The success of your sales team depends upon their performance. The performance of the sales team can be enhanced by sales training that is motivating, customized, and effective. To hone their sales skills with the basic sales techniques they require undergoing regular intermittent training. The pieces of training would enable them to acquaint themselves with the latest tricks and trends in the sales world. This would amplify the act of your sales team in achieving their sales targets. The net result is…there is an increase in the revenue of your company. Thus a well-trained salesperson and the revenue of your company are directly proportionate with each other.
Undoubtedly, sales training is essential to achieve targets and bring laurels to your company. There is so much demand for sales training that it has created a billion-dollar market around it. The global spend on corporate training was a staggering $359.3bn, in 2016 alone. As per the Training Magazine’s 2018 Training Industry Report – In the US alone, the training expenditures (including payroll and spending on external products and services) was $87.6 billion in 2018.
What’s a Sales Training
Sales Training programs are irrevocable to develop a highly competent sales force. Mike Schultz, President of RAIL Group defines it as “Sales training is the process of improving seller skills, knowledge, and attributes to drive seller behavioral change and maximize sales success. To be most effective, sales training should be viewed, designed, and executed as a change management initiative.”
Sales train ing programs mostly contain topics associated with enrichment of communication with clients, developing client interactions, client relationship management, a better understanding of customers’ needs, providing helpful feedback to clients, etc. The learning objectives of a successful sales training program are usually to advance the association between sales professionals and their clients.
Why Sales Training is Important
Your business success largely depends upon having an efficient, effective and engaged sales team. The sales traits are natural to a few people. They can be good salespersons. They know how to connect with customers, communicate effectively with the clients, and create a business out of commoners.
Some people are natural salesmen or women—they have the gift of gab, the ability to easily y connect with others and win their trust, and are adept at juggling leads and following up with prospects and existing customers alike.
Sales skills of all whether experienced or novice need to be developed regularly. How to sell is a science and art that need to be understood, which is an ongoing process. Even senior-most sales gurus also brush up their understanding of the latest tricks, techniques, and strategies
Why Does Sales Training Fail?
You must have participated and/or conducted several slates training programs in the past. Do you remember any details about the last five such training events? Chances are…you remember the location, the food, the hotel…but what about training content, trainer, and the delivery. Sadly, most of the sales training programs fail…..and fall short of your expectations. Studies show that as much as 90% of all Sales Training fails. According to the 1979 study by Huthwaite, 87% of the information delivered in seminars and workshops is forgotten within 30 days. Another research on ‘forgetting’ substantiate this; which says that a student forgets 70% of learning just within 24 hours.
Some of the most important reasons behind such failure of sales training programs are given below.
- Mismatch with the Organizational Needs
A sales training program may fail when there is a big gap between “what is required to train” and “what you’re training”. Organizational needs (as per the objectives) should be aligned with the training outcome. Need-based training programs aligned to the objectives of your company or sales mission.
- Flawed Content
Bill Gates once said – “Content is King”. Quite often the content of a sales training program lacks to attract and motivate the participants. Even if they participate, they feel boring which they rarely ‘publish’ on their face. The content has to be easy to follow, understand, and grasp.
- Lack of Motivation
Most sales representatives think of themselves quite knowledgeable. They take sales training as an event for the get-together, good food, and cool stay. They need motivation from the instructors. The content and method of delivery should also be motivational without which they can’t learn anything.
- Ineffective Transfer
The transfer is a term we use for learning that gets applied in the field. It’s the only reason why a business organization, as opposed to a school or college, would want to do training in the first place. Most peopl e mistakenly think of transfer as a synonym for follow-up or reinforcement—things that happen after the training program are over. Sure, that’s part of what needs to be done. But other factors play into the transfer process as well. Here are the critical elements that determine whether learning will transfer from the classroom to the job
How to Improve Sales Training Performance
An effective sales training program depends on several factors. The course curriculum should be interesting, updated, practice-oriented and appropriate. Training pedagogy is also an important area to look for. Training programs have to be, interesting, inclusive and interactive. One kind of approach won’t fit all. All training should be tailor-made.
To Improve Sales Training Performance, you have to follow the strategies elucidated below.
The Strategies To Improve Sales Training And Development
The following are 11 key strategies that can be used to improve Sales training and development within your organization.
1. Customize It
All kinds of sales training should be highly customized. Reason…!? The one-size-fits-all training programs won’t lead your team to anywhere except gulping packs of sales jargons. Training ought to be targeted towards a specific set of sales force coupled with appropriate content, and pedagogy. The content needs to consider individual learning styles that differ from person to person. Customization of training boost training effectiveness enhances trainees ‘efficiency. Outsell provide best sales training programs for manufacturing industries.
2. Make it Precise
Most courses offered today are too long, too boring, and ‘too PowerPoint’ which is boring and infective. The content of a good training module/ manual is always precise. As per the department, team, project-specific requirement; your trading could be aligned accordingly. It should be very focused on the targeted audience. You need to have extremely specific content. A study carried out by the University of California-Irvine reveals that a shorter training program or “micro-learning” is more likely to be effective than a week-long intensive training program. In such “micro-learning” process the participants are “feed” with exactly the essential amount of information Customized to their needs to achieve a goal.
3. Align learning objectives with strategic objectives
The training program should be specific and custom-made as per the strategic objectives. Because the ultimate aim of the training program is to capacitate your sales team to achieve something which is delineated as strategic objectives. The sales personnel should get adequate training related to the strategic objectives for which the program is focused.
4. Update the Training Content Regularly
The course curriculum needs to be updated regularly as per the latest development and trend in the concerned industry. The sales industry is very volatile and modifies itself quite regularly. Update your content with changing information, new sales strategies, innovative ideas that have worked in recent times.
5. Upgrade the Training Pedagogy
Upgrade your training pedagogy in keeping pace with the latest advancement in science & technology as well as in sales management domain. It is necessary to upgrade training pedagogy. Try to use video, images, voiceover, text and interactive activities as and when required. The pedagogy also needs modification as per the level of trainees’ and training module.
6. Field Train Your Team
The training conducted in the field totally or partially brings practical orientation among the participants. The supervisors/ trainers can provide real-life examples during the training. This makes sales training attractive, acceptable, and appropriate. It becomes easy to understand, learn and relate with their day-to-day work.
7. Spice up Your Training
When things are interesting it is remembered easily. When relevant and practically useful, training caught better attention of participants. Apart from the content, other aspects of training should also be taken seriously. Work on your pedagogy and use of multimedia in imparting training. To make it more interesting you may use props, share a story, show a podcast, play applicable games, show video clips, play music, use drawings/paintings to make a point.
8. Make it Practicable and Applicable
The training curriculum that encompasses practical solutions for everyday realities is more effective among the sales personnel. The can easily correlate the training learning with their regular issues and problems. They are not there to listen to your class-room theoretical lecture on sales performance. They want “to the point” discourse that is immediately useful for them.
9. Make it Interactive
The old fashioned training methods are mostly obsolete now. They are based on one-way training delivery which is based on a top-down approach that follows the ‘talk and chalk’ class-room model. Sales training should be highly interactive and participatory so that trainees can gain more form such training programs.
10. Take Feedbacks and Measure learning
Measurement of learning should inculcate the entire training process. In an e effective active learning course, feedback is provided throughout the course by both the facilitator and peers. The skills of your sales team need to be benchmarked before the start of the program. To evaluate the learning of the participants a post-training assessment should be done. Unlike the traditional approach, it should not be conducted just after or on the last day of the training It will be better if it is done after say three months. This period allows you to evaluate the learning by the participants more accurately. You may use an online system to track compliance with reinforcement activities. It makes people more serious and accountable.
11. Post Training Follow-up
You can’t just train your sales staff in a few hours or a few days. Sales training should be seen as a ‘continuous process’ not as an event. Regular training end with chaos where sales personnel spends more moments on thinking about their return flight to home. By the time they reach their home, a part of the learning gets wiped-out from their gray-matter. Post-training follow-ups and handholding support is necessary to imbibe the training into the veins of the sales force effectively. Regular follow up, feedback exchange, supplementary clarifications by trainers are required.
Provide multiple options for learning
Sales professionals are mostly busy, especially in the field. Getting all of them on board for a training program is impractical. Firstly, your sales endeavour will be halted until the training is completed. Secondly, their current skill level often varies, therefore, they could be clubbed in smaller groups. Thirdly, the training needs of sales personnel also vary. Hence sales personnel should have multiple options for learning.
- Online training
In the age of IT revolution, online training programs are getting astounding popularity. It is not always feasible to organize a physical training program for your team. But in online training programs, many of the sales personnel can take part as it is convenient for them. They don’t have to gather at a centralized venue.
You can make the training suitable and reachable at different IT platforms and times. It allows individual trainees to access it and schedule and access the training at his/her own time, pace, and mood. You can make use of Skype, Videos, Podcasts, and emails for delivering training at the very nominal cost involved.
- In-field training
In-field training is practical oriented. Irrespective of whether you have imparted training through online or conducted in a physical venue still you need to ta ke your sales team for in-field training as and when required. They need to apply the learning from the past training programs.
- Classroom Training
Teaching and training methodologies have undergone drastic changes over the last few decades. Although classroom teaching is less preferred now days still most training is delivered using this method fully or partially. But classroom training is still used, especially imparting theoretical classes as it enhances critical thinking among the participants. Here, you can train in a safe and secure environment where use of technology is quite convenient. Nevertheless, class-room training for sales person needs to be very interactive, informal, and interesting.
- In-person workshops
Short in-person workshops could be a better way of imparting training to specific senior sales personnel. It is very effective when you are going to lead a specific sales project or before launching a big sales campaign.
Effective sales training expand sales personals’ skills and arena of understanding. It is one of the most effective ways to capacitate them which results in improved business performance and increasing generation of revenue for your company. Sales training is also one of the cost-effective ways of enhancing their skills to polish their existing skill and learn new ones. Different sales training courses including online courses should be considered for it Need-based sales training programs should be carried out that are custom-made, focused, and very specific.. Your expense towards this end is an investment that will be repaid multiple times and ways. Learn more…