Seeking to Improve Your Sales Training? Look to Hybrids

Plucots? Peacharine? Plueberry? In search for the perfect fruit, breeders are creating new hybrids. These hybrids seek to be juicier, sweeter, and easier to eat. As I walk through the grocery store and notice these new hybrids, it reminded me that a corollary exists for sales training. Just as people buy fruits they’re familiar with, companies have historically brought sales training around easily identified skills like: sales strategy, call execution, and negotiation. Why? Well first, that is how training vendors have organized their training offerings. Second, decision-makers are familiar with these topic programs – they’ve been around a long time and many decision-makers have been through them. However, just as our fruit breeding friends have become more innovative so is the case with sales training companies.

The sales training equivalent of a Peacharine has now been developed, tested, and the results look very promising. Second, if you are a major company in the B2B market you have already done the “topic” programs. Doing another one or replacing one with another is unlikely to move the needle on sales effectiveness. As a matter of fact the replacement approach is likely to lead to a degrading of results because the pluses of having a common language will be lost. Programs that focus only on one topic are not optimized to help a sales team meet a company’s strategic initiatives. To achieve a strategic initiative, effective sales training needs to be organized around achieving the strategic initiative – incorporating whatever skill sets and bodies of knowledge required to drive the initiative. In other words – a sales training hybrid. Today sales people must possess a new integrated skill set to get the job done successfully. They won’t develop this integrated skill set by attending more sales training programs – each containing a piece of the puzzle and leaving it up to sales people to “connect the dots”. Although some will, many won’t. For those of us in sales training meeting this challenge requires the following:

Working with the sales leadership to understand the nature and scope of the company’s strategic initiatives.
Identifying the new skill sets needed to drive the initiative and crafting them into learnable chunks.
Recognizing that programs need to be customizedto a greater degree than in times past.
Crafting hybrid programs that utilize state-of-the-art learning designsthat help sales reps learn the skill sets and connect the dots.
While the plums and cherries individually are quite tasty, there is a place for the Plueberry. The Peacharine won’t move peaches and nectarines off green grocers shelves. And plums and apricots will still be desired, along with Pluots. Well, the same is true with sales training. There is still a need for topic programs to master the sales essentials like how to plan and execute a call. But, there is also an emerging need to take the next step – hybrids are a part of that next step journey.

7 Steps for Effective Sales Training

With a great product, must come great education too! Your product won’t be any good if the sales team is not given adequate sales training. It is an important aspect of the sales process and helps in generating new leads, developing and achieving sales targets, and acquiring new business. Did you know retaining a loyal customer base is 7 to 10 times less costly than acquiring new ones?

However, a recessionary period and a plethora of options available to customers have made the sales process demanding one. You need to invest in it through training to reap the profits of increased revenues.

How to go about sales training? Here are 7 steps which will help you in doing so:

1. Develop a strategic plan

You need to establish what you need the training to deliver. For instance, according to research, 92% of communication with clients is telephonic in nature. If your sales are seeing a drop, you might want to conduct a training session highlighting basic telephone etiquettes as well as sales skills such as fact finding.

2. Develop targets

With sales targets in place, you will know what to achieve out of the sales process. You want your sales to increase and know that 80% of your sales team contributes to less than 20% of your sales objectives, you know which non-performers to weed out.

3. Sales training schedule

Instead of investing in one or two day seminars, go for regular sales training. There is a limit to what a human brain can absorb in one day seminar. Learning schedules which are shorter and more regular as well as consistent will deliver you greater results. They will engage the sales force and improve their skill set.

4. Attitude improvement

More than lack of knowledge, it is poor attitude which leads to dropping sales performance. Successful training should not only build on the knowledge of the sales force but also build positive habits in them.

5. Sales training curriculum

Adapt sales training curriculum to your industry, organization and product strategy. Make use of interactive tools such as team building exercises. Successful training will be rounded off by an experienced facilitator.

6. Communication

Communicate your expectations from the training to facilitator as well as the team. Your sales force will be more engaged in training if they know it is an investment on them and is playing a crucial role in the success of the company.

7. Commitment

The sales team will take some time in forming, norming(resolving issues) and then performing. It needs to stay on track for extracting the most out of training. Time and motivation is needed for sales training to deliver great results.

Secure Your Career With Online Sales Training

As the global economy is heading for yet another financial crunch, companies have already started to look for ways aimed at cutting their overall operational costs. The austerity measures being taken by companies not only include cutting down on the expenses of the support functions, but also include pink slips to various employees. Now, if you are in the sales team of your company, unless you are one of the best performers, your name could very well be on the next pink slip released by your company. This is the reason it has become more important than ever to be on the top of your game.

Though nothing is certain about the global economy, you can definitely safeguard your position by taking apt measures. When we talk about the sales department of an organization, there is a continual need for the employees to keep meeting their number. To accomplish this, we leave no stone unturned, but it is not really the efforts put-in that the company cares about; rather, it is the result that matters. This is the reason it is extremely vital for every sales profession to go for a specialization in their field by the virtue of an online sales training.

Online sales training programs are being offered by a number of sales training companies, to let you enhance your sales skills in the least troublesome manner possible. You can simply use web based training material to brush up your sales skills as per your own convenience. These programs are offered using several online education tools such as walk throughs, slide sharing, e-mail lessons, on-demand videos, and other similar tools. As all these are web bases, there is no restriction on the trainees to adhere to a particular schedule and compromise on their daily activities.

Since it is undeniable that sales professionals at different hierarchical levels need different types of trainings; firms offering online sales training programs offer different courses for different sales professionals; for executives, there are executive programs; for associates, there are associate programs, while sales managers can go for sales management training programs. Thus, it is safe to say that sales training companies offering online training have a perfect solution for sales professionals from all organizational level.

To sum it up, every sales professional who is looking to safeguard their job against the oncoming recession or for that matter any organizational turbulence, must go for a professional online sales training program.

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