The impact of sales training on sales teams’ performance and business results is widely known and acknowledged. However, your team’s path to success isn’t exactly straightforward as many sales training tactics don’t end up preparing reps for the real world.
Often, the greatest obstacles to sales training are sales heads themselves and their lack of belief in training. This can lead to a number of unfavorable outcomes such as:
- Not prioritizing sales training or not taking the time to coach/train.
- Lacking the skills required to be an effective sales trainer.
- Not responsible/accountable for their team’s coaching.
How do we address these challenges and create a program that works? This guide will cover the following key aspects of getting started with your sales training program
- What is Sales Training?
- Why Do Businesses Need Sales Training?
- Why Do Coaching Initiatives Fail?
- How to Get Started with Sales Training?
- Steps For A Successful Sales Training Program
Let’s start with the basics.
What is Sales Training?
Sales training aims to help salespeople achieve sales success. The process is intended to improve seller skills, knowledge, and attitudes to bring about behavioral change in the salespeople to enhance sales success. For sales training to be successful in achieving the above objectives, it must be designed and implemented as a change management initiative.
A fundamental branch of this training is sales coaching – the process through which the sales managers and professional sales coaches work with the salespeople to discover business opportunities and areas of improvement to drive sales success. Sales coaching catalyzes the entire training to enable continuous improvements, adoption, and reinforcement of the sales processes.
Why Do Businesses Need Sales Training?
Sales training is integral for businesses because it helps salespeople improve their performance by providing them with feedback and practice. It also allows sales managers to review and improve internal sales processes, refine training methodologies, provide feedback on the areas of improvement, and measure progress. A good sales training program leads to a significant impact on business results.
Why Do Most Coaching Initiatives Fail?
Many sales training or coaching efforts turn out to be ineffective because they try to tackle symptoms of poor sales rather than working to create a culture where learning and training are second nature.
When it comes to creating a sales training program that works it has to address the following key layers to catalyze personal growth and change, contained aptly in Dilts pyramid model of personal change. It provides an idea about the level at which certain changes need to be made in order to influence or define the next level. This can act as a marker for the progress of sales coaching.
Dilt’s Personal Change Pyramid as a model for building an effective sales coaching system.
How to Get Started with Sales Training?
Today, buyers expect more than just a generic sales pitch and basic product information from the people who sell to them. They expect the salesperson to understand their needs and be their partner in the purchase process.
Salespeople, therefore, need to have in-depth knowledge of the products/services that they are selling and also of the customer’s industry (in B2B sales).
Therefore, the sales training program should be designed to help your sales team develop intimate relationships with the buyer and should equip the sales team with the required skills and resources.
Here’s a framework that must be adhered to no matter how you choose to structure your training program.
The most important stakeholders in the sales training process are the frontline sales managers and sales executives. They know firsthand the skills and knowledge that are required to help them achieve their goal. Hence, the frontline sales personnel need to be closely involved in the sales training process.
While designing the sales training program, it is critical to keep two key points in mind:
- Customer Perspective.
Customers know what they expect in their buying experience. Invite your customers to participate in the training sessions to share their perspectives on the buying experience, how they use your product/service and the challenges that they face.
- Inter-departmental Collaboration.
Selling is a team effort requiring close collaboration between the product, marketing, and sales teams. Involving all the three departments in sales training fosters connections and engenders a collaborative spirit among the departments, which pays rich dividends in the long term through improved business results.
After the above key considerations have been incorporated, you can get started with the sales training program with the following steps:
Step 1: Collate all Product and Market Information.
This step involves equipping the sales team with complete information about your product and your market. This information, part of the sales training basics, should include details of the unique selling proposition of the product and features that distinguish it from the competition. Ideally they should be vetted directly by users of the product if the tone and communication are aligned with the actual value that customers are getting from the product.
Step 2: Establish KPIs.
The sales training program should aim to achieve specific sales objectives. The objectives could be to speed up the sales cycle, increase the ratio of wins, boost quotas, etc. After the training objectives have been identified, create training materials and training modules that enable the attainment of each objective. Establishing KPIs and other measures of performance will act as benchmarks to evaluate the effectiveness of the training.
3. Create a Training Material Library/Inventory.
Sales training is a continuous and ongoing process. The organisation’s work culture should emphasize the regular creation of training videos, tutorials to help new reps get up to speed. Organizations also need to devise ways to make training accessible and scalable. Digital sales training tools and sales training software can enable personalized training based on the experience, strengths, and weaknesses of the individuals. Examples of sales training tools include a training LMS to host sales training content and a sales readiness platform such as Dialworks to ensure training can be delivered with real customers to reduce ramp time.
4. Training Reinforcement and Feedback.
Without knowledge/skill retention, the time and effort invested in training will turn out to be futile. Support training retention by ensuring it’s put to the test on actual client calls. This is where Dialworks comes in to help you ensure that your sales reps are ready for the real world.
Dialworks connects sales reps with real customers exactly like your demographic so that you can gather feedback that turns reps into seasoned professionals. Using a sales readiness platform ensures that your sales training can continuously improve and your ramp time as well.
For more guidance on structuring your Sales Training program, book a free consultation with our Sales Training Expert!