Highspot Blog

Sales Training in the Age of the Modern Seller

sales training in the age of the modern seller

Plutarch, famed philosopher of Ancient Greece, was an expert critic. He had something to say about the study of poetry, friendship, ideal dinner conversation — pretty much everything. Among his most useful critiques, Plutarch offered his contemporaries a takedown of education, and specifically the way things are taught.

Plutarch believed lectures and other one-way knowledge transfers didn’t provide the emotional, inspirational context students needed to perform. In fact, he’s frequently quoted as saying, “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”

Eons later, Plutarch’s critique remains incredibly relevant, particularly for sales training. The legacy methods that most businesses rely on don’t give working modern reps the learning environment they need to succeed.

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New Year and New Opportunities to Provide Better Sales Onboarding

sales onboarding

Think back to the times you’ve gone through a new employee onboarding program (NEO) — chances are you got a pretty good feeling for how much the organization invests in its employees just from those first few days. Sales onboarding is no different. 49% of high-performing sales reps identify the availability of onboarding as “very to extremely important” when considering a new position, according to SiriusDecisions.

Sales onboarding not only matters to top sales talent, but to sales and executive leadership as well. Sales and executive leaders are responsible for ensuring that the company is hitting its quota targets; therefore, they need to ensure that they are preparing enough quota-carrying reps to be out in the field at any given time. Unfortunately, on average, new sales hires spend 10 weeks in training and development and only become productive after 11.2 months, according to Sales Management Association.

As a leader, how can you make the most of every chance to improve the sales productivity of your reps? Here are five important opportunities to keep top-of-mind.

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How to Define and Measure Sales Effectiveness

sales effectiveness

What is sales effectiveness?

There isn’t one single answer. Some might say effectiveness comes down to performance against goals, while others might define it in terms of revenue or profit. Sometimes, it even gets conflated with sales efficiency. While both sales effectiveness and sales efficiency relate to the improvement of sales performance, efficiency reveals how fast sales reps complete tasks — but not whether they’re performing the right tasks. That’s the focus of sales effectiveness.

Because sales effectiveness is variable and unique to each company, it can be difficult to assess your sales team’s efforts. But without a clear definition of sales effectiveness, it’s impossible to get started measuring and, most importantly, improving.

To help with this conundrum, we’ve written a guide to provide a straightforward explanation of sales effectiveness and the metrics that matter. Read on and we’ll walk you through the process of identifying, measuring, and improving your sales effectiveness.

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The Evolution of Sales Readiness—from Classroom to Training-in-Context

sales readiness

The term “practice makes perfect” is often associated with coaches and their effort to persuade individuals on their team to train as much as possible during their free time, and it turns out that these coaches were on to something. Studies have found that in order to become an expert, individuals must spend no less than 10,000 hours practicing and honing their skills.

The idea that practice makes an individual better applies to far more than team sports: it is also applicable when discussing the ever-changing B2B sales landscape. Today’s buyers are more informed and demanding than ever and require that sellers are ready at a moment’s notice with value-added insights. Before this can occur, however, reps must be equipped with the proper training and tools to quickly navigate these complex buyer conversations. If not, sellers will find new opportunities at organizations they feel will provide the tools and support they need to thrive and evolve.Continue reading article ›

The Secrets to Creating Winning Sellers

sales training and productivity

As the B2B sales landscape becomes more complex, traditional sales processes no longer entice, engage, or win over modern buyers.

In order for sellers to remain competitive in today’s fast-changing business landscape, they must understand and adapt to new buyer behavior and effectively exceed expectations at every turn.

So, what are the traits that make up winning sellers? Let’s take a look at their anatomy and the steps that leaders can take to nurture more successful reps.

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Why Forced Learning is Ineffective for Sales

sales training

If you’re a sales professional or support a sales team, you live with a common challenge every day: The pace of change is relentless. New and changing products, updated processes, management directives, competitive intel, pricing changes — the list goes on.

For those of us in the supporting cast, this means there is a constant stream of opportunities to share knowledge and improve the skills of our front-line teams. Anyone in sales enablement or sales readiness knows there will never be a shortage of learning to develop and deliver. The challenge is that we too often choose the wrong methods to effectively enable our teams to leverage new skills or knowledge. We’re all guilty of forcing mandatory, one-size-fits-all training because it’s “more efficient” (pronounced “easy”). Let’s take a look at some common scenarios.

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True Sales Readiness Brings Together Learning and Content

Readiness means sales training and content

Thanks to technology, sales is now a new game. Buyers have already researched your product (and the competition) and are much further down their purchasing process before they even meet your sales rep. In fact, 64.5% of sales reps have reported experiencing more complex sales processes. This means that your reps need sales readiness and training to be ready for more complex and advanced conversations in their meetings and demos.Continue reading article ›

Succeeding in Sales When You’re Not a Natural Salesperson

Succeed in Sales Blog Banner v01.01

The world of sales has a lot of stereotypes. Think Glengarry Glen Ross (“Coffee’s for closers!”), Jerry Maguire (“Show me the money!”) or Tommy Boy (“I killed my sale!”). They can be a turnoff for some people who are considering a career in sales (though some certainly seek out the supposed boiler room atmosphere). As for me, I never had any intention of becoming a salesperson. But I’m glad I did.

Common Fears About Sales

With a background in urban planning and biology, entering sales initially felt like being sent to the front lines; the biology world is ruthless, but sales gives it stiff competition. I didn’t think I was profit-driven or competitive enough to be in any industry sales or business oriented. (Don’t get me wrong — I love getting money, and love spending it even more.) In addition, my desire to help people and my tendency to be agreeable deterred me early on. Though I had no expertise in sales, I’ve recently realized that I have more “sales” experience than I thought.Continue reading article ›

Advice for Women Getting Started in Sales

Highspot women in sales enablement

International Women’s Day on March 8 celebrated the success of strong women around the world, including women who are paving a path for others kicking off careers in sales.

As a sales executive who is a woman, I’m passionate about empowering and supporting women to succeed in sales. At Highspot, we have a supportive and collaborative culture that stretches and inspires each person to do their best work. For International Women’s Day, we put together a series of tips and tricks for you to stand out and succeed in your sales career.

In the first installment of this series, I cover these topics:

  • How to lead a meeting
  • How to advocate for yourself

These tips will help whether you’re applying for your dream job, working toward a big promotion, planning an important meeting with executives, or prepping for a must-win sales meeting. Don’t forget to share with your fellow female rock stars! Empowered women empower women!

Sheryl Sandberg said it best: “We need women at all levels, including the top, to change the dynamic, reshape the conversation, to make sure women’s voices are heard and heeded, not overlooked and ignored.”

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Sales Coaching: 4 Best Practices from the World of Sports

sales coaching best practices

What do sports teams, households, classrooms, and sales teams have in common? There’s a coach backing all of these teams who enables and motivates people to succeed. If you take a moment to think about it, you may begin to see coaches in almost every aspect of your life. Coaches can take the form of a parent, professor, mentor, The Voice, NFL head coach, sales manager, or even your friend.

From competing for my high school track team to my job here at Highspot as an account development representative, I attribute my growth, drive, and success to the individuals who have coached me: the coach who helped me perfect my form over the hurdle, and the coach who helped me close my first deal.

These coaches made a huge impact on me personally, and I’ve come to appreciate the skills with which they helped me develop. Coaching has been and always will be about helping your people experience meaningful progress and growth.

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