How to Integrate VR Performance Learning Strategies in Your Sales Training

Virtual reality (VR) can create a realistic environment that gives sales reps greater access to different skills and learning experiences.

Training Magazine

The global pandemic brought about a shift in the business landscape, with companies moving to remote and hybrid work environments to keep up with safety precautions. As a result, human resources (HR) managers and recruiters had to adopt technologies that would support virtual interviews and onboarding training processes.

Research shows that 89 percent of HR departments have confirmed adopting virtual recruitment methods. The majority of these companies are looking for innovative ways to strengthen their virtual onboarding process.

The good news is this shift accelerated the use of interactive technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) learning environments. Even though virtual recruitment and training practices existed before, it is safe to say that it owes its rapid rise to the pandemic as well. We’ll explore how companies can use VR technology to conduct employee training and boost productivity in a remote hiring environment while minimizing the risks.

Why are performance learning strategies important?

In sales and marketing, there are numerous benefits to diversifying content types for customers and employees. Training is no different, and studies show that active learning that enables trainees to engage using all five senses has been proven to be more effective than passive learning techniques such as PowerPoint presentations.

People can learn, practice, and remember information more easily when applying their knowledge to practical problems and engaging with diverse content. Hands-on training and role-playing in particular can help your employees understand customers better and interact with them effectively to improve sales.

Virtual recruitment has been a major challenge for companies, especially since the pandemic hit. According to a recent survey conducted by the FreshBooks Communications and Research team, only 21 percent of surveyed business owners said they had enough staff to keep their businesses running at normal levels. One of the significant drawbacks that employees face with virtual recruitment is the lack of training to navigate different business scenarios independently. In addition, if they have little or late access to feedback from their managers or hiring team, it’s difficult to incorporate the feedback to improve.

Consequently, companies and HR leaders are now looking for more interactive environments to improve candidate and employee training. One of the best ways to incorporate such learning methods in your organization is to adopt virtual reality technologies. From onboarding and training to understanding customer preferences, VR environments can provide employees the room to experiment with different skill sets and learn more effectively.

How can you improve sales training through VR?

Provide immersive experiences

Since VR environments put employees in more realistic scenarios to practice their skills, it makes for a more authentic experience without making them go to a physical space. This also decreases the cost of physical training sessions, making it easy for both trainees and employers to participate in sessions at their convenience.

Immersive experiences also make it easy for trainees to practice in a risk-free environment. For example, training in the construction industry can be dangerous because workers cannot work or practice in real construction environments. A virtual environment is therefore ideal for upskilling a highly trained and proficient workforce.

Better retention of skills

Practicing skills in a virtual environment means having a hands-on experience with different scenarios instead of listening to passive lectures with no room for implementation. Virtual environments also enable employees to stay more focused and motivated. Because it involves an active learning experience, virtual environments can improve skills retention and help employees to remember information better.

Instant feedback

VR environments use gamified elements suitable to the company’s environment and the prospective job role, helping employees practice their skills in imaginary situations. For example, when it comes to sales, employees have to deal with different types of customers.

Fictional scenarios enable them to practice their sales pitches on different clients and allow managers to provide instant feedback if they make mistakes. This immediacy of results helps employees adapt better to different situations and sharpen their critical thinking and risk-taking skills.

Important considerations for VR training

Here are some precautions you should take if you plan on incorporating virtual reality in your training environments.

Avoid virtual fatigue

Timing is of the essence when it comes to training in a virtual environment. Especially if you’re new to the tech world, wearing a headset for hours can be a disorienting experience. Although there have been developments in hardware in recent years, prolonged use of VR headsets can cause dizziness and, at worse, brain damage.

It is advisable to keep training sessions short and to the point. Bite-sized training sessions are ideal as they can also improve information retention. As with any online learning, if employees are training for several sessions in a day, make sure to practice digital wellness strategies like taking ample breaks.

Take necessary safety precautions

VR is still relatively a new environment to practice in, so not all employees will initially feel comfortable. This is why it is essential to give clear guidelines to your employees regarding the use of VR and provide simple training exercises to help them understand the applications of VR headsets.

Since virtual headsets can transfer you to an imaginary world, users can feel dizzy, light-headed, and sick after use. Therefore, it is essential to take proper precautions and inform users about these issues. Also, remember that VR means you are oblivious to your surroundings in the real world, so make sure there are no sharp objects or tripping hazards lying around.

Consider security issues

There are many new attack vectors associated with remote work, and virtual communication technology is one of them. While VR holds immense possibilities for companies to improve their training environments, it also poses a significant risk for malicious attackers to take advantage of users’ IDs, fingerprints, and audio scans.

Deep fakes are among the most common threats with virtual technologies, where attackers can scan users’ faces and voices to act as an imposter and steal company information. Companies using virtual training solutions must take VR security risks into consideration and do everything in their power to protect user privacy.

Wrapping up

VR training technologies can create a realistic environment that gives sales reps much greater access to different skills and learning experiences that would have otherwise been impossible. Virtual reality has numerous benefits across industries for keeping trainees engaged and turning them into more active learners. As more companies strive to adapt virtual technology, we can expect sales teams to rapidly enhance their productivity and performance.

Nahla Davies
Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting her work full time to technical writing, she served as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.