Whether your business is small or large, you have a sales team. For a lot of companies, their sales team makes up the bulk of their employee base.
Some of the most important people in your organization are sales reps and sales managers. They are customer service pros and see sales through, all the way down your pipeline. Today, most businesses use inside sales instead of outside sales.
So when you train them, you cannot just hand them a workbook and send them on their way. They need to completely develop their sales skills and product knowledge. If they do not, you waste your time, money, and resources. They might not even remember what they learned within a couple of months.
Here, we give you eight sales training techniques to engage, support, and teach your sales team.
How Can I Improve My Sales Training?
Your salespeople cannot attend a few sales courses and remember the content forever.
“Research indicates that without systematic, ongoing learning and reinforcement, approximately 50 percent of the learning content is not retained within five weeks, much less applied,” PandaDoc blog cites a Sales Performance International statistic. “Within 90 days, 84 percent of what was initially learned is lost.”
First of all, everyone has a different learning style. They also learn at their own pace. Take this into consideration when you look to improve your sales training.
For example, assigning the same hard copies of training materials to every sales team member is ineffective. This is especially true if you assign them strict deadlines to complete reading sections.
If you spring a random training program onto your team without structure, they will fail. When your team fails, the company fails as a whole.
You can improve when you employ various techniques that are proven effective. You can incentivize employees or use a mentor program. Either way, you boost sales performance and morale. Follow these eight sales training techniques and watch your business flourish.
How Do I Create an Effective Sales Team?
You can take many routes to create an effective sales team. You might have a team and think they lack in performance right now. If you have a new business, you might worry that you cannot build a successful team in such a competitive market. There is hope, though.
Entrust your team and give them a reason to advance their learning process.
Give them options for how to learn based on their needs.
Also, give them a reason to believe in themselves as capable salespeople. They will believe in your business, too. This naturally leads to a functional and effective sales process.
Top 8 Sales Training Techniques
We have eight tried-and-true sales training techniques to help your sales grow and your business elevate.
1. Introduce Job Shadowing to New Sales Reps
Job shadowing is helpful for new sales reps. To succeed in sales, you need to hone your selling process.
Your individualized selling process is made up of a wide skill set. Each skill is different depending on a sales reps’ strengths and weaknesses.
Their weaknesses can lead to self-doubt, though. When you pair one sales team member with another, they can learn directly from them. If a new sales rep is great at the organization but falls behind in problem-solving, pair them with someone who excels at problem-solving.
By using job shadowing, you can internally cross-train employees. This saves resources and time since you use existing employees to help with the training process.
Job shadowing is especially helpful for hands-on learners. There are different types of learning styles. So tailoring sales programs to various trainees is crucial.
2. Provide Hands-On Training
PandaDoc Blog also cites a Brainshark study: “When training is reinforced by in-the-field coaching, companies see up to four times the ROI from training programs alone.”
Hands-on training leads to a more productive sales team. More productivity means more confidence within your sales department.
It takes time, but invest in your employees’ hands-on training. Once they get their hands dirty, they start to understand the sales cycle.
This does not only benefit your new reps, though. It also gives your long-time employees a brand-new perspective. When your rep watches the process in real-time, they might suggest a new and better way to do things.
Role play is another great example of a successful sales training technique.
You can pull up old customer-call files. Play these so that your trainee knows how to handle different customer situations. Also, play a few recordings of how not to handle a customer situation.
Once they understand how to address the various situations, role play. The new rep can take a fake phone call and practice all that they just learned.
Ensure that you provide constructive criticism for this scenario. Tell them how they can improve and what they already do well.
3. Motivate Your Sales Team
Do you talk about training without actual results? This leads to a lot of discouraged sales team members.
Imagine that you are in a lecture-style class. The teacher drones on about a subject but does not give you any solid examples. Would this bore you?
This is how your sales team can feel when you explain sales concepts without motivation.
There are a ton of success stories you can reference here. If you have a mathematical learner, show them data on how a sales method works. If you have an auditory learner, tell them a story of success.
Do not be afraid to provide examples where something did not work. This shows that you are always willing to learn and improve. It will inspire them to do the same.
Make sure you do not stop there. Use a step-by-step approach. Once you tell the story, turn it into steps to success. The steps should serve as action items. Now, your rep can reference it to make a sale. This benefits you because you can use this approach over and over again.
4. Retain Top Talent Through Incentives
Retaining top talent feels impossible when the market is so competitive. Potential new hires have a lot of businesses to choose from.
Average commission and an ordinary workplace environment do not cut it anymore. You need to provide an exciting employee climate. Increased opportunities mean increased top talent interest.
Take a look at your budget. If you can offer a higher commission than rival companies, you already have a leg-up.
What else can you offer your team as an incentive? Think about what you can provide after they are hired. Can you give them more vacation time? What about products to encourage them?
Commission limits also bring down team morale. If you limit them, sales reps might feel like they do not have to push themselves.
Top talent recognizes a great employer when they see one. Make sure you can provide that for them.
5. Incorporate Versatility Into Your Team
A versatile team is a team that runs smoothly.
Know where your organization’s communication fails. Once you identify that, you can pair a high-performing department with a low-performing one.
This cross-training brings you versatile and functional departments. It also leads to the best sales for your intended audience.
If your sales team is well-versed in every part of your business, customers notice. Then, customers or clients are more satisfied. Happy customers lead to happiness all around.
6. Encourage Sales Leaders to Share Thoughts
If you operate a successful business then your sales leaders have taken a sales course or two. This means they are well-trained. They should have the most valuable input for your sales department.
Have you picked their brain for useful information? If not, it is time to do so.
Keep an eye out for sales managers who are effortless leaders. It is an added bonus if they are proficient public speakers.
Sales leaders start at the bottom of the chain of command, too. They know the ins and outs of training as a new employee.
Once you introduce your trainee to your sales lead, it also encourages the trainee. They know that they have room to grow in the company. This means new team members make an effort to grow. It also pushes them to use critical thinking so they can mimic your sales manager’s success.
You do not have to spend too much time training this way. Even a couple of hours every month helps. Schedule a meeting once a month to start. Your frontline sales lead can review new techniques with your trainee. The two can then figure out what works and what does not.
Again, if you use resources that you already have, you save both company hours and money.
7. Consider a Mentor Program for Your Team
Nobody likes to feel alone in a new job. So why should they?
If you assign a mentor to each new member of your sales team, they want to stay with the business longer. There are plenty of statistics to show this.
Think about it: if you feel like your employer cares about you, would you rather stay with them or take a chance somewhere else? When there are so many other workplaces in your industry, you do not want to risk it.
The standard idea of a mentor may not sound practical to you. Back in the day, people mentored coworkers who were younger, but in the same field as them.
Today, though, you can switch it up. Assign a mentor to someone who needs help in a certain area. You can rotate mentors as needed, too. Do not forget that younger salespeople can still mentor older ones. Everyone brings something to the table in a successful workplace.
A mentor does not use one agenda as a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, they should constantly check up on their mentee. This is best achieved through one-on-one meetings. This approach creates an open-door policy and strong internal communication.
If you are concerned that your mentors should brush up their skills, look into some sales courses online that can help.
When you invest in individual success, you invest in your own.
8. Introduce S.P.A.R.C. – Specific Praise And Really-Specific Candor
It is impossible to hire top talent who always stays at the top. At some point, everyone will find room for professional improvement.
Instead of thinking about this as a frustrating task, look at it as room to grow.
You need to constantly train your team and yourself. So when you notice something awry, reach out. Offer constructive criticism. It leads to a better all-around performance in your business.
One of the best ways to provide this feedback is through S.P.A.R.C.
S.P.A.R.C is an acronym for “Specific Praise And Really-Specific Candor.” It is the idea that you offer specific praise when a team member does something excellent. In turn, you have to give very specific feedback when they do something you do not like.
You should not do this in a rude way. In fact, the only reason you do it at all is to encourage someone to be better and try harder. Do not soften the blow. Balance the praise with candor. Give S.P.A.R.C, but also ask for it in return.
What Are Good Sales Skills?
There are a lot of sales skills. Sales is a broad category. But there are a lot of basics you should develop through sales training techniques.
Indeed lays them out:
- Have product knowledge
- Be an active listener
- Close the sale
- Manage conflict
- Technology savvy
- Customer service skills
- Be a problem solver
- Understand social media
- Time management
Sales training techniques are a dynamic way to boost your revenue. They also build a happy team and customer base. We can help you train your team to increase leads with any of our personalized services. For your business to reach its full potential, book a call with us today.