Regardless of the size of your team (or your budget), it’s important to have a sales training program in place. The program should include multiple forms of training, from sales skill training to product/service training, always integrating it into your process. Training should target both new hires and your existing team.
One thing that’s often missed, though, is the importance of check-ins and evaluations in any sales training program. Here are three areas you should be evaluating in your sales training program.
Make Sure New Hires Are on Track
Have you ever gone on a sales call with one of your recent hires and realized they weren’t following your process at all? Maybe they didn’t have a full understanding of your offering, or weren’t sure what they could commit to.
One essential area to develop evaluations is in your new hire onboarding plan. This is actually an area where you might have two levels of evaluations.
First, it can be helpful to have “graduation” expectations for the onboarding plan itself, so new hires need to indicate a certain level of knowledge before they are able to engage prospects and clients. This evaluation should measure their understanding of the process, as well as their knowledge about your products and/or services.
Second, it’s important to check in after 60-90 days. By this point, your new hire should be actively prospecting and selling, and it’s important to make sure he hasn’t fallen into any old habits, but is instead sticking to your process. This evaluation should also be focused on your process and products or services, rather than selling skills.
Here are some sample process questions you might include:
- What activities should be logged in the CRM system?
- What reports should be provided to management, and how often?
- What are your lead qualification criteria?
- What are the stages for leads? For opportunities?
- What is involved in closing a won opportunity?
- How can orders be customized?
- What is the approval process for custom orders?
Evaluate Your Team’s Selling Skills
Whether this is her first selling position or he’s been selling in the industry for 20 years, all salespeople have areas for improvement.
Ongoing evaluation of your team’s selling skills is critical to a fully-developed training program.
One of the best ways to evaluate selling skills is through role practice. This gives you a chance to see how your salespeople handle different situations, and it’s a great learning opportunity for everyone involved.
Consider role practicing the following areas:
- Making a cold call
- Asking for a referral
- Leaving a voicemail
- Leaving a follow-up message
- Running a discovery meeting
- Delivering a presentation
One best practice is to schedule time for role practicing in each of your weekly sales team meetings, then pick a random pair of people and topic each week. That will put your team on the spot, and you’ll probably get a better picture of what they really are doing in the field than if you give them too much time to prepare. Make sure you have enough time set aside to review and debrief.
Track Habits and Behaviors
The best sales training programs integrate best practices from members of the sales team. One easy way to do this is to survey the team regularly on their habits and behaviors.
What lead sources do your top prospectors find valuable? How do your leading salespeople structure their days and weeks? What do they measure, and how do they track their progress? What tools and resources do they use?
If you can answer these questions, you’ll identify trends you can use to train the team. You might also discover some areas for improvement in the answers you receive!
It’s important not to tell your entire team that they should sell exactly like one person, even if that’s your top performer, but presenting some overall best practices that are known to work is a great way to leverage the power of your team.