Contrary to popular belief, sales is not necessarily a cutthroat profession. In fact, the sales job today is all about collaboration and inclusivity. Companies too now know the importance of collaborative work and hence are more willing to invest in sales training of their new sales representatives.
Sales professionals indeed have to achieve their individual quotas and keep an eye on their commissions. But the reps today are smarter and know that working together can not only help them reach their target quotas but also pursue shared goals. After all, these are the values that define the sales profession of today.
What is sales training?
Sales training involves the personal development of skills and techniques related to creating and exploring new sales opportunities, as well as closing sales for an organization.
The primary goal of this training is to equip new and old sales representatives with key skills to navigate their way in the field. Besides training them for the role, this training also helps transform young professionals into confident leaders.
Pros of collaborative sales training
- Promotes inclusivity: Collaboration acts like an antidote to any existing unhealthy competition in the organziation. It fosters a sense of needs in the employees to uplift and support others. Eventually, this positive attitude also reflects on the performance of the sales representatives in a good way.
- Results in collaborative selling: Ideally, make the training a part of the sales onboarding for immediate learning. This will give the trainees collective situational training. Consequently, they will be less hesitant to reach out to fellow sales reresentatives in the time of crisis. Moreover, the trainees will learn how to make a sale collectively, by helping others reach their targets. And there will be less feelings of insecurity as people will rejoice in collective win.
- Improves customer experience: With such a training, sales becomes less about competition and more about providing better customer experience. The targets also change; from being about personal gains, they change to collective company benefits. Hence, unifying the entire organization as a single team.
Sales training strategies for a successful sales team
1. Train using demo pitch calls
Indeed, the best way to go about this sort of training is to be early and direct. Without wasting any time beating the bush, simply get to work. However, you do not want your new recruits to be overwhelmed too soon by the workload. For that purpose, start practicing with demo exercises. Schedule pitch calls routinely with seniors to give the trainees a simulation-like experience. This way they will be able to get the full on-job experience excluding the nerves.
2. Be simple yet practical
For easier and more efficient learning, keep things simple. Reduce any complexities to make the job smoother for newcomers. Make sure to get SMEs on board to mentor the young professionals along the way. Besides, simple concepts are easier to understand and quick to apply practically. Moreover, ensure that the learning content is customizable. Leave room for maneuver and readjustments to stay by the changing needs.
3. Shadow learning
Shadow learning is a learning or training strategy that pairs a newcomer with an expert. The two work together and the trainee learns from first-hand experience from the expert partner. It gives individual and personalized attention to the trainee. The pair also provides emotional as well as professional support to each other. Therefore, the newcomers do not feel overwhelmed by the tasks and are better able to adjust to the new workspace.
4. Be on the field
One of the best ways to go about sales training is to get hands-on. Start by introducing your trainees to the real world of sales and have them apply their prior learning as they go along. This is a more trial and error method where the trainees will stumble but eventually find their footing and get vital field experience.
Surely training simulations are great too. But nothing can beat the actual experience - it involves nerves and requires one to get over the emotional and at times physical challenges put forward by the profession.
5. Understand client painpoints
Selling is less about creating a necessity than it is about understanding the pre-existing needs of the potential customers. A good sales rep is quick at diagnosing the pain points of the customers and can target them at the right time. Teach the trainees the right set of tricks to detect the pain points quickly and act on them.
6. Use blended learning
Blended learning is a learning model where traditional in-person learning is mixed together with online learning. It makes learning more accessible and allows for gamification space, hence, making it fun at the same time. With sales training, this works perfectly well. Trainees can learn in a relaxed and convenient way.
7. Review past records
Staying in touch with previous experiences and learning material is a great way to review ones' performance. Make sure to check for any past recordings of demo or actual pitch calls to assess which strategies worked and in which situations. Check also for pockets of improvements; key areas where you could've done things differently.
8. Personalize the training
Target the individual strengths and weaknesses of the trainees. Provide them personalized feedbacks for improvement. Moreover, hold one-on-one mock calls. This will reduce the stress of handling the actual calls while also giving the trainees vital experience and will prepare the sales representatives for better future call handling.
9. Be consistent
If you wish to be good, rather great at anything, become consistent at it. Frequent sales training and professional guidance will ensure constant learning and relearning. You can do this by organizing a meeting schedule where different agendas will be discussed thoroughly. And at the same time, ensure equal participation from the trainees by asking for feedback.
Another great way of ensuring consistency is by encouraging daily 'micro-training'. In about 10 minutes daily you can make trainees accomplish simple tasks that will make them consistent at their jobs.
10. Apply mentor-mentee system
The Mentor-mentee system is pretty common practice in most types of workplace training. It provides every young trainee with a professional mentor who they can reach out to any time for assistance. Unlike the shadow learning strategy, here the mentor is likely a subject matter expert or can also be an external expert. With shadow learning, one learns alongside a colleague likely to be of the same professional rank.
11. Develop databases and wikis
Develop a permanent database or library where all of the corporate learning material is kept. Provide employees with access to these materials so that they can seek help from them whenever they need it. Moreover, set up a wiki page where professionals in the organization can reach out to each other for quick help. These steps will also minimize the need to invest more in external L&D professionals.
12. Hold webinars
Hold sales training webinars. Send your trainees to external workshops and do short-term exchange learning programs with sister corporations. Train together, train better!
13. Develop cohort courses
Cohort-based courses are a great way to train together online. With the right LMS, you can apply the CBC model to your training programs. Divide your trainees into cohorts based on their professional roles and meet them virtually to visit over key concepts for professional sales training.
14. Diversity training
Diversity training is about making your employees more culturally and even emotionally sensitive. It will teach them essential skills; not only in being more respectful towards their colleagues but also towards the customers. Eventually, this customer sensibility will aid them in attending to the customer needs in a better way.
15. Train them in professional mannerism
This might sound more obvious but nonetheless, is very important. Sales training is all about developing a persuasive persona that can attract people towards themselves. This is why, to know the right language skills, body language, and having some charisma is also crucial for the job. People judge firstly by external appearance and in sales, the first impression is all that matters.
👉🏽With these essential strategies you can master sales training and makes your employees pros at their jobs in no time.