Sales training can drastically improve the performance of your sales team, thus improving the company's overall success. If your organization is ready to bring in sales trainers, be sure to make the most of your time and money, and avoid these common mistakes.
Here are 4 things not to do when training your sales team.
1. Rely on sales training alone.
Sales training is important, but training alone will not solve your sales problems. You can send your team to a powerful offsite retreat, but if your process does not support what they have learned, they will abandon it quickly once they are back in the field or out chasing leads.
Build a comprehensive sales process that includes best-practice selling skills and tools, then train the team into the process.
One great way to do this is to create a Sales PlayBook with all of your best practices, templates, processes, and tools. By compiling and documenting your best practices, you will speed up ramp time and save time with onboarding for new hires, as well as promote alignment, collaboration, and communication across your sales team.
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2. Restrict the training to the sales team.
We've heard from prospects before that they would like us to work with their salespeople, but they don't want anyone else involved, that managers and executives will not be able to take the time to participate. Plus it is called sales training for a reason, right? Wrong!
When sales managers do not participate in a sales training program, they are missing out entirely on the point of a sales training program: to bring the sales team success.
Not including leaders from other departments might seem to make sense because they are not technically a part of the sales team. But doesn't everyone work in some function with the sales team? Of course! Some of your prospects’ and clients’ key points of contact with your company are not in sales, but rather are the project manager, the customer support reps, or the solution team. Make sure everyone is aligned with the same training.
In other words, your sales training program can reach other departments. In fact, not only will those departments benefit from the experience, but they will likely have unique insights to offer to the program.
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3. Apply a generic sales training model.
Most sales training organizations have a model or approach, and even more can be found in countless books, white papers, and blog posts. There are acronyms, buzzwords, and secret strategies that guarantee success.
None of this is necessarily a bad thing, but if you adopt a generic model within your team without customizing it first, it will fall flat. Take the time to figure out how the model fits within your organization.
What do the categories and labels mean to you? What should be expanded, and what should be eliminated?
Customizing a model or approach might take up time in the short term, but will save you time the long term. It could also save you resources and help clarify pain-points in your organization that you wish to work on.
Turning a generic model into a customized sales training program will ensure that it fits your organization and addresses your sales team’s needs.
4. Think of training as a one-time event.
How do you typically learn a new skill? Whether it’s playing guitar, surfing, or knitting, it’s not likely that you took a single class and became an expert. Instead, you often take lessons with repeated coaching, practice, and reinforcement.
Yet many times, we think of sales training as a one-time event. And of course, training events are important! They provide a foundational cultural experience, and are great opportunities to bring a large numbers of people together. But if this is all you are doing, you are not giving your sales team the opportunity to practice, apply, and retain what they are taught.
A training can be helpful. Trainings, plural, are absolutely necessary.
Develop a comprehensive sales training plan that includes initial onboarding, major training events, and ongoing training and reinforcement. Include sales training in other group events and meetings, such as your regularly scheduled sales meetings. Provide your reps with the opportunity to train each other and share best practices. Create a culture of ongoing learning and growth. If you need inspiration for your sales team meetings, we've got you covered.
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We hope this list of what-not-to-do's will help you make smart choices as move forward with sales trainings. If you are considering getting involved with creating a Sales PlayBook, check out this resource.
What advice do you have for teams who are new to sales programs? Comment below! For more updates by CFS, follow us on Twitter at @CFSPlaybook!