Effective sales training ideas lay the foundation for a focused sales team. Even long-time salespeople, no matter how successful, can settle into a groove and lose unique perspectives that can increase their close rates. Engaging with your team with refreshing sales training ideas can revitalize your team with new approaches to try when their “tried and true” methods just do not cut it.
Sales Training Ideas
Great sales training ideas can vary from industry to industry, as different variables determine what is effective. For many industries, whether it be B2C or B2B, these universally applicable sales training ideas can enhance the sales prowess of your team.
Great Sales Training Ideas
Providing unique sales training experiences is an understandable goal of many training managers. While creating special programs can help leverage your brand and promote a specific outlook for your salespeople, some of the great sales training ideas have been consistently effective.
A widespread sales training idea applicable for businesses big or small, selling through curiosity stimulates critical thinking and advanced problem solving by delving deep into the customer’s situation.
The concept of selling through curiosity has been an enduring sales training idea, one keenly focused on building best practices around conversation and qualifying. In this method, sales reps practice conversations geared at learning more about the customer’s needs and desires. Effective selling is based on revealing the underlying motivations for a buyer to seek a solution — their pain points, short and long-term goals and forecasted challenges.
Working qualifying questions into natural dialogue is a delicate task, and many salespeople either struggle or fail to focus on it at all. Moving beyond the superficial conversation that occurs organically identifies the reasons behind a customer’s intent. This develops a more effective conversation on viable solutions and benefits. The objective of this great sales training idea is to become comfortable in displaying genuine curiosity in getting to know the customer to build rapport, trust and mutual understanding.
It’s simple to set this up in a one-on-one role play or in a group session for sharing ideas. Different customer types and buying motivations can be replicated in these scenarios. Some conversations go deeper than others and some situations can be more complex.
Group brainstorming sessions are particularly useful in creating different character personas and making the training more productive. Salespeople can share situations they have experienced to deepen their toolbag and new ideas can provide deeper insight into how to steer conversations with efficient questioning.
This is a great sales training idea because a good conversation is a timeless trait of good sellers. As technology, markets and buyer behavior change, being able to connect through conversation will always have its advantages.
Assessments and Testing
Keeping your sales team focused is a critical management function, and using assessment as an accountability and training tool is vastly beneficial. You can use assessments to not only train your team but also to understand how training should be focused on.
Sending forms to your salespeople about areas of opportunity or common challenges they face can help you formulate one-on-one strategies or even process adjustments. Forms can be used on a weekly or monthly basis to follow up on several points including:
- Inefficient processes that are causing issues with the sales cycle.
- Common objections or obstacles that have been difficult to overcome.
- How comfortable they are with new services, products or procedures.
Training With Assessment
The classic sales training idea regarding assessments is having sales team members participate in product demonstrations or quizzes to test their in-depth product knowledge. Being able to speak knowledgeably and confidently about your products is vital to winning the majority of customers over to the various benefits they offer.
Assessments are a great sales training idea because they can be applied in a number of training and real-life situations:
- Quizzes during training sessions, both on new and core products.
- Role-playing to tackle knowledge retention, communication of benefits in a real-world scenario and common objections to overcome through product knowledge.
- Sales shadowing, where a manager or lead observes product knowledge and sales techniques at work in real customer interaction.
Sales Training Ideas for Meetings
Holding meetings is one of the best sales team training ideas because it puts the most relevant, relatable aspects of the job in front of the sales reps. Sales training topic ideas emerge in these meetings when they focus on having the salespeople guide the training rather than the manager’s agenda or corporate initiatives.
The assessments covered earlier can bring common issues, questions or success stories to the table for discussion and problem-solving.
A responsive way of dealing with the immediate struggles salespeople face is by having them discuss common sales objections they may be facing at the time. Sales managers get some excellent free sales training ideas from their staff when they focus on handling these objections.
This sales training idea for meetings can deal with classic objections like “I’ll have to think about it”. But, it can also solve momentary, emergent objections popping up in the market. Perhaps a competitor is offering a new promotion or a news story was just released regarding something key to your business. Being able to intelligently address novel objections fluidly is instrumental in retaining customer confidence. This sales training idea for meetings helps your team take a proactive approach to deal with objections and share their experiences for the group’s benefit.
This exercise is popular across industries. This sales training idea is simple: create a concise, honest and convincing 30-second pitch for the product or service of the manager’s choosing.
This practice can be fun for training meetings or for unexpected sales tests during the day. Sales reps can build a comfortable and fluid script, a consistent message that they can issue automatically. Most of the time, these can be crafted in a concerted effort among the team and each salesperson can tweak the general framework to match his or her personality and style.
Sales Process Focus
Depending on the industry and business philosophy, sales processes can consist of any number of stages, timelines and labels. Integrating focused in training sessions on particular sales steps can help teams become more efficient and more effective in their approach.
In-depth views into the individual processes can reveal best practices for handling challenges and for identifying the progression of the sale (e.g. knowing when to move from qualifying to soft-close techniques). It is best not to get hung up on the minutiae of these stages but instead focuses on core concepts and recurring trends to create a clear direction.
Product Testing and Presentation
Knowing the product as a consumer is a great way to reflect the customer experience and give unique vantage points on how to sell certain features. This sales training practice is absolutely essential when new products are released but can also be used to refresh on established offerings.
Testing the product can run in tandem with practicing mock demos and presentations. Refreshing on speaking skills is one key benefit, but it can also open the floor to sharing ideas on how to enhance presentations or pick up interesting phrases or approaches within the mock presentations. Integrating buyer personas provides context for reps to practice shaping presentations that fit the customer profile.
Working on presentations maximizes the opportunity to make a quality impression. Teaching efficient practices that trim off excess in their presentation creates a more valuable experience for the consumer and puts benefits and strong arguments at the forefront.
Sales Manager Training Ideas
Taking a meta-perspective on the nature of training and engaging your sales managers in their own training can trickle down into new sales team training ideas and sales training topic ideas. Having your managers or leads engage in similar sales training practices can offer new techniques to apply in sales team training sessions.
If sales managers are far-spread and in-person meetings are impractical, forms similar to the ones for salespeople can be enlightening. Asking questions about KPIs, specifically growth opportunities or areas of excellence, can provide sales managers with focus points and sales strategies to take to their team’s training sessions.
Sales manager training can also reinforce sales processes and offer useful training assets that have been effective among peers. Presentations, useful forms, or other tangible assets provide free sales training ideas to leverage in team training. Daily or weekly conference calls are great for providing business direction but having regular sales manager training sessions digs into their ability to affect their team’s ability to sell.
Sales Training Ideas to Push the Needle
The Wizard of Sales was founded to optimize practices through every step of the sales process. We identify opportunities and build on strengths to create custom programs that enhance your sales training efforts. Start a conversation with us today if you are ready to leverage the power of your sales team with our proven training program.