If you’re a business owner I don’t have to tell you that business is tough. Faced with increased competition from companies across the street and just as easily from those that are abroad, it’s ever more difficult to get your “piece of the pie.” The Internet has made everyone a shopper and winning and retaining clients requires highly skilled, well-trained and motivated sales professionals that can go out and “beat” the competition.
Structured sales training is not discretionary but should play an integral part in your employee development endeavors. For every dollar and hour that you invest in sales training it will come back to you ten-fold in increased revenues, improved sales success and conversion. As a value-add, your sales reps will be more confident and better motivated throughout the sales process.
Here are some things to consider if you are interested in sales training for your team:
- Regardless of whether or you have an in-house training department or a sales manager that implements training it is always a good idea to bring in an occasional outside sales training resource to augment and validate the training you are doing in-house. Be certain to evaluate the outside resources carefully so that you know that their training methodology and delivery style is in sync with your corporate culture.
- Training is not a one-time event; instead it should be a regular part of your employee development endeavors. The impact of training can fade over time and the skills and techniques that are imparted and embraced during the training itself will begin to soften over time. In order to keep your sales reps at the top of their game it’s important to keep their skills refreshed through regularly scheduled training.
- Training should be fun. Are your sales reps reluctant to attend sales meetings or skills training sessions? If so review the agenda and how the material is being presented to assess whether or not improvements should be made. The best training programs are a combination of lecture, group discussion, exercises, role-play simulations and games and they tend to be very interactive.
- Monitor progress and sales results so that you can continually reinforce the sales skills that remain challenging for the reps. While sales stats tell one part of the story, a second part can only be revealed through the monitoring of sales phone calls or accompanying sales reps on their in-person presentations. Many outside sales resources can undertake these activities as well as provide onsite training.
- Stay current. The sales climate changes very quickly and a skill that was once extremely important can become obsolete. For example do you remember when it was critically important to know how to deal with gatekeepers. I’m not saying that it is a “bad” skill to have now but “gatekeeping” has been replaced by voicemail and automated attendants. Sales reps must know how maneuver their way through the present environment if they want to be successful.
Comprehensive ongoing training is designed to reinforce and enhance the sales competencies of your sales reps and improve their overall performance. Sales is the engine that drives your business. Providing training for those that are responsible for your success should never be ignored.