparation x Effort x Will
  3. Motivational Force (MF) = Expectancy x Instrumentality x Valence
  4. Performance = Ability x Motivation
  5. Effort = Drive x Habit x Incentive
  6. Performance = Ability x Motivation x Organizational Support

The real answer is, they are all right.

So, if this is the case, why are so many incentive programs poorly designed? It might be because they focus on the end results, rather than the process it takes to get there. How often do you see sales incentive or channel loyalty programs where an announcement is made and the rules simply state – “Achieve X and Earn Y.” That’s it. Full stop.

Most programs simply jump to rewarding results, with little thought about how to make sure their audience can actually drive results. They don’t address the way adults learn best and apply knowledge.

So, how DO adults learn and apply knowledge, you ask?

In today’s hyper-distracted environment, everyone is competing for a finite amount of attention. Marketers to consumers, employers to employees, manufacturers to distributors, businesses to customers – it’s a widespread challenge. How many times have you heard the phrase, “we need to break through the clutter”? And, it doesn’t just apply to advertising anymore. Clutter is everywhere and it’s distracting everyone.

Luckily, the concept of microlearning is still effective. There are even stats to prove it:

  • Microlearning improves knowledge transfer by 17%. – Journal of Applied Psychology
  • 94% of L&D professionals said that e-learners prefer short-form content. – Rapid Learning Institute
  • 58% of employees would be more likely to use their company’s Learning Management System (LMS) if it incorporated multiple, shorter lessons (micro-lessons).  – Software Advice Survey
Microlearning stats


So, how do you reward microlearning? With micro-points, of course! See how we approach the design of a typical sales incentive or channel loyalty program using microlearning and micro-points.

Create Awareness Using Microlearning

People need to know the “why” before they commit (based on some assumptions in the Andragogy theory). Award micro-points as participants gather the foundational groundwork of the program. Does the audience know about the program? Do they know what your goals are? Do they have a reason to interact with the program? How do you get them to discover the awards, the rules, how to set goals, etc.? Most programs launch – and 12 months later, they’re over. Nothing but a few standings reports in the middle. You need to create awareness of the program, how it works, and why it works.

Knowledge Through Microlearning

Knowledge is key to removing the fear of doing anything new. Make sure your program tackles this head-on. You probably have all the assets in your LMS. You just need to drop some of it into your incentive platform to keep it top of mind during the promotion. Award micro-points as micro-lessons are completed. Does the audience know what to do to be successful? If they don’t know the product being promoted, they can’t really sell it? If they are unaware of how to submit sales on the internet, can they acquire any meaningful awards?

Applying and Rewarding Learning

Getting people to apply knowledge is the single biggest failure in most training and development programs. Your platform should enable the tracking and rewarding of knowledge application. Can you reward your audience for “steps to the sale”? Can you reward your audience for applying the learning material you’ve spent money on? Can you track the application? You should.

Big Sales Results

The last step in the performance chain is results. Once your audience is aware of the program, understands the rules, knows what they are selling, and applies that knowledge, then you reward them for the results. This is the last step, not the first.

So, we’ve established there’s no one-size-fits-all formula to delivering big sales results, but if you use micro-points to reward microlearning, you’ll start feeling more confident. Soon enough, your topline will grow, too.

How to train salespeople: Micro-points for results

Talk to us about designing a sales incentive today.