In my 40+ years in and around sales training, I have experienced many different sales training methodologies either as a participant or facilitator and now as a marketer.
There are many good training programs out there, some of them free and virtual, but there are three key things that differentiate professional sales training that will “stick”.
Professional Sales Training Tips
Professional sales training begins with the most basic of skills. Professional sales reps are trained to establish relationships, listen attentively and ask good questions that allow them to understand their customers’ needs. Professional salespeople tend to be very personable, enthusiastic, and empathetic.
When hiring new sales representatives it is important for companies to provide effective training programs. Here at Anthony Cole Training Group, we offer online sales training courses and a suite of sales training programs that can help grow and scale your sales team’s operations.
First, it must be systematic.
Any organization (including ours!) can come in and do a keynote or workshop and address a sales or sales management skill to get your team revved up.
But that approach is short-lived, and while your salespeople may get something out of it, they likely will not change sales behavior long term.
Professional sales training that has an impact must have a process.
For example, if your company needs to find more leads, create more outreaches and prospects, then you must implement a system to introduce desired behaviors, coach to improve skills, and inspect activity.
In our organization (we call our prospect’s “ducks”) we have a goal and track how many duck calls and appointments we have daily, weekly, and monthly.
Our CGO then coaches to that behavior using weekly huddles and 1-on-1 coaching time.
The duck tracking is shared with the entire sales and management team so that all activity is transparent.
Without a doubt, when we implement, coach, and track this activity, our pipeline of qualified prospects goes up.
The second key is that effective professional sales training is customized.
You can certainly learn some basic sales skills from a one-size-fits-all selling system, but today’s buyer is informed and more sophisticated.
Today, salespeople must be more consultative, starting with a deeper understanding of their prospect’s business, their concerns, and what is getting in the way of their growth.
So professional sales training is most effective when it addresses the nuances of certain industries.
For example, we work with many community banks so we must understand that many banks are dealing with compressed margins, are flush with deposits, and must attract loan portfolios to maintain profits.
When we understand what is driving the business, we can ask the right questions to understand what is on the hearts and minds of our community bank CEOs.
That way we can better provide input and potential recommendations to help them.
If you are evaluating professional sales training, make sure it is customizable to your industry.
The third key to professional sales training is your leadership.
We have the benefit of working with a super-regional bank who, many years ago, told us about the money they had spent over the years on sales training, wasted.
They had determined that without top-level leadership, and skilled sales management, the sales training would not stick or change behavior.
Probably the most important key to professional sales training is that the Leader is involved, understands their role as steward, and inspector of adoption – we call this the Shadow of the Leader.
Starting with an evaluation to understand specific sales management skills, a professional sales training program should begin with sales managers, helping them with the essential skills of performance management, coaching, motivating, recruiting, and coaching an effective sales approach.
Once your organization has that in place, only then should you implement a sales training program.
From COO & CMO, Jeni Wehrmeyer