According to Caliper Corp., 55% of people making their living in sales don’t have the skills it takes to be successful. That doesn’t mean you should run out and fire half of your sales team, though – sales training can provide an increase of 20-50% in sales per individual.*
Not all sales training is created equal, though – 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 won’t solve your sales problems. You can send your team to a powerful offsite retreat, but if your process doesn’t support what they’ve learned, they’ll abandon it quickly once they’re back in the field.
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.
2. Restrict the training to the sales team.
We’ve heard from some prospects that they’d like us to train their salespeople, but they don’t want anyone else involved. Managers and executives can’t take the time to participate, and it’s called sales training for a reason, right?
What happens when a sales manager doesn’t participate in a sales training program? The first time the manager attends a meeting with a sales rep, the manager unknowingly violates the process the salesperson just learned.
Some of your prospects’ and clients’ key points of contact with your company are not in sales – it’s the project manager, the customer support rep, or the solution team. Make sure you include them in your sales training program – they (and your bottom line) will benefit.
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, whitepapers, 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?
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. Training events are important! They provide a foundational cultural experience, and it’s a great opportunity to bring a large number of people together. If this is all you’re doing, though, you’re not giving your sales team the opportunity to practice, apply, and retain what they’re taught.
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.
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