Digital and Soft Skills Training: Future-Proofing Your Company

4 Minutes

Discover the significance of communication and technology skills in today's workplace. Learn how soft skills and digital training can future-proof your business.

The world of technology is constantly changing. Advancements are taking place at a dramatic rate, meaning the digital landscape is almost unrecognisable when compared to its state even a few years ago. Whilst digital skills training can help your employees to navigate the new roles and software that are revolutionising the workplace, it’s the soft skills training they receive that will enable them to build relationships and convert prospects into customers.

As the old maxim goes, “people buy people”. Tech knowledge alone won’t suffice in the current landscape—your salespeople have to understand your product or service through-and-through, and also possess the expertise to communicate that knowledge with leads. When your teams blend digital and soft skills training, they’ll be able to clearly and concisely customers’ questions and address their pain points without confusing them.

It’s these soft skills that enable your sales team to think creatively, solve problems, and negotiate—a game changer for business resilience, particularly within dynamic and rapid-paced technology sectors such as software-as-a-service (SaaS).

This guide explores why today’s workplace challenges require staff that possess competencies in communication and technology. We discuss the importance of soft skills training and digital skills training and how they’re both able to benefit your business, with a focus on five key areas that will impact business resilience in 2023 and beyond.

The Workplace Challenges of Today Require Innovative Solutions

Whilst developers and engineers are the ones to typically capture the headlines, job roles such as those held by technical and pre-sales consultants, programme managers, operations directors, and heads of professional services are often the unsung heroes in your organisation.

These individuals and teams allow you to market and sell the product or service that your primarily technology-focused staff create—or to ensure that your short and long-term strategies enhance your business resilience. By hiring individuals with tech know-how and combining that with essential interpersonal skills, your workforce will be fully equipped to deliver excellent customer service and keep the business moving in the right direction.

Whether they’re customer support professionals helping to ameliorate concerns and exceed expectations, or they’re project managers keeping your departments working together seamlessly, finding individuals who combine tech expertise and strong communication skills is essential to tackling workplace challenges and driving long-term business resilience and success.

To kick-start that winning combination, let’s consider how digital skills training and soft skills training can make a positive impact on your organisation.

How Soft and Digital Skills Training Benefits Your Business

To stay competitive, business leaders need to recognise that they must equip their staff with the skills to adapt swiftly, embrace technology, and work collaboratively regardless of geographical distance. By investing in training which nurtures your employees’ skills, you’re able to unlock a range of advantages that extend far beyond the immediate outcomes of new knowledge and deeper understanding, helping you to address long-term workplace challenges effectively. 

In short, digital skills training and soft skills training have emerged as crucial strategies that enable businesses to thrive in the dynamic modern environment. But how exactly do these training programmes benefit organisations?

1. Technical Sales Success Requires Expert Soft Skills Training

Whilst your technical salespeople will certainly benefit from digital skills training, it’s in honing their soft skills that they’ll be able to become successful sellers. 

The way we communicate, both with clients and internally, is becoming ever more deeply rooted in digital technologies, which means there’s a stronger need for both digital know-how and communication skills in these vital roles. Across many positions at all levels of seniority, it’s essential that you create an environment where your salespeople can develop core competencies such as negotiation, consultative selling, and customer relationship management.

Whether your staff are carrying out in-person or virtual demonstrations for customers, leading cross-departmental workflow meetings, taking charge of deliverables, or providing the first point of contact for customer issues, having strong interpersonal abilities is the key to a motivational sales process, inspiring trust and putting your company across in a positive and influential manner. 

2. Digital Skills Training Enhances Your Customer Service Offering

A considered and effective approach to customer care is the best way to ensure loyalty, and digital skills training can become a central part of your customer service offering if you’re willing to invest in your salespeoples’ abilities. 

The more your employees know about the intricacies of the products and services that they’re supporting, the better equipped they are to help your customers—whether that’s addressing questions during initial calls or offering long-term service and assistance to loyal buyers. Once again, by pairing that expertise with customer-facing soft skills training, you’ll find the fast track to success. 

With research from HubSpot showing that customer acquisition cost is around 28% lower for businesses that invest a portion of their budget in the core skills and product knowledge necessary for effective customer service, it’s important that organisations offer the time, space, and resources for their sales staff to develop customer experiences that are as informative as they are convincing.

3. Technical Leadership Requires Communication and Digital Expertise

Whilst many roles offering on-the-ground support to customers are often found at a more junior level, success in facing workplace challenges depends on strong, competent leadership. 

With the right manager who has the correct tech competencies at the helm, they can drive your team to new heights—but hiring an individual with the right blend of these specific skills can be an insurmountable test. On the other hand, by developing that talent internally can be incredibly rewarding not only for the staff members you choose for technical leadership, but for your business reputation too.

A business that champions internal mobility is much more likely to retain and engage employees. Indeed, a recent report in Forbes has noted that employees stay 41% longer at organisations that prioritise internal hiring in comparison to those that do not. 

Now that the dot-com boomers of the early 2000s are maturing into leaders, there’s plenty of scope for upskilling your existing workforce. With access to soft skills training programmes—such as those focused on driving a high-performance culture or executive coaching—you can nurture that salesperson or team leader into the perfect leadership candidate. 

4. Leading Successful Change Demands An Awareness of the Market

Digital skills training and soft skills training can be powerful ways for an organisation to gain a deeper understanding of its market and lead change in the face of technological transformation. By developing employees’ digital and soft skills, business leaders can effectively navigate economic uncertainty, adapt to evolving conditions, and make informed,>Digital skills training can equip employees with the ability to leverage the latest tools in data analytics, CRM, and market research to gather valuable insights about target audiences, competitors, and wider industry trends, whilst communication and negotiation competencies allow your staff to effectively share these insights and recommendations to address workplace challenges with internal stakeholders. 

Business resilience is crucial within highly competitive markets. Digital and soft skills training allows your employees to not only weather market fluctuations and overcome setbacks, but to understand why they occurred in the first place, giving them the opportunity to put in place processes that can side-step issues in the future.

5. L&D Encourages Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace 

Learning and development initiatives such as digital skills training and soft skills training can play a fundamental role in foster equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 

All soft skills training providers will focus on promoting empathy, cultural competence, and awareness of unconscious bias in their programmes—helping your employees to develop a better understanding of diverse perspectives and the challenging stereotypes and prejudices that hinder inclusivity within the modern business environment. 

At the same time, digital skills training enables your workforce to collaborate with colleagues from different backgrounds through virtual platforms, transcending physical barriers and enabling all employees, regardless of their background or circumstances, to actively participate in discussions, contribute ideas, and share responsibility for team projects. 

Alongside this, organisations that give their teams room to grow are more likely to attract candidates from underrepresented backgrounds. Acquiring top talent often requires business leaders to show candidates that they’re not only supportive of their career ambitions, but that they’ll help them to achieve those goals, too.

Bettering equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace means giving candidates from diverse backgrounds the opportunity for career success, and by encouraging these members of staff into senior positions through digital skills training or soft skills training, you can highlight that you’re aiming to level the playing field.

Digital and soft skills training are essential for business resilience. Future-proofing your company in this rapidly evolving technological landscape means investing in the competencies of your workforce, enabling you to remain competitive within a market that is driven by the fluctuating demands of consumers. 

While digital skills enable employees to navigate the new roles and software that are being created by the technological transformation that’s already well underway, it’s the development of soft skills that allows them to build relationships and effectively communicate with customers. By blending these two types of training, your teams can address client needs, think creatively, solve problems, and convincingly negotiate, resulting in increased conversions and loyal customers.

In addition to this, investing in both soft and digital skills training provides numerous long-term benefits for your business, including improved customer service, enhanced technical leadership, a deeper awareness of market conditions, and the fostering of equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 

To ensure success in the face of the workplace challenges that are impacting businesses across all industries, it’s vital to prioritise the combination of soft and digital skills training within your organisation. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how soft skills training can help you not only face common business challenges but also allows you to attract and retain talented employees, see our recent insights on realising the potential of emerging talent, where we discuss the impact that nurturing these skills can have on candidates’ long-term career success, and how a robust learning and development culture can be a driver of equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 

Enhance Business Resilience with Digital and Soft Skills Training 

At Pareto, our expert providers have been offering bespoke training to leading organisations for over 25 years, helping to drive customer service success and sales profitability throughout several technological transformations of the working environment. No matter the seniority or location of your staff, we can provide digital skills training and soft skills training that enables them to become more productive, engaged, and successful employees. Contact us to discuss your workplace challenges and learn how our training solutions can help you today. 

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