If you’ve never held a sales position, you might think sales is all about natural charisma. In some ways it is, but what really matters is the salesperson’s skills. The sales skill set is, in fact, something you can teach and learn.
While many businesses choose to limit sales training to the onboarding process, providing sales training regularly can really help your team improve. In this article, we will examine how choosing the right sales training program can benefit your team.
Who Should Take Part in Sales Training?
Most people aren’t born salespersons. Even those that need a little refresher now and then. That’s where sales training comes in.
Sales training should be a regular part of anyone’s job if they face the public, whether or not they’re strictly salespeople. Anyone from entry-level sales or customer service reps to executives can benefit from sales training. Of course, not everyone needs to learn the basics over again.
That’s why a quality sales training program will have different levels that address different points. Sales is a complicated field with numerous approaches to choose from. Basic sales training is a great starting point, but you need more than that to be really good at sales.
The Benefits of the Right Sales Training Programs
No matter what your goals are for looking into sales training, there are many benefits to implementing an appropriate program. In this section, we’ll take a look at some of those benefits and evaluate how they can help your business.
Increase Your Conversion Rate
The primary advantage of sales training is that it helps sales reps hone their closing skills. Many business owners or sales managers make the mistake of giving their sales reps a single approach for sales. One size rarely fits all, especially in sales.
Sales training introduces the variety of approaches out there as well as the circumstances where they work best. By attending such training, sales reps can use their own experience with their leads to develop winning methods. Therefore, you get more sales and your sales team doesn’t have to waste time using the wrong methods.
Better Your Team’s Understanding of Sales Best Practices
It’s often not enough simply to know what your company’s sales best practices are. In order to understand fully and implement best practices, your team needs training. Sales training programs provide that training.
This type of training can also extend to sales management training. Too often, managers and business owners hand out a checklist of best practices, then expect reps to follow it. Not only is this a training failure for the reps, but it’s also a sign of underdevelopment in managerial and sales skills.
Sales reps and managers alike need to know why best practices are best. By explaining the philosophy and reasoning behind these practices it makes it easier to follow them.
Expand Upon Basic Skills and Knowledge
This is the part of sales that many people assume is up to the natural talent. They assume so because many people’s experience with sales training is just the basics. To become proficient in sales, your team needs to have in-depth training.
Take call centers, for example. Call center reps to follow a script and are generally only successful because of the volume of calls they make. It’s quantity over quality.
With proper sales training, you don’t need a script. Successful salespeople understand the fundamentals of sales rather than just knowing them.
Lower Your Turnover Rates
One of the most common reasons people leave jobs is because of improper or lack of training. You can’t make sales if you’re not confident, and confidence comes from practice and mastery of skills.
A well-suited sales training program is an important investment if you want to maintain a successful sales team. If you have to keep hiring new reps, you don’t see the benefit of experience. Skills training, as well as management training, makes your employees more comfortable, lowering turnover.
Help You Make Predictions and Set Goals More Accurately
Another common reason for high turnover is setting unrealistic expectations. Giving your team goals to motivate them can be good, but that’s only effective when you know your team. Sales coaching and training are opportunities to connect with your team and collaborate with them on goal-setting.
Not taking your team’s skills and abilities into consideration when you set sales goals is setting them up for failure. Unrealistic goals, low or high, foster resentment and lower confidence. You can use training to work with your team and set goals as a group.
Increase Your Team’s Understanding of Your Products and Services
Especially in conventional retail sales training programs, employees don’t have time to get familiar with the things they’re selling. A sales training plan that includes gaining an understanding of the company’s products and services is necessary for increasing sales.
Not only will employees know what they’re selling, but they’ll also be able to sell it better and answer questions. Knowledgeable employees make for a positive customer experience and are more likely to make the sale.
A longstanding principle of learning is that you don’t understand something until you can teach it. That means you have to be able to put sales techniques into practice in your own words. There’s no room for that when you’re reading from a script.
In-depth and interactive sales training inspires creativity among your employees. They are able to take the information given to them and get their own understanding of it. If they know the fundamentals well enough, they can develop their own techniques which can be far more effective.
Improve Your Employees’ Communication Skills
Communication, like all other skills, requires practice. Sales training can do more for your employees than just teach them how to sell. The skills they learn are applicable to a broad array of situations outside of business.
Sales is essentially communication with a purpose, so learning to sell also means learning to communicate effectively. Employees that can communicate effectively are more likely to be team players and can better contribute to the company’s goals.
Key Components of an Outstanding Training Program for Sales
Now that you know how sales training can benefit your business, let’s look at the elements of a training program.
There are several key components to an outstanding sales training program. In order to reap the benefits we discussed in the previous section, it’s important to incorporate all of these:
Sales fundamentals are the most basic part of sales training. Without a steady foundation, everything that comes after it will be shaky at best. Since these skills are fundamental, it’s beneficial to have everyone, including seasoned employees, review them periodically.
This component can include things like the steps of the selling process, basic sales techniques and the customer lifecycle. Successful programs often use interactive exercises and modeling to teach this component, especially to new hires.
Interacting with Clients
It’s easy to treat customers like numbers when you’re in sales. That’s why many companies use their “small business feel” as a primary selling point. Customers want to be treated like people, so improving the customer experience should be a key component of sales training.
While you can’t always teach empathy, anyone who might interact with customers should be encouraged to empathize with them. A positive customer experience can mean the difference between making and losing a sale and a loyal client.
Things You’re Selling
As we mentioned in the previous section, it’s important for salespeople to be familiar with what they’re selling. Any comprehensive sales training program should include ample time for this component.
Employees shouldn’t just memorize a few key facts, either. If possible, they should use and experience the product or service themselves. A personal recommendation is an effective selling point if applicable to the product.
Salespeople should also be able to answer possible customer questions. To do so in the field requires detailed knowledge of the product.
The Selling Process
This component is just as much about the fundamentals of sales as it is about your company’s expectations. Most companies include the selling process in their initial training. However, many neglects to explain why they use their particular process.
A good training program should go in-depth on the selling process and the specific strategy and processes your company uses. Your new hires should know how and why to do everything from picking up leads to servicing existing accounts. Including this component creates and maintains consistency throughout the company.
Customer Relationship Management
Customer relationship management is an imperative part of sales training. Most companies use some sort of customer relationship management (CRM) software to automate and centralize their data. This software is often the most used tool for your team from day to day.
Therefore, it’s extremely important to include this component in your training program. New hires should be comfortable using the software and the systems associated with it before they start interacting with customers. If there are updates to the software, it’s also important to notify and retrain employees if needed.
When your employees know the ins and outs of customer relationship management, sales are seamless. Your sales reps don’t have to fumble with unfamiliar software while interacting with a customer, improving the customer experience.
Properly configured CRM software also allows for more efficient interactions with customers without compromising on the customer experience. Well-trained employees and a good CRM system turn new clients into loyal customers.
People often joke about the awkwardness of team-building exercises. They don’t usually seem related to the job and can feel silly. When thoughtfully implemented, however, group activities are great bonding opportunities for your team.
These activities are great for hands-on learning as well as allowing your team to get to know each other. They also help break up the training session so it’s not all lecture and business jargon.
Just like in school, periodic testing is a great tool for sales training programs. Depending on the type of assessment, there are a variety of metrics you can learn from them. A common method is to quiz trainees throughout the training to test their knowledge.
However, you can also give your team the opportunity to tell you how they feel about their skills through evaluations. You can use these evaluations to pinpoint gaps in your training plan as well as areas of improvement for your team.
Another common use of testing is as part of group activities. Have trainees work on the assessment together or give them a test just for fun. A good example is a personality test, such as a learning or communication style quiz. You can even use the results to tailor the training to each style.
Sales training programs are a great investment for business owners and managers. Not only do they cover basic elements of a job, but they also provide extended learning opportunities for employees.
Sales training has several benefits when implemented appropriately and can save your company a lot of money and time. In fact, employees who have been properly trained through a well-thought-out program can even win your business more sales. They are also less likely to quit, improving your turnover rates.
It can be difficult to find the right sales training program template for your business. That’s why hiring a company that specializes in improving your sales training can alleviate some pressure.
At Selling Revolution, we offer individualized improvements for your sales training to increase the number of leads and talent. We can help you grow your business the right way by developing a system that works for you. Our proven strategy of channel alignment will help you achieve success with efficiency and rapid results.
To see what we can do for your business, book a call with us today.