We’re getting business in, but I wonder how much more we leave on the table. We could be in the field more to drive training with sales reps and managers. We’re struggling to put together a sales rep training manual that we can use to train salespeople to deliver better. Then I have to figure out who should be doing the training and how to do it efficiently and effectively. I’m not sure the best way to increase our sales efforts and training for our salespeople.
Thoughts of the Day: Training salespeople to deliver better results is an intelligent place to start when looking to maximize your sales team. Creating sales materials to conduct and reinforce training will help you be consistent when training existing and new sales reps. Good to start to assess the needs of various people in the field, as they’re probably not all at the same stage of development. Work smarter, not harder – look for tools already existing on the market and build on them. Be sure to measure before and after results to see what produces the best results.
If you can help your salespeople deliver better results, everybody wins. And good salespeople like to win.
Most salespeople can be impatient. They want to engage with customers, out in the field, make connections, close deals, etc. Good salespeople who deliver better may find spending time in classroom training skills is a distraction from getting more business. Keep training to short bursts, and come in prepared – try not to waste any time, and get straight to work. Consider supplementing the sales team’s knowledge. Ask product experts around the company to present what makes the products or services great. Create a competitive profile to hand out, showing how your company’s offers compare to other organizations. Contact outside sales training experts to help you build and implement your sales training tools.
Get to know your sales force.
Break them into groups – entry-level, average, expert – in both product knowledge and sales skills. To help you with the sorting process, look at the results your salespeople already produce. Find out what your experts know how to do that everyone else hasn’t yet figured out.
For your beginners, start with sales basics:
- Think about both skills and processes.
- What constitutes a good sales call?
- How does the sales process unfold? What information needs to be gathered and conveyed at each stage of the sales process? And in what order to achieve top sales outcomes?
Ask your top performers to help you map out the topics to cover.
For people in the middle, producing average results:
- It’s probably more about the sales process than technical knowledge about the company and its products.
- Either they know what to do, are skipping crucial steps, or are missing insights on what to do next.
- Focus on practicing every step in the sales process, asking for commitments at each stage.
- Create a standard approach to conducting intro calls, gathering information, qualifying prospects, confirming needs, creating and delivering proposals, and asking for the business.
- Once people practice in the classroom, head out into the field for one-on-one time.
Enlist top salespeople who deliver better as mentors to guide and coach others on how to boost results.
If you have someone in the field who does an excellent job tracking prospects, ask what format they use. Same for proposals and every other part of the selling process. Use their tools to build standard forms everyone in sales can use. In other words, adopt and adapt tools that successful people already use.
Keep track of results as you implement training. Look for increased prospects identified, several initial meetings, proposals presented, closed, size, and quality of sales completed. Focus on the most profitable deals, the best quality customers, and how to get more.