We all learn differently. In different speeds and different forms. There’s a high chance that your sales team is a diverse group of people, where individuals have their own specific training needs. If you’re about to kick off or revisit your sales training program, focus on making it effective by including more training forms rather than just sticking to presentations.
Most learning usually happens during onboarding. However, don’t underestimate the benefits of regular training sessions for your sales team. The market evolves and changes constantly, so make sure you’re keeping up with it, not just by improving your product but also your sales team.
We’ve already put together the four core areas for training your salespeople. In this article, we’d love to share the training methods that work the best for us. We realize that each company has its own company-specific training needs.
Always push to formalize the internal know-how, so it’s easily transferrable to the sales team members or the newbies. Store this material in one place easy to reach for everyone. Improve the materials constantly and keep adding related topics.
Sales is complex, and inevitably, you’ll run into areas where you’ll need to invite an external coach if you want to expand the knowledge further on.
A good example are, in sales so needed, topics from psychology, like “typologies of personalities” or “psychology of negotiation”, where you’ll need to invite a specialist to deliver them correctly.
External coaches can cost a pretty penny, and the quality is never ensured. When training your salespeople, you can always include your real use cases as examples, which makes the training more relevant than it would be with an “outsider”. Therefore, whenever you can, use your own powers, and only for broadening your know-how, invite specialists.
Before you launch an education system in your company, keep in mind that what makes the real difference is to focus on the change of behavior of your team. It’s not just about handing over the know-how. It’s like in sport - in one coaching session, you won’t become a tennis master.
Repetition and training are the key. Bear in mind that people are generally resistant to change, so be patient; it’ll take some time to adopt new systems.
We all know that spending a half-day or a day on a workshop without any follow-ups doesn’t work. The tragic statistics tell you that people, on average, remember only 10% of the know-how presented in a workshop. Unfortunately, the majority of the education within the companies looks just like this. So what is the right approach?
IT industry is an inspiration in many aspects for the whole world. When it comes to education, we can learn from it as well. How do IT guys solve problems? They search for solutions to problems in their online communities, where they’ll find the logic beyond it. Right after, they can solve their problems.
Look at the aspects: peer learning, just enough know-how they needed to have, just relevant for them, just in time they needed to use it and applied right after.
Similarly, we should look at education in general: small pieces of know-how, when it’s relevant for the audience, and the change to use it immediately.
PRESENTATIONS AND WORKSHOPS
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?
BUDDY SYSTEM AND PEER LEARNING
The best know-how is verified by colleagues in the field, so one of the best ways of transferring knowledge is between sales team members, mostly from senior sales representatives to the less experienced ones.
Especially newbies with a designated “buddy” will benefit from seeing how things are authentically done by more experienced sales team members, rather than just believing the theory in presentations.
The more self-sufficient your team is, the freer your hands are. The seniors will recap and refresh what they already know for themself, too.
Ideally, have the seniors create training materials you can always use later. If a sales representative has mastered a new topic in sales or a newbie brings one in-house, have them train the rest of the representatives on it.
E-LEARNING TRAINING SYSTEM
Create your own educational system. If you already have all your company-specific training, upload it on a website.
E-learning ensures that those who enrolled will have just enough training, just for them and just in time. Set a deadline for completing training, and let the “students” set their own style and pace.
E-learning materials are infinitely reusable, studying requires no trainer, and the training platforms are usually user and budget-friendly.
Check these out: EdApp, Thinkific, Coursera, Udemy, pick one, and dive in.
In these platforms, you can include texts, videos (by EBSCO, people are up to 75% more likely to watch a video than they are to read documents or articles), infographics, statistics, handout materials, tests, etc. in your training.
When students finish the e-training, check what they’ve learned and then keep getting back to it.
One of the most significant advantages is that e-learning is very easily accessible on smart devices, which, especially the millennials and Gen-Z generation, prefer.
ONLINE CONTENT: WEBINARS, BLOGS, NEWSLETTERS AND PODCASTS
Make reading sales blogs and listening to great podcasts a habit. To hear sales information from the best in your industry is an eye-opening experience.
Put the readings or playlists together in a library, and make sure your team follows them. They’ll appreciate the recommendation from your side, and it also saves them time.
Many exciting events and webinars are happening every day, so embrace your team to join the interesting ones. Just like with the e-learning system, it’s easily accessible anywhere where there’s internet access.
Should they run into or learn something new or worth sharing, make them share it with the rest of the team.
Check out John Barrows or Steli Efti’s Close.io blog.
There’s probably no single-standing effective method for delivering training to your sales team. Each company has its own needs and specifics in education. Also, each sales representative prefers and has their own learning style and pace. Therefore, if you’re hesitating which one is the one for you, testing and then balancing all the methods mentioned above seems like a good option.
According to Gallup, Gen Z and millennials now make up 46% of the full-time workforce in the US. These groups are inclined to smartphones and web-based learning generally, so e-learning and online content are smart strategies for your future. Give your sales team just enough, just for them and just in time training. It will grow them and followingly your business. Give them the best training via the most suitable tools.
Training a sales team needs to have a system, otherwise, it may easily become a tangle of random courses and workshops. Find out how to create a functional training program.READ NOW