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Sales Training Program: The thin line between Success and Failure

A well-designed sales training program is the deciding factor between an organization going bust or being successful. A sales training program aims to improve the seller’s knowledge, skills, and traits that allow them to close deals and achieve their targets. According to the National Society Of Sales Training Executives, USA, “Sales Training is the intentional and sound application of ordinary sense to the problem of helping the sales personnel to make the most of their talents.”

The quality of ¬†virtual sales training you provide to your sales team will shape the future of your company’s future and their career graphs. To have an effective sales training program, you need to change the attitude and behavior of the seller. Therefore, it needs to be looked at as a change management exercise.

What is a Sales Training Program?

A Good Sales Training program is a comprehensive training module that helps educate, provide and develop specific skills required by the sales force to improve their performance. It also helps them to identify and correct deficiencies in their performances. In order to maximize the benefits to the sales force, a sales training program must cover and provide the following aspects:

  • Education: Sales Training should be educational. It provides information about the product to the sales force – features, specifications, pricing, models, etc. Of course, the main objective of the program remains improving sales skills. This includes learning consumer behavior and motives and new techniques to close sales based on the client’s input. So, it allows the sales team to sell the product effectively and efficiently.
  • Change Management Initiative: Change management is how a company implements and describes changes in its internal and external functioning. Sales Training has to be a Change Management initiative. The training and lessons taught in the training program have to be imbibed by the trainee. This will result in the personal development of the trainee and create new opportunities and techniques to close a sales deal.
  • Monitoring, Feedback, and Continued Support: An effective sales training program lends extended support to the sales force. Tracking sales activities, accurate sales analysis, and maintaining correct records are all ways the sales force needs to be supported. The salesperson and the management can analyse the performance, strong points, and areas of improvement and improve accordingly.

Key Components Of A Successful Sales Training Program:

Here are some components that are an integral part of an effective sales training program:

  • Essential Sales Skills: This includes identifying sales prospects and collating data. It also provides training on how to make cold calls and send out cold emails for sales pitches. This component also ensures training the sales force to get new clients on board, make the appropriate proposals for the deals and close the deals.
  • Providing An Understanding Of The Sales Model Of The Organization: Teaching new hires about the sales model of your organization is an essential step in the sales training program. If the new employees have previous sales experience, it may differ from the one your organization follows. It is vital that this is a component of your sales training program. It serves as a learning ground for new hires and acts as a refresher for the team’s older members. This part should ideally include –
  1. Preferred method of generating sales leads.
  2. Qualifying of prospects.
  3. The process of sales funnelling that your organization uses.
  4.  Drafting Proposals.
  5. Cross-selling and Upselling.
  6. Closing a deal and ensuring a great sales experience for the customer.
  • Detailed Market and Product Information: Detailed product and market information are essential to the sales team. The salesperson must be well versed with all details regarding the product in question- dimensions, features, troubleshooting, pricing etc. They should also be made aware of the unique selling points of your products and what makes them stand apart from their counterparts in the market. This is especially true if your product is a new entrant in its segment. This enables the sales team to make presentations and submit proposals effectively and efficiently. Current market research and trends allow them to produce an effective sales pitch and also help them to filter out potential clientele.
  • Consumer Experience: Empathy for the customer and his experience during the entire sales exercise is essential for a salesperson to cultivate. Your program must have a module on customer experience, especially for the recruits. Studies show that the most successful sales representatives are the ones that empathize with the feelings of the customer all through the sales process, starting from initial contact to the closing of the deal. This helps them guide the client through the operation of the sale and close the deal.
  • CRM training: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is essential for any sales team. It ensures a loyal client base, repetitive orders, customer referrals, etc., thereby helping the sales force meet their sales targets. Gamification and role play are essential tools in the training of this aspect of sales. Another vital tool is observing on the job.
  • Team Building Exercises: Team building exercises help create a bond when a new employee is inducted into the team. They also help strengthen the bonds that form the bedrock of the interpersonal relationships between the members of a sales team. Ideally, the trainers should shake up and shuffle the group members of the groups to help them get to know each other. This also brings the team members used to working with people of different temperaments, which allows them on the field. These activities should be conducted regularly to teach and encourage team building and leadership qualities in the sales force.
  • Assessment: Self-assessment and evaluation by the trainers are vital to bringing about the change in the sales team and their outlook. It allows the trainees to know and enhance their strengths and recognize and work on their weak points. The assessments also help measure the efficacy of the training module. Undertaking the same evaluation at different stages of the training program helps evaluate and assess the trainee’s growth. It also helps understand the growth curve of the individual.

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