A lot of people underestimate the technique involved in converting products to sales, hence take sales training for granted. Business owners aren’t so fooled, because they understand that developing quality products is just one step of the business process. Even quality products won’t sell themselves. A focus on sales is thus part and parcel of the business process.
Sales training typically involves improving seller knowledge, skill and awareness to cause favorable behavioral buying attitude amongst a wide audience. But despite being a $4.6 billion dollar industry, not many businesses benefit from the training programs they invest in. That is, they don’t notice significantly better lead conversation.
Why? The problem lies in a company’s understanding of what the different types of training involve. First you need to assess your sales team, narrow down your expectations from the program, before looking at the sales training industry to find one that matches your goals.
Assessing Your Sales Team
Whether you’re a team of 50 or 2, your team will have its strength and weaknesses, which you’ll have to know before thinking of a sales program. Here are a few questions you should answer to learn your teams current capabilities.
- What is your value proposition? That is, what are you offering that can’t be found else where and why should customers choose you? This seems like an easy question to answer on the spot, but your sales team should be able to provide cohesive responses.
- Do you already have a sales process in place? Is the process efficient? Can it withstand the pressure of an increase in sales? Are your sales cost currently cost effective? If your sales are digging deeply into your profit, you’ll need to rethink the whole process.
- What measures are you using to keep track of sales? Knowing where your team is performing and under performing will allow you know where to focus your sales training efforts.
- Do you currently have a plan to increase sales growth, or do you need help visualizing market potential?
- Are sales incentives currently effective in boosting your sales? That is, is the value gotten worth the compensation being made to the team?
- How prepared is your team for a changing world market? In terms of multiculturalism, technology and product evolution. Will your team benefit from diversity training?
Respond to these questions and you would have narrowed down the current strengths and weaknesses of your sales team. Where they’re killing it, or falling short. Keep these questions on hand, so that you can respond to them later on – say a year after completing the training. Sales might be effective in showing growth, but comparing the responses you receive now to the responses a year after the sales training can really show you where you’ve made effective changes. Now onto managing your expectations.
What to Expect/Look Out For From Sales Training Programs
- Improved Mindset
Research shows that the most successful sales can be attributed to the mindset of the individuals – about 80% of that success. This isn’t an insignificant figure. Being positive and productive can have a huge influence on the sales being generated. When looking for a course, find a program with practical approaches to overcoming self-limiting behaviors. You don’t want to have a sales team thinking of a product as just a job – it will reflect in their countenance and ability to convert leads.
- Practical Sales Skills
Anyone can pick up a business textbook and learn the theoretical aspects of sales. It’s practice that provides confidence. Studies have repeatedly shown that success creates confidence. Sales training programs that are highly practical can be significantly more effective than theoretical courses.
- Measurable Goals
This has to do with the strengths and weaknesses you explored earlier. A good training program sets measurable benchmarks, against which it can refer to. Measurable progress is the only way to see how effective a program is. Remember your sales team can and should set longer term benchmarks it can compare its progress with.
- Effective Communication Skills
Including diversity orientation, because the world’s incredibly global, and culturally sensitive. Most customers buy things from people they make a connection with. Programs with a focus on creating human connections are the gold standard in sales training.
The amount of time people spend in front of their screens means every good sales team must know how to utilize online sales avenues to reach potential market. Online sales can be made via techniques that don’t require the presence of human, i.e. proper utilization of the opportunities the internet offers can be the equivalent to having extra sales teams you don’t have to supervise.
Sales Training Formats
There are multiple formats of implementing your sales training, hence every company should explore different programs to see what suits the team. In fact, the type of program you end up with should also depend on your current company stage. If you’re just starting up, you can start with the most basic, and scale up. Here are the different training formats.
Both online and in-person allows the tutor to “pass down” their knowledge. What worked and what didn’t. Some of the course teachers may be celebrity salesmen with great records. The method is usually very flexible.
This requires that you close up shop for a few hours a day, rally everyone of your sales team for in-person workshops. This is only helpful if you can find a provider that can build excitement in your team.
Workshops are only valuable if they can offset the time taken off work.
If you have a really big sales team, and closing shop for some time just doesn’t make sense, consider hiring experts for some in-house training.
Are a great networking opportunity. It gives your sales team the opportunity to learn from their colleagues in the industry, as well as the speakers. Your company can learn the current sales trends in the industry. Conferences be very expensive, but you can cut down costs by sending fewer staff, instead of the whole team.
The first step to success is admitting you could use some help. If you’re here, mission accomplished. Now to implement the nuggets of wisdom you’ve read, book your call below with a Success Coach from Matrix.