Sales training can sometimes feel like a drag. Sales reps have to sit through hours of presentations, only to be expected to put all that information into practice the next day.
If you feel like your sales training isn’t working anymore and turnout is low, don’t lose hope. Sales training can be engaging and motivating – you just need the right approach. Here, we offer 10 excellent sales training ideas that can hopefully reignite that spark in your team and empower them to become better salespeople.
The primary goal of sales training is to arm sales reps with the right sales skills, sales techniques, and resources to be successful at their job. In a highly competitive and fast-moving industry such as sales, it’s important for sales managers and coaches to teach their sales teams how to manage their time and resources as efficiently as possible. This means adapting to emerging sales productivity tools and sales enablement technology.
There are numerous approaches to sales training, from traditional on-site seminars to online microlearning modules.
The numbers don’t lie: Effective sales training boosts sales reps’ performance by an average of 20%. And that has a ripple effect on the whole company.
According to one study, companies that invest in sales training are 57% more effective at sales than their competitors. On top of this, sales training brings a 353% ROI for your average company. That’s $4.53 in return for every $1 spent on training.
Aside from all this, sales training can also bring in the following benefits:
If you’re looking for ways to spice up your approach to sales training, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 10 sales training techniques and ideas that inspire and empower your team:
The concept of selling-through-curiosity, or STC, has been around for ages but has made a recent resurgence in the startup scene.
STC was popularized by award-winning sales training and consulting firm Barry Rhein. But the concept is actually based on an age-old practice called the Socratic method, which originated in the 5th century BC. The Socratic method was a teaching method that focused on giving questions to students rather than teaching the answers.
With STC training, sales reps are taught how to create an engaging, cooperative dialogue with prospects where the former asks questions instead of trying to convince them with the conventional sales talk. By drawing out their prospects’ wants, needs, fears, goals, and ambitions, sales reps can better understand what drives their prospects’ behaviors and propose their product or service as something that can help.
So much of what makes a salesperson effective is their ability to tell a good story. But not everyone who gets into sales is naturally good at public speaking or holding people’s attention. Presentation labs where new sales hires are tasked to create winning sales decks, build an interesting story behind their product, and nail the delivery can help sales reps find their strengths and work on their weaknesses when it comes to making presentations.
Ninety-two percent of all customer interactions happen over the phone. Thus, mastering the art of the sales call – particularly cold calls – is integral for anyone who wants to become a successful salesperson.
Sales calls are tricky and require constant follow-ups. In fact, even experienced salespeople can take up to five follow-up calls to close a deal.
When overseeing a sales call listening session, encourage your entire sales team to note down what was said, what went well, and what could have been said better. Then, have everyone compare what they gathered from a call to see what your reps pay attention to and how much they can actually gather from merely observing.
This is especially helpful for inside sales reps who do most of their work in the office, selling over the phone or online.
One thing you can do is to encourage reps to make a mock sales pitch to a stranger outside. Not only does it “humanize” the sales process, but it also helps reps overcome any fear of rejection that may be holding them back.
Speaking of rejection, sales reps experience objections every single day. The key to handling these objections is to come prepared with all the right rebuttals.
A good training exercise would be for sales teams to think of all the reasons why a prospect would reject their product or service. They should list down all the possible objections that could be thrown at them, then come up with the most convincing rebuttals to those objections. At the end of the exercise, reps should feel like they have enough tools in their arsenal to convert skeptical prospects.
Only eight percent of sales representatives make 80% of all sales. That means that success in sales can be hard to come by. To keep your team from being discouraged, it’s always a good idea to bring in professionals who have found success in their field.
But don’t stop at stories of success. Stories of failure can also be excellent learning tools. Invite speakers who are willing to share some of the toughest or most significant failures in their career and how they overcame them. This can teach new reps that while failure might be unavoidable, it doesn’t always have to mean it’s the end of the road.
SaaS tools have now become an essential part of sales teams’ toolkits and for good reason.
According to G2, the presence of sales enablement tools correlates with a 31% improvement in supporting changes in sales messaging, as well as a 15% increase in improving low-performing sales reps. For 76% of organizations that utilized such tools, they experienced an increase in sales between 6% to 20%.
There are many different types of sales productivity and enablement tools out there, from time tracking tools to communication tools to project management tools and CRMs. Revenue intelligence software, like People.ai, is becoming increasingly popular as well. These tools use AI to get a 360-degree view of one’s sales process, allowing teams to access real-time data and actionable insights from different customer-facing teams.
Industry trends come and go, best practices get updated every few years. Sometimes, it can be hard to keep up with the speed at which the industry shifts and grows. As such, it’s important for sales representatives to stay up to date on the latest industry news and trends.
These are some of the best sales websites and blogs to follow:
Shadowing programs involve pairing new hires with more established sales reps. Not only is this form of training cost-effective, but it also allows for a more personalized approach. With new reps shadowing more seasoned reps as they go about their days, they get a front-row seat to what effective cold calling, prospecting, account management, and closing look like.
Competitive analysis involves identifying a company’s competitors and their marketing strategies. All businesses routinely perform a competitive analysis of their rivals. Some may even have a dedicated competitive analysis team. So why make reps do one themselves?
Making a competitive analysis is a great exercise in spotting a business’ strengths and weaknesses, understanding one’s market, identifying industry trends, and setting benchmarks for growth. All these are important skills to have in a sales representative.
When building a sales training program, keep the following tips in mind:
What do you want to get out of your training program? Where in the sales pipeline do you experience bottlenecks and potholes? What kinds of training exercises can help you achieve results? When setting objectives and KPIs, make sure to set realistic goals that address both current and future gaps in performance.
Sales teams that foster a positive, growth-oriented feedback culture experience more success than companies that don’t provide enough feedback and guidance.
Providing consistent, positive feedback allows sales reps to recognize what works and what doesn’t more efficiently, and thus allows them to apply the correct approach to their work more easily. Aside from this, constructive feedback builds trust. Finally, consistently providing positive feedback creates an environment in which sales reps are more eager and prepared to receive more critical feedback.
With these best practices in mind, you should be able to create a successful training program. And if all else fails, you can always try hiring any of our tried and tested external sales training programs.
In order for sales teams to be successful, they need regular training that is both inspiring and empowering. By using the ideas we’ve shared in this blog post, you can create a sales training program that will help your team members achieve their goals and exceed customer expectations.
If you want to learn more about things like sales training, sales organization structures, developing KPIs, and the like, stay tuned to our blog for more insights.