Is your sales team getting amazing results?
If not, it might not be their fault—it could be your sales training techniques.
As a Sales Director, you want your sales team to thrive and succeed, because when it comes down to it…their success is your success. And in order for your salespeople to work productively and at the highest level possible, you need to provide your team with training that will help them learn everything they need to know, including:
- Relevant details about your products and/or services
- The overall message of your company
- The best way to connect with their customers in a way that will allow them to sell
The problem, however, is that while you may have some set training techniques you want to impart on your valued sales team, not all training techniques will help them succeed. Some training techniques could actually stunt their growth as salespeople, resulting in monetary losses for you.
With that in mind, let us go over some common, yet ineffective sales training techniques that you may be using.
Along the way, we will also go over why you should not be using them and discuss some alternatives that can help you improve your sales training and the overall growth of your company.
Ineffective Sales Training Techniques That Waste Your Time and Money
1. Pushing unethical sales methods.
Today’s consumers are savvy, and they can often spot a sleazy salesperson from a mile away. That is why you should avoid teaching your sales team unethical sales methods, including:
- Promising something that cannot be delivered
- Using large amounts of fine print in order to deceive the customer
- Misrepresenting products or promotions
- Failing to be transparent about pricing changes
- Skipping over key disclosures
Sure, these techniques may make it easier to sell in an immediate sense, but there will be dire long-term consequences that can have a massive effect on the company. The last thing you want is for your business to become known for having an unethical sales team.
A better technique:
Be clear about ethics as you teach your salespeople the best sales methods. Make it known that their job is to assist the customer by pinpointing helpful solutions they cannot resist – not trick the customer into buying something.
2. Using too many one-size-fits-all trainings.
Not every salesperson on your team is the same. Chances are, they all have unique learning styles and sales processes that work best for them based on their personality.
That is why you must avoid doing too many “one-size-fits-all” sales training sessions. Yes, some sessions will apply to just about everyone. But often, your team (and the company) will benefit more when the training is tailored.
A better technique:
Start by pinpointing exactly what your team is struggling with. Can you split them up into small groups based on the problems they are having that are hindering them from selling? If so, do it.
From there, you can offer trainings that have been created specifically to solve the problems you pinpointed. By tailoring the trainings to their struggles, you can feel confident knowing that your sales team will leave the training with the information they need to improve their sales results.
3. Failing to get the team involved.
You may be tempted to send your team to trainings in the form of lectures. Or, you may like to use your own lectures and slideshows to teach your team new concepts.
The problem with this method is that it does not create a memorable, hands-on experience for your salespeople. In other words, if you do not get them involved, your words of wisdom may go in one ear and out the other.
In fact, research shows that within 5 weeks of sales training, salespeople only retain 50% of what they learned, and within 90 days, only 16% is retained. And generally, people retain about 5% of what they have learned from a lecture.
A better technique:
If you want your salespeople to gain a deep understanding of the concepts you are teaching and retain that knowledge, you need to use hands-on learning and get them involved in the training.
Data shows that people remember 75% of that they learn when they practice it themselves and 50% of what they learn when engaged in a group discussion. That is quite an increase over the 5% retained from a lecture!
So, consider using activities that allow your sales team to practice what they are learning. For example, if you are teaching a new sales technique, incorporate role-playing so your team can
practice the technique. If they are learning how to use a new CRM software, try to hold the training in a room where everyone can practice using the software on a computer as they learn about it.
Also, encourage group discussion at appropriate times during the training. Not only will this keep your team more engaged – you might end up learning something about them that helps you improve your sales training even more.
4. Offering too much information at once.
We have all heard the term “information overload.” This happens when the volume of information a person is exposed to at any given time is so much that it becomes overwhelming.
Stop and think for a moment – based on the information presented in your sales training sessions, do you think your sales team is suffering from information overload?
They very well may be if you are covering too many topics at once during your sales training sessions. Instead of learning about all of the information presented, your salespeople may become too overwhelmed and frustrating, causing them to give up and tune out during the rest of the session.
A better technique:
Make sure every sales training session that you create does not involve too much new information. A good rule of thumb is to offer a training that teaches either:
A) A lot of information about one specific topic
B) Surface-level information about multiple topics
For example, if you need to help your team learn about a new product your company is launching, you could give them a lot of information about that one specific topic.
On the other hand, if you need to teach a 7-step sales process, you may want to start with surface-level information about each step. Then later, you could dedicate an entire training session to each of the steps and teach them one-by- one.
That way, you can still present all of the necessary information without overwhelming your salespeople to the point where they cannot learn.
Remember: Sales Training is Just One Piece of the Puzzle
Even the best sales training sessions in the world cannot turn a salesperson who is not Driven into a top performer. That is why making the right sales hiring decisions from the start is key.
Also, continued learning is important – you do not want your sales team to stop improving their processes or forget what they have learned. So, after they complete a training session, follow-up with them and provide additional resources/trainings depending on their needs.
Whatever you measure is what will likely be improved over time, so make sure you do not see sales training as a standalone strategy to improve your sales team.
Instead, view it as part of the bigger picture, and make sure you are doing everything you can to lead them to success.