Having a well-versed and highly-skilled sales team is an essential ingredient when it comes to the success of your entire business.
When you’re just starting and when it’s just you and maybe another salesperson, it’s not difficult to make a sales strategy, implement it, and learn from the results.
Over time, you’ll amass experience and expertise, and it will be easy to pass all the critical tips and tricks down to your first round of hires.
But as your company grows, the number your team members will increase too, and in order to keep the same standards and continue hitting your quota, you’ll have to find a way to scale your sales training efforts.
Here are a couple of useful sales training ideas to help you build a killer sales team.
- 1. Identify Your Team’s Strengths and Weaknesses
- 2. Nail the Elevator Pitch
- 3. Improve Active Listening Skills
- 4. Streamline the Communication Among Different Teams
- 5. Focus on Your Sales Reps’ Individual Strengths
- 6. Leverage the Selling Through Curiosity Training
- 7. Practice Objection Handling
- 8. Bring in External Expertise
1. Identify Your Team’s Strengths and Weaknesses
Before you start with your training, it’s essential to determine what your sales department is good at and what needs improvement.
This will allow you to structure your sales team properly too.
In order to scan your sales team and processes, it’s a good idea to establish the following:
What’s your value proposition?
This is one of the basic concepts your team should be familiar with.
However, in reality, many companies can’t precisely pinpoint and explain the reason why their target audience should opt for them instead of their competitor.
Make sure that every member of your sales team is on the same page, as well as that they have a clear idea of what your value proposition is.
Otherwise, they won’t be able to convey this to your potential customers.
Do you have a sales process in place?
It’s crucial to set up a clear procedure so that your new hires know every step of the sales process.
It will be much easier for them to find their footing if they know what their next activity should be.
What KPIs do you use to measure the effectiveness of your efforts?
Make sure to keep track of everything that needs to be monitored and have all these numbers accessible so that the members of your team know what to optimize.
This will allow you to set targets and see why some sales opportunities slip through the cracks.
For example, if there aren’t enough demos scheduled or a large portion of them don’t materialize into sales, you can trace this back and see where the leak is.
How do you handle sales growth?
Knowing where to look for new leads if your existing efforts don’t work, as well as having a list of different closing tactics to try out in case you want to increase your closing ratio, is crucial.
Have you picked the right compensation structure?
Compensation plays an important role when it comes to motivation and productivity.
But you need to identify whether your commission structure is encouraging the right behaviors.
Do you keep pace with the latest marketing trends?
Is your team proactive when it comes to experimenting with new approaches and channels?
Do they initiate the adoption of new technologies and strategies?
If the answer is no, then you should do something about it. Keeping up with the latest news and industry events will help your team stay competitive.
For example, you can task different team members each month with researching the latest industry trends or news on a weekly or monthly basis. Then they would share this information with the rest of the team.
Finally, it’s a good idea to invest in relevant industry research that will provide your team with exclusive insights that aren’t widespread or commonplace.
Is your team your most significant asset?
If it’s not, try to figure out what the problem is – is it about the people themselves, your corporate culture, or the training.
Depending on what you find out, some of these sales training ideas can be effective for improving the performance of your sales team.
2. Nail the Elevator Pitch
Salespeople need to make an impression on their prospects if they want to get a chance to present their offer.
And the problem is that they don’t have too much time to do that – 30 seconds is pretty much all they can count on.
That’s why crafting a stellar 30-second sales pitch should be a part of their mandatory training.
This skill will come in pretty handy for networking, cold calling, and cold emailing purposes.
Elements that constitute an effective elevator pitch are:
Everybody needs to understand what your company, product, or service is all about right away.
Stay away from jargon and tech vocabulary to make your pitch understandable.
Your pitch needs to condense the essence of your business.
Your prospect should be able to understand it after just a sentence or two. Otherwise, you’ll lose their attention before you even have a chance to explain why they will benefit from your product or service.
Whatever you say in your sales pitch has to be undeniable.
Your prospects should be attracted to your elevator pitch and ready to give you a chance.
t’s a good idea to develop a universal elevator pitch together with your team and encourage every individual team member to adjust it based on their personal traits.
However, they should stick to the main idea and keep things aligned.
Once everyone adjusted their rendition of the sales pitch, they should deliver it in front of one another and record the session.
After that, you can analyze individual pitches, hone them, and discuss what approach works best for different types of customers.
3. Improve Active Listening Skills
We frequently mention active listening as an essential factor in sales.
Being talkative isn’t the best characteristic of a salesperson, and in order to become successful, your new hires need to learn to listen carefully to what their prospects are telling them.
This is the best way to pick up subtle hints and seemingly unimportant remarks that prospects make during the conversation, such as how they’re feeling or what bothers them.
By paying attention and memorizing this, your sales team will unearth some critical details that will help them address their prospects’ pressing issues and win them over.
Practicing active listening means prompting your sales reps to quickly recap what the prospect was saying and summing up their main points.
Not only will this straighten out potential misunderstandings, but it will also show the prospects that they are being listened to and that they have the sales rep’s undivided attention.
4. Streamline the Communication Among Different Teams
No team in your company should be isolated and left alone to work on their tasks.
Effective communication among different departments is the key to success.
Besides, your sales reps need all the information they can get about the product, its potential downsides, as well as about customers and marketing initiatives in order to do their job properly.
Customer support and product management
Learning the ropes of customer support will give your sales team an insight into customers’ needs and commonly asked questions about your solution.
Similarly, if they get in touch with the product management team, they will be able to see the development of a new product or service features first-hand.
This way, they will be able to understand customer complaints and issues better as well as know the product or service inside out, which is essential for highlighting its benefits to potential customers.
Job shadowing is another valuable tactic it allows your sales reps to become familiar with how their coworkers from different departments do their job and vice versa.
This is much better than reading job descriptions or knowing individual tasks associated with that job.
By understanding their coworkers and their jobs better, your teams will communicate more smoothly, and potential roadblocks will be eliminated.
5. Focus on Your Sales Reps’ Individual Strengths
There’s not a single skill that closes the sale.
In other words, a different sales approach works for every individual customer. Similarly, your sales reps all have different inclinations and character traits, which make them excel in particular sales areas.
Instead of trying to build a cookie-cutter sales team, use these individual strengths, and focus on them. It’s best to allow every member of your team to develop and polish the sales skills they’re most comfortable with.
That way, you’ll have a versatile team capable of working with all types of customers.
Once you and your team establish these different competencies, it’s crucial to encourage them to develop these skills further.
When you hire a new sales rep, it will be much easier to offer them training in the area that best fits them with all these specialties on board.
6. Leverage the Selling Through Curiosity Training
This tactic goes hand in hand with active listening.
In a nutshell, selling through curiosity relies on asking specific questions whose purpose is to uncover prospects’ pain points, goals, fears, and concerns.
So, this concept is based on curiosity, but the trick is to make things conversational – prospects shouldn’t feel as if they’re being cross-examined.
It’s about establishing a natural, two-way conversation in which a sales rep is genuinely interested to learn more about a prospect and their business.
To achieve this, sales reps should learn to ask the right questions – the ones that will help them realize the “why” behind their prospects’ motivations.
In other words, we’re not talking about finding out what prospects do and how they do it, but why they do it.
The purpose of these questions is to understand prospects’ needs on a profound level and offer them the best solution.
Present your sales reps with different scenarios and ask them to come up with questions they’d ask a potential prospect. After this exercise, ask them to share their solutions and discuss them with their colleagues.
7. Practice Objection Handling
Every company, regardless of its size, should compile a list of the most common sales objections and work on finding a way to overcome each of them.
The goal is to have a viable counterargument that will convince the indecisive prospect to make up their mind and purchase from you.
The best way to do this is to analyze every objection with your team and come up with several possible solutions that will be tested.
Role-play calls between new hires and their managers, or senior colleagues can be an excellent method for implementing this strategy and picking up some tricks for handling such situations.
More experienced salespeople should be present when a new rep starts talking to prospects. Sometimes they will come across a difficult customer, and that can completely ruin their self-confidence.
Rookies need guidance and a sense of direction, and given that sales objections can seem unsurmountable, they shouldn’t be left to their own devices during this stage.
8. Bring in External Expertise
Sales has dramatically evolved over the past decade.
A lot of new tools and technologies intended to make sales reps’ lives easier have emerged. But the trouble is that this abundance of different options can be overwhelming.
You can’t expect your sales team to be proficient in using social media, CRM, email marketing, or business process automation on their own.
Instead of setting high expectations and criticizing your sales reps if they underperform, think about bringing in outside experts to train your sales team.
Organize workshops, encourage them to follow the latest podcast trends, invite industry leaders to talk to your team, and send your sales reps off to relevant conferences as this will allow them to expand their knowledge and diversify their efforts.
Building a successful sales team is a process. While hiring top talent is always a good idea, you still have to invest in training your sales reps and enable them to grow both individually and as a team. Regardless of whether your sales team consists of newbies or seasoned professionals, using these training tactics will help them grow and improve their skillset.