4. Developing a sales training strategy
What does it take to create a winning sales training strategy? The answer to that question can vary widely. It depends on:
- The salesperson’s disposition and experience
- The product
- The customer segment
- The current market or ecosystem
- The type of sale (inbound, outbound, subscription)
- The customer position (individual, SME, enterprise)
This is a niche in which salespeople can benefit from learning some general best practices and learning techniques specific to the product they are actually selling.
This is a subject that definitely lends itself to collaborative sales training. This allows your team to approach the subject from different angles, with individuals playing various roles.
During these interactive sales training sessions, team members can work through a wide range of scenarios.
For example, they may practice selling your product to an individual, a small business owner, or a decision-maker at a large corporation.
At the end of the session, the team can work together to create sales strategies that are targeted toward approaching the situations they will likely encounter.
5. Teaching sales to prospect effectively
Prospecting is a key skill for salespeople to learn. It helps to ensure a constant source of potential leads.
But, more importantly, if your team members can prospect, they will learn how to:
- Prioritize leads
- Identity potential pain points
- Make challenging cold calls
Do you have team members that are struggling to make their numbers? Their troubles could be due to a lack of prospecting over the past few months, especially if they simply don’t understand how to prospect effectively.
Depending on your needs, you may choose to focus your sales training on inbound prospecting, outbound prospecting, or both.
Here are some of the essential skills to learn and some ideas for creating interesting, dynamic training sessions for each of them:
The more you know about your sales prospects, the better. Sales team members can use the information they find for two purposes.
- Qualify the potential lead based on ICPs
- Identify the traits and information that help with a tailored sales pitch
Here's a great idea for sales training around prospecting:
Create a sales prospecting scavenger hunt. Give a team of sales trainees the name of a company and let them loose to research. Have them check off each of the following items as they find the information:
- Contact name
- Company size
- Current projects
- Email and phone number
- Social media profiles
- Website bio
- Recent mentions
Once trainees make it through the list, they can engage in discussions about the best ways to use the information about the company and the decision-maker to determine whether the account represents a qualified lead.
Next, they can address how the information can be used to best approach them and meet their needs.
One of the most challenging elements of the outreach process is getting past the gatekeeper. These might be administrative assistants, office managers, or others who can prevent salespeople from reaching the decision-maker.
Influential sales professionals know how to handle gatekeepers gracefully. Even better, they can use techniques to turn them into allies.
Like objection response training, this is an excellent opportunity to work in groups.
For example, the gatekeeper group can come up with a list of common responses to outreach calls, such as “they aren’t taking calls right now” or “their calendar is full.”
The prospecting team can work on responses that fall within these guidelines:
- Respects the gatekeeper and their position
- Approaches with a value proposition (e.g., I’m trying to reach Bob Smith with information about his tech support issues.)
- Avoids selling
- Avoids outright lying or misleading statements
During this sales training exercise, trainees should remember that success comes in different forms. If they can gather some additional information, learn a better time to call, or even reach a voicemail, they’ve made some progress.
6. Sales rep mentoring and shadowing
There’s no trainer like an expert, especially one who is familiar with your products, processes, and target customers. Your experienced, successful salespeople are in the best position to teach incoming personnel tips and techniques about selling your products and engaging your customers.
Consider creating a mentoring and shadowing program to facilitate this. Mentors and mentees can work together to establish goals, analyze metrics, and stay in touch regularly to overcome obstacles.
By shadowing a top salesperson, newer employees can learn best practices and see them in action. Even something as simple as being conferenced into a cold call to listen to an experienced professional in action can be exceptionally educational.
7. Peer-to-peer sales training sessions
Peer-to-peer learning is a highly effective sales training idea. Peer learners can learn important sales techniques from their colleagues.
Even better, since everyone is on an even footing, they may feel more at ease critiquing or challenging one another.
One method that works well in remote or digital training sessions is having peers create video lectures or demonstrations. You can even have each one submit an idea or proposal for the topic they’d like to present.
8. Training salespeople on sales technology
Salespeople use various tools and technologies, like Salesforce, to automate mundane processes to spend more time using their talents to sell products.
Chances are that your business has licensed a few of these sales tools to help your staff work with greater productivity.
But sales trainers can identify the competencies of their sales team around the tools they use:
- How well can your staff members use those tools?
- Are they maximizing the potential of the tools that have been provided to them?
- Have you offered training on these tools?
The truth is that many salespeople have plenty of access to tools, but they are never really taught how to use them well. As a result, your sales team may not know how to use the best or most advanced features of the tools.
You can always use the training offered by the software vendors. Many companies offer this for free, including advanced training.
Another option is to hold sales training sessions around using these tools that you design in-house. By doing this, you can focus on specific modules and features that are going to be most relevant to your team members.
9. Analyzing win/loss reports
Every rejection and every closed sale can teach your sales team something. That’s why it’s vital to have roundtable discussions in which everyone can analyze the latest win-loss reports.
Keep discussions open and honest and avoid too much congratulatory banter over the wins. The idea here is to learn from both!
Open each win/loss sales training session with the following goals in mind:
- Better understanding of which features or benefits are most attractive to customers
- Increase awareness of buyer behavior
- Improve your sales strategy
- Create a better value proposition
- Earn a competitive advantage
- Identify customer frustrations
- Recognize techniques that work and ones that don’t
Have an experienced salesperson or manager facilitate these sales training sessions. They can point out important items that trainees might miss and can provide a well-rounded perspective.
Now, you have some great ideas for training your sales team in some of the most important aspects of sales.
Why is sales training important?
Sales training is important because it helps salespeople build the required skills necessary to sell effectively. With sales being the primary revenue-generating department, well-trained sales reps lead to a quicker sales process, increased closed deals, and more revenue for the organization.
When you create effective sales training programs, you empower your teams to attain the knowledge that they need to reach their goals. Ultimately, this increases and improves your sales pipeline.
Sales training best practices
Here are a few best practices for sales training to keep in mind when building the skills of your sales reps:
1. Use a modern learning management system
When it comes to properly training your sales team, the first thing you're going to need is a modern learning management system.
An LMS is an ideal solution to create and deliver sales training materials company-wide. Learning platforms have features that allow you to develop assessments, build learning tracks, and create quizzes to track and measure employee training progress.
The best systems even provide functionality for shared video training and offline training, as well.
Luckily, Continu is an LMS that provides your sales managers and instructors with everything they need to implement effective sales training.
2. Ask sales trainees for feedback
It’s just as important to get feedback from sales trainees about the courses they take as it is to assess their progress. For example, you should know if trainees found the sessions engaging, felt that it was relevant to them and whether it was compatible with their learning preferences.
Dig deep. Ask trainees to tell you any sales training material that helped them close.
Get feedback from your team before you design or improve your sales courses and material for them.
3. Create or implement a knowledge base
A knowledge base is essentially an information center for your sales team. It might consist of:
- Employee manuals
- Software guides
- Procedural rules
- Best practices
- Frequently asked questions
- Troubleshooting guides
A knowledge base should be updated regularly as new sales processes, procedures, and technologies are adopted.
4. Offer a variety of sales training techniques
Every salesperson has a preferred learning methodology. Some sales team members may prefer live sessions, while others may seek out self-directed courses or video learning.
Either way, it's best to customize and tailor your sales training programs to account for different learning styles and skill levels.
5. Consider device-independent options
Salespeople rely heavily on technology to achieve their goals. Most of them are very particular about the devices they use to work and communicate. Sales teams are most productive when they are able to work with tools that are familiar to them.
This is something significant when choosing a learning platform.
6. Gamify your sales training and development
Gamification in training has been proven to lead to better learning outcomes. For sales training, gamification adds a competitive aspect to how trainees interact with their assigned lessons.
For example, trainees might be able to create avatars, see themselves on a leaderboard as they progress through a course, earn badges, or even level up.
Have you done enough to motivate your sales team and prepare them for success?
Continu, an LMS for sales training
There is no single best training program. The best option for your team will be based on your company’s needs, products, team experience, talents, and skills gaps. However, one thing applies to every team and every brand: You need to build your interactive sales training program on reliable, feature-rich, and customizable learning software. That's where Continu comes in.
Our modern learning platform comes with all the features and solutions your organization needs to improve salespeople skills, create sales materials, and close deals.
- All-in-one modern LMS built for sales, HR, and employee development
- Train your entire organization from one platform
- Create full-length training courses online with powerful eLearning authoring tools
- Track your sales team's training progress and generate detailed reports
- Host digital workshops or webinars from the platform with attendance tracking
- Assign sales training to anyone, anywhere, when they need it most
- Integrate with your favorite online tools
- And much more...