A great sales team is the core of every company. Without a performing, knowledgeable sales department, there’s no company. Only when your sales representatives thrive and grow, the customer base and the entire organization can grow, too. The so-needed growth can be done via delivering adequate sales training.
According to SLR, 74% of sales leaders and managers control their own sales on top of managing their sales teams and their ongoing business deals. There’s no wonder that sales training is still quite often put aside. It should be the managers and leaders who set and observe the learning culture in an organization. Hiring people with excellent sales skills, or at least with great predispositions for working in sales, is essential; however, this knowledge usually needs to be extended. Plus, there is always company-specific training to go with that (the solution and the tools).
Having a trained sales team is a competitive advantage. Without sales training, your team will stagnate. Experienced people will believe they reached their peak at your organization, and the newbies will not be exposed to the right mindset and know-how. So, make sure you invest your time in the team; after all, it’s a part of sales leadership.
Give your team the right ammunition to compete in the ever-changing market. Preparation has a significant impact on results. The better you train your salespeople, the more successful your business will be.
Section off your training sessions
Dividing your training into sections will make them more comprehensive for your sales team. Create categories where every bit is just as important as the other. We suggest you have four core categories:
TECH & SYSTEMS
Educate your team about how big your market is, what pain the potential customers solve, and what they’re missing. Show them how your sales opportunities look like and where on the market you generally take action. The acquired market knowledge should help with understanding the industry challenges.
Explain who your customer is (both by a company and by the job titles in the particular types of companies). Go through your customer personas. Highlight those where you can fulfill their needs quickly, they keep being your customer every year and are pleasant to work with. Knowing your customers is a must! It will help the sales team understand why, how, and who they’re helping with your solution, invest their time wisely, and target prospects with the right pitch. Without this knowledge, they’re practically doomed to failing to sell.
If you’re selling a solution, do not give it to your sales representatives first. E.g., if your solution is a CRM, let your newbie work without it for a month.
Equip them with excel and make them administer their prospects in it. After a month, finally, let them switch to your solution. They’ll notice a huge difference and a great relief. Then, they’ll see the benefits for your customers very clearly and will be able to sell better through empathy.
Another way to get to know customers is by interviewing the current ones about what motivated them to get the solution and how their work changed after implementing it.
Tell your sales team why your company created the solution. Describe its customers and what problems they’re looking to solve with you. Go through features, advantages, and benefits. The sales representatives should know as much as they can to identify themself with the solution and be authentic about selling it. They need to understand how the product works and its value. Only then can they pitch it.
Look into what/who is the direct and indirect competition your solution faces. Compare all solutions, and find differentiators. Make sure your sales team never badmouth your competitors. Instead, have unique selling points, branding, give your customers something extra, and delivery flawlessly. Competition makes the sales team work harder and ensures a desirable competitive atmosphere. Read more about how you and your team should think about competition.
You can either have the sales representatives shadow their meetings or pair them up to do sales meetings together.
Presales, knowing the complete detail about the solution, do most of the business.
The sales representative doesn’t need to aspire to be an expert on the tools, like the presales employees, but can get useful know-how. Any way you decide, just make sure they’re in close touch.
The sales section is probably the biggest chunk of your training. If you work with juniors, it can take them up to a year to work entirely independently. Each salesperson should have necessary traits like empathy, ability to listen, outgoingness, approachability, etc.
However, soon after hiring, you might discover you need to expand these and add additional communication and sales skills training.
Train your salespeople to truly listen after they ask a question. They should never ask for the sake of asking. Instead, they need to analyze every answer and follow up naturally. The more they ask and listen, the more they know.
Did you know that the listen/speak ratio is 80/20? And does your team know?
Make sure your team can identify a suitable, interested customer. We suggest you stick to 1 qualification method throughout the whole sales department.
We use BANT(C). Teach them to ask questions, listen properly, and collect all crucial information to work with to move further in the deal.
Based on preselected criteria, your sales team should be able to find, reach out and schedule a meeting with potential customers. They should also find upsell opportunities or know when to ask current customers to recommend your solution to other potential buyers.
Ensure they have all the soft skills knowledge, plus they can use prospecting tools.
OBJECTION PREVENTION AND HANDLING
You probably know the most common objections of your prospects. Write them all down, prepare responses, and attach this to their call scripts.
Ideally, train your team to avoid objections generally, aka think strategically.
Teach your team to present a demo version of your solution. The point is not to show everything a demo has to offer. Make sure they focus on the relevant stuff only. That all should stem from qualification.
Sales representatives literally match the features, their advantages, and benefits to the needs of a prospect.
Don’t let them perform a one-person show. Instead, teach them that a demo is driven by a discussion with the prospect.
Stories are a natural way to connect. People can identify themself with stories rather than statistics. Information shared through a story resonates stronger and longer.
Train your people in storytelling so prospects want to listen to them.
Educate your sales team on the topic of small talk. Don’t let them talk about the weather. Instead, show them how and where they can dig helpful information to talk about.
This way, they’ll discover the room’s energy level and align the rest of the meeting with it.
This training can be broken down into many others, like closing techniques, time management, empathy involvement, etc.
Great additions to your sales education are materials by Skip Miller, such as: “Above the Line/Below the line”, which helps to convince C-Suite people at your prospects’ and be in control of the sales process.
Train in and give your sales representatives the sales technologies they need to be effective. Effectivity increases the time spent with customers. Instead of doing everything manually while having an excellent system for making notes, schedule meetings, etc., they can genuinely focus on selling.
Tech and sales systems include anything like CRM, emailing sequences, Zoom, Calendly, any prospecting tools, but also your sales process.
Market, Solution, Sales, and Tech & Systems are “just” core sections that mostly fit any company type, size, and maturity. Training can be delivered internally, externally, via e-learning, workshops, and other various ways, which we explain in a follow-up article.
Section the training so that they’re in comprehensive groups and bearable amounts. The core ones are knowledge in the market, product, sales (and communication), and tech & systems. Adjust this to your specific needs.
Don’t expect your team to have an understanding and even grasp of each training immediately. The ideal scenario is putting everything into practice immediately. Becoming a great salesperson can take up to years. We know that, before they start selling, it's beneficial to understand these four core areas.
Training of salespeople does not equal staring at a PowerPoint presentation for hours! Read on if you want to know which training methods will help your salespeople move forward.READ NOW