No matter whether you’re building or scaling your sales team and business, a structured approach to sales training is a must.
While every experienced salesperson has their own bag of tricks they use, your new team sales team members have to learn the ropes, and only after they understand the basics, start polishing their unique set of moves.
That’s why it’s important to always have sales training procedures in place and allow your rookies to have access to the best resources, be it your seasoned veterans, somebody outside of your organization, or books and programs.
Stats say that if there’s no systematic and ongoing approach to learning, almost 90% of what’s initially learned will be forgotten within the first month.
After covering some of the most important sales topics, including the sales process, sales methodology, as well as different selling techniques, it’s only natural to discuss sales training techniques to help your team earn their stripes
1. Implement Job Shadowing
This is one of the most effective and convenient sales training techniques and should be a part of every well-structured employee onboarding program.
Job shadowing allows your new sales rep to follow, closely observe, and learn from a senior sales professional from your company.
With job shadowing, newbies will have an opportunity to get acquainted with the ins and outs of being a sales rep, and they’ll have a significantly richer experience than if they only read about their new job.
Besides seeing and understanding the nitty-gritty details of the sales profession, trainees will also be able to:
- watch how a more experienced employee does their job,
- learn everything about the key deliverables expected from them, and
- get acquainted with how their position interacts with other departments.
What’s great about this approach is that your new sales rep will see all the aspects of their job, as they will attend meetings and conferences, listen to phone calls with prospects, visit customers, and generally speaking prepare for their profession.
2. Hands-On Training Is a Must
Your trainees need to step out in the real world of sales and have a lot of hands-on experience.
No matter how much they learn on their own, they won’t be able to achieve the needed level of proficiency without field training.
Team up your every new sales rep with an experienced teammate so that they can go through the process together and repeat it.
However, it’s crucial not to underestimate your junior team members. Experienced sales reps should encourage them to share their insights because that way, both parties can benefit – newbies might have some fresh ideas, while veterans bring their expertise to the table.
Improvisation training is another great way for your entire team to polish their sales chops and up their game. Play them recordings of previous sales calls, both successful and challenging ones, and start a conversation about what could have been done in a different manner.
The purpose of this approach is for your sales reps to learn from successful calls and obtain fresh insights into dealing with different problems, roadblocks, and sales objections.
But that’s not all – they will also get to understand how to offer constructive criticism and work together as a team.
3. Take Advantage of Microlearning
Your sales reps won’t benefit much if you flood them with an avalanche of sales-oriented content and media.
They’re already overwhelmed with all kinds of information on their new job, and it can be hard for them to memorize everything.
Instead of organizing multi-day sales training programs, it’s much better to provide them with practical tips, notifications, short examples, and even encouragements through email, text messages, or sales training software.
Microlearning focuses on small learning units and bite-sized chunks of information. Its main power lies in the fact that your reps will get their training in small doses that aren’t tiring or boring.
Take a page from TED Talks and introduce shorter sessions, such as 15-minute increments that are easy to consume and digest.
That way, you’ll keep your sales reps engaged and ensure that the information you provide will be retained.
4. Use Success Stories
Reading tips about how to achieve success is one thing – seeing how success looks like on an example is something totally different.
So, don’t simply discuss different sales theories without backing them up with real-world success stories.
In order to get in the zone, your sales reps need to be inspired, and there’s nothing better for pushing them towards success than stories and detailed case studies that pinpoint what works and what doesn’t – and provide a reasonable explanation why.
Show them how the entire process of a successful sale went, analyze different parameters and metrics, and try to identify patterns.
After this, it’s crucial to divide the process into actionable steps so that your team knows how to implement them.
It’s a good idea to practice an analyzed case study in the field as that’s how your sales reps will have a context and acquire self-confidence once they realize that these steps actually work.
5. Include Thought Leaders in the Training Process
You can ask people with strong leadership traits from your company and industry to participate in some of your sales workshops.
Their insights and experience will be valuable to your entire sales team and help them understand what it takes to become a great salesperson.
It’s a good idea to organize such events once a month and bring experts from different sales areas so that you cover different topics. An authority on social selling, closing complicated deals, or feature-benefit selling will give your team an opportunity to learn from the best and polish their different sales skills.
Every time a sales expert specializing in a particular selling technique shares their tips and tricks, make sure that your team practices that approach in real life. This will allow them to identify their own preferences and talents.
6. Focus on Versatility
Not every salesperson is the same.
Everybody has a set of unique talents and skills, and that’s the reason why sales reps incline towards a particular sales approach.
Don’t even try to create a uniform team of salespeople ready to handle every single client that comes along. It’s much better to identify their strengths and help them become their best selves.
Encourage them to team up with other sales reps who specialize in a different field so that they can support each other, collaborate, and benefit from cross-training.
However, once every member of your team has fulfilled their potential and become an expert in a particular field, make sure that their weaknesses are addressed and improved.
7. Practice Active Listening
Active listening is a critical sales skill, and your team needs to be proficient in it.
The thing is that sometimes sales reps get carried away when they’re enthusiastic about the product they sell, and they don’t even notice that they start talking over the customer.
While it’s great to believe in what you’re selling, and be excited to share all the cool benefits and functionalities that will make your prospects’ lives much easier, it’s even more important to understand when it’s time to stop and listen.
Since listening to your prospects is a tactic that will provide you with lots of valuable information as well as allow you to better understand and connect with them, your team will greatly benefit from active listening training.
What’s even more important, with the help of active listening, your team will be able to ask the right sales qualifying questions and identify a bad prospect right away.
It’s best to split your team into groups of two and instruct them to practice this kind of communication with each other. You can also explore how to improve team communication, use better engagement and productivity techniques. That’s how they will be able to focus on their body language, learn to look prospects in the eye, echo back what they hear, and nod their head in order to show that they’re listening.
By practicing all this with a co-worker, they will be more relaxed which means that it will be easier for them to notice the good things and mistakes they make.
Hiring top talent is important, but you can’t expect your new team members to show and reach their full potential without proper sales training techniques. These tips will help you create a synchronized team of sales professionals capable of closing almost every deal.