What Is A Sales Training ?
Sales Training Defined: Sales training is the process of improving seller skills, knowledge, and attributes to drive seller behavioral change and maximize sales success for individual, group or company.
The global market for sales training is approximately $5 billion. But still most training program fails to deliver lasting results as desire. This is because most companies do not define and approach training program properly as it needed. To deliver effective training program, you need to redefine what sales training is. You need to focus on changing your sellers’ behaviors to drive sales results and support this change as a change management initiative.
A Modern Approach to Sales Training
Sales training used to be about developing specific skills in a first week of training program. Sellers would attend training, learn new sales skills and then were expected to immediately apply those skills to their jobs. For the most part, they were left to their own devices. It was up to the seller to retain the information from the training and recognize when and where to apply it.
When you consider that 70% training forget within first week training program if not reinforced, it’s no wonder that most training was not producing the desired results over the long term for anyone.
With this knowledge, and the scars from a few training program failures, companies moved to improve training program with reinforcement. Blended learning became an industry buzz word. It was no longer about a 1- or 2-day training program. Training now included assessment, e Learning, practical knowledge, demonstration and many more.
While blended learning has been a step in the right direction, especially in helping sellers remember the training itself, oftentimes it does not go far enough to drive behavioral changes.
The most effective training program focuses on true behavior change. Skills need to be learned, absorbed, and applied on the job with someone from senior
The Most Effective Sales Training
The most effective sales training takes into account all of the positive learning advances of the last decade and adds:
Transformation Experience: For true behavior change to take hold, sellers need to go through a transformation experience. There are psychological principals that need to be applied to effect long-term behavior change. This includes understanding how adults learn and how people work (and work together).
Coaching: Coaching and support from first-line sales managers is critical for driving behavioral change. When applying new skills, sellers need to know exactly what to do, have support for when they’re not in their comfort zone, need feedback to calibrate their behaviors, and need to be held accountable for taking action and being productive.
Leadership Support: It’s not enough to just develop the desired sales skills. You also need a work culture that drives and supports top sales performance, and leadership that prioritizes sales success.
Motivation: Without motivation, you won’t change sellers’ behaviors. Sales motivation goes beyond compensation. In one of our research studies, we found that Value-Driving Sales Organizations had sellers who were much more motivated than The Rest. When sellers believe they make a true difference for their customers, they’re much more motivated to sell.
Value: When sellers create value and are valuable to buyers, they win. All training program must connect to the value you can bring forth to your buyers. For the most successful training program, and to achieve—and maintain—top performance, you need value to be the core focus.
Sales Training Programs
Sales training can be broken down into a number of topics and skills. Training programs should cover the spectrum of the sales process, from finding new clients and winning sales opportunities to growing accounts and managing sellers.
Sales training topics that are core to driving the greatest success and improvements in sales competencies include:
Sales Opportunity Management
Strategic and Key Account Management
Seller Productivity and Accountability
Sales Training Delivery and Making It Stick
Live training is a key part of any training initiative, but it’s important to note that what happens after the training is equally as—if not more—important than what happens in the training.
There are generally 3 ways live training can be developed and delivered:
Develop your own programs
License third party programs and have your trainers certified to deliver the methodology
Partner with a third-party company
Each has its advantages and disadvantages and should be leveraged for different companies depending on their size and goals.
Regardless of the initial all training program should have a robust reinforcement plan in place. Sales coaching around goal setting, action planning, execution, and ongoing accountability is key to driving long-term behavior change in sellers.
To be a truly successful sales organization, stop thinking about sales training as a way to build certain skills and start thinking of it as a change initiative. When you do this, you’re likely to get much stronger results.