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How to tailor your sales training to your business so your team delivers results

The sales team is the lifeblood of many businesses. They’re the ones who’re on the frontline, the public face of your company, the ones who are generating revenue for you, day in and day out. Given how important an effective sales team is, ask yourself: do your sales training programs provide them with the support your staff need?

Despite the crucial role sales staff carry out, many sales leaders think that all they need to do is throw a sales playbook in their general direction, hold a few generic training sessions and listen in on the first few calls to make sure they’re following the script. After all, in the fast paced world of modern business, it’s hard to find time to squeeze everything in.

Yet you neglect staff education at your peril. Effective sales training programs deliver a return on investment (ROI) that means they pay for themselves many times over.

If you’re tired of the average results that come with average sales approaches, read on. In this blog post, we look at what you need to consider when you’re looking to invest in sales training programs so your team can deliver the kinds of results your bottom line needs.

  1. Start as you mean to go on

Many companies are too short sighted to realize that time taken to set sales staff up to succeed right from the start will pay dividends later. In the hurry of getting a rep behind the phones, they neglect to equip them with the skills they need to sell effectively.

At Be Your Customers™, we teach a personalized approach that means that sales staff communicate with each customer on an individual level. While it might not be possible to support new recruits to develop this same depth of understanding right from the start, nevertheless, your sales training programs should provide salespeople with a strong foundation in skills so they can sell more products right from the start, making you more money in the long term.

  1. Give someone sole responsibility for organizing training

Ever hear the saying too many cooks spoil the broth? In order to deliver consistent sales training programs across your organization, you need one person to coordinate it all. This will ensure that you have a consistent approach, with consistent targets – and it makes it easier to identify what works and what doesn’t work.

When different sales leaders control their own training, you risk wasting valuable time and resources on programs that aren’t right for you, or won’t bring the results you want. There’s also the risk of losing staff when they don’t get the support they need – and a high staff turnover is costly. Finding the right sales training programs for your business doesn’t just save money in terms of education; it saves you needing to find new staff all the time. Staff who feel valued and appreciated are more likely to stay with you and work harder to hit their targets – and what says that you value someone more than spending money on their career development?

  1. Build from the ground up

When you’re developing sales training programs for your business, it’s best to start from nothing, with no assumptions or pre-conceived notions. While you might think that your current programs work well, it may be that there’s a much better way of training your staff, so be open minded at this stage.

Talk to all your top reps to discover what it is they do that makes them so successful. At this stage, you’re looking to put together a list of all the core skills and competencies every sales rep needs to succeed in your business.

While there are certain principles that are universal to sales, there will also be specific attitudes and approaches that are confined to your industry or product. A sales script can only take you so far and the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. You need to empower your sales reps to go beyond the script and deal with customers as individuals, communicating with them in the way that means they’ll actually listen.

This is why it’s not good enough go with generic sales training. It has to be something tailored to your unique needs.

  1. Support your reps as individuals

Once you’ve identified the skills you want all your sales reps to have, you then need to determine which level each individual is at, either beginner, intermediate, or advanced. This will help you match the training to the rep.

The chances are high that most of your sales team will have a mix of abilities across the skills and the goal of your training should be to get everyone to an advanced level to the point that selling is as natural as breathing to them. Of course, not everyone is capable of performing at such a high level, but even if a beginner only ends up with an intermediate ability across the board that will still massively improve their performance.

Once you’ve established how you’re going to train new sales reps, naturally, you’ll want everyone to start with the same training. However, as staff develop and progress, you’ll need to introduce different training according to the role and experience of your reps. You may also find that different people progress at different rates, so as you continue to offer training, reps will need to be divided up according to their strengths and weaknesses to ensure that everyone receives the support they need to continue to improve.

While you’ll always have your superstar sales reps, if they’re supported by a team of highly competent individuals, everyone will be inspired to do better. And you may be surprised to discover a few new superstars along the way.

  1. Ask for help

How’s the quickest way to get to where you want to go? Ask for directions!

Having determined what kind of training your business needs, and identified the skills gaps in your team, it’s now time to start putting together your sales training programs. However, while you might know what you want topics you want to cover in your training, you might not know the best way to communicate the lessons or how to get your staff to put what they’ve learned into practice.

This is where a business mentor comes in. They can help you prioritize your training expenditure, to help you get the best ROI right from the start. They’ll also tell you the most important things to focus on – and tell you about any considerations you may have missed, so that you’ve got all the angles covered. They can even help you put together your sales training for maximum effect.

At Be Your Customers™, our mentors take the time you need to truly understand your business so that your staff get the training they need. All our mentors have hands-on industry experience, so they know what works and what doesn’t. They’ll help you avoid any potential pitfalls so that you don’t make any costly mistakes.

  1. Monitor results

Your sales training programs should have achievable, measureable goals. This will allow you to track the effectiveness of your training and adjust as necessary. It will also help you identify any reps who may need extra support or who may simply not be suited to sales within your company.

Your mentor will be able to help you determine your targets and assist you in adapting your training moving forward. They can advise you on alternatives if you need to change anything about your training and help you understand your options.

  1. Practise, practise, practise!

Having said that it’s worth taking time out when a new recruit starts to train them in your sales methods, at the same time, you don’t want to spend too long in the classroom. Experiential learning is the best way to master any new skill, and all reps should be on the phones by the end of their first week so that they can put what they’ve learned into practise and start honing their selling skills.

After all, effective selling revolves around talking to people, so the sooner they can start dealing with real life clients, the sooner they’ll be able to discover why you’ve trained them in a particular method or technique.

Once you’ve watched your sales reps in action, you‘ll be able to progress with the training that best suits their needs to develop even better salespeople.

Sales training is an ongoing process. It doesn’t stop after that initial introductory session. You should make a commitment to regular training for your entire salesforce, regardless of experience or achievement. There’s always a better way of doing things, new techniques to learn, existing methods to improve.

Once you’ve seen how effective the right sales training programs can be, you’ll wonder why you didn’t invest in them sooner. If you need any help or advice on putting together the right program for your business, Be Your Customers™ is always happy to help.