As a Sales Manager, an essential part of your job is providing your sales team with the tools they need to be successful. This includes high-quality sales training that actually produces results.
How can you make sure your sales training really works?
Here are six proven ways to make sure your sales training is worth everyone’s time and investment.
1. Clearly define the problem the sales training will solve.
It is surprisingly easy to jump into a new sales training initiative while still unclear on what issue the training will actually solve.
Start by deciding what problem sales training can realistically solve. Of course, high-quality sales training improves selling skills, but there are several issues even the best sales training cannot solve. For instance, it cannot repair structural issues within your organization or do away with ineffective hiring practices.
As a Manager, what problem would you like the sales training to solve?
Get perfectly clear about why the training is occurring. Just as importantly, get clear on how you will be able to tell whether it has been successful.
You or your training team should consult with the very people who are experiencing the issues.
What kind of sales training will help them? How can you align the sales training with the outcomes they really need? How can you measure it?
Then go from there.
2. Make sure sales leadership is involved.
Which leaders will be most impacted by the outcomes of the sales training? (These are known as the stakeholders in the process.)
How will they be involved throughout the sales training process?
Far too often, sales training happens because someone with access to a budget identified a need. The training ends up taking place, but there is no clear connection to those who are affected by the training.
The training should never be the end goal, but a tool to solve a problem the key stakeholders have clearly identified.
For training to be successful, the stakeholders need to be part of the initiative before, during and after the training. They should have a platform to communicate enthusiasm and/or expectations throughout the process. Opportunities for everyone to show their enthusiasm might include kick-off meetings, video and email communication initiatives and participation in the actual training.
3. Define and measure the desired outcomes.
As mentioned before, zeroing in on the problem is only the first step. It is also crucial to lay out the ideal outcomes as a result of the training. Start by asking these questions:
- What are you looking to change with this training?
- How will you know whether the program has been successful?
- How will you measure results?
Make the most of tools like surveys to measure the desired outcomes after the training. You might ask participants questions such as:
- Did you enjoy the training?
- Did you understand the material?
- Will you apply what you have learned?
- Do you think this training will produce results?
4. Skip the one-size-fits-all training techniques.
It is never a good idea to apply a generic training template to the complexities of your own organization.
Of course, there are fundamental, timeless selling skills and techniques that work in every industry. But unless the training program you implement is perfectly aligned with your business, it will not hold value for your organization. Instead, it will leave even your best salespeople wondering how to apply the concepts to their specific environments.
Collaborate with both fellow managers and sales team members. Identify specific exercises and role playing scenarios that make sense for your business.
You likely will not need to build these sales exercises from scratch. However, you will need to make sure things like case studies, role plays and terminology resonates with your organization.
Which training format might work best for your organization? Consider:
● Courses. The classic course format, either in-person or online, is a powerful way to pass your sales knowledge on to teammates and colleagues. Depending on how you set it up, it can allow your salespeople to complete their training on a schedule that works for them. Meanwhile, you can keep track of their progress.
● In-person workshops. Brief in-person workshops shake up the typical workday. They can be a great way to build anticipation around your sales training.
● Training led by outside consultants. An expert consultant brings tons of value. You can expect everything from customized sales tools, years of experience and priceless market information.
● Conferences. Your team can network, learn from industry leaders and keep an ear to the ground within your market.
● Internal team testing. Conduct an audit of both successful and unsuccessful sales cycles. Your team will learn the real-world applications of what you are teaching them.
When trying to decide how you will present your training, ask yourself:
What are some common challenges everyone attending the training faces?
Participants should feel like they are getting real work done and improving their skills. When they get back into the field, they should feel confident in applying their training.
5. Make the program easy to implement.
Even fascinating, engaging training becomes meaningless if the participants forget the concepts once they return to the field.
Regardless of industry, your salespeople need tools and concepts that help them close more business. Training should make life significantly easier, never more complex.
Make the program simple to implement by using quick reference guides, tools and key takeaways to help your salespeople apply the new concepts.
6. Provide ongoing refreshers and reinforcement.
Finally, decide who in your organization will provide ongoing reinforcement of new training principles. Build this element of reinforcement into your training plan. Make sure anyone providing this kind of support has the skills and tools to guide the participants.
The truth is, your journey to create better sales training will never be complete. You will always find new techniques to try out and fresh objections to overcome in a changing market, all while bringing new sales talent aboard.
The best salespeople have the Drive it takes to be the very best. It is worth investing in the high-quality sales training it takes to help them get there.
Discover more about what Drive really is, who has it and how you can find them every time you need to hire.
Take the Drive test today.