When you’re planning how you’ll build a successful sales strategy, it’s important to know where you’re starting from and where you want to end up. It’s essential that you clearly map out every step your sales team needs to take between the onset of a sales training programme and its completion. Your programme also needs to be built to benefit everyone —the entire sales team needs to participate because the failure of one team member can bring the whole group down.
We know that effective sales training has a positive impact, but how do you know you’ve locked in on the right approach? Let’s look at different sales training ideas you can implement to realise a return on your investment (ROI) and scale from a handful of reps to a large team to ensure that every single one of your salespeople masters the skills they need to be superstar sellers.
Why an effective sales training programme is important
The most effective sales training programs require a mutual organisational approach: Long-term commitment from the company (investment) and participation from its sales reps (adoption). To truly enjoy the benefits of a well-executed program, this unified approach is essential to maximise on what the program can deliver.
It’s not hard to see the value of an effective program: The ROI a company can realise when it implements a successful training program is above 350%, Accenture reported. This ROI benefits the business in boosting overall revenue and sales reps benefit from more closed deals that can increase their compensation. Below are a few key points on the importance of an effective sales training programme:
- It improves seller retention: In order for sales reps to succeed, they need to be equipped with the proper tools, resources, and materials. There is a lot of material to digest, especially for new hires, so it’s important to have a program in place to improve retention while keeping your top performers engaged.
- It reduces onboarding time: According to HubSpot, the onboarding process for a new sales rep takes an average of 3.2 months before they’re able to reach their optimum level of performance. Sales coaching and training is vital to getting the most out of your sales leaders in a shorter amount of time. Having a program that provides your reps with all the material they need (e.g. pricing sheets, sales templates, assessments, refined sales pitches) is crucial for them to start selling immediately.
- It boosts productivity: With access to training, better data, and tools, sales reps can find what they need quicker and, as a result, are more “sales ready,” leading to more fruitful conversations, a smoother buyer’s journey, and a better win rate.
Why sales productivity matters
Productivity is imperative to any organisations’ success, whether you’re selling widgets or SaaS. To measure sales productivity, you need to understand how effective and efficient your sales reps are at generating revenue. By tracking sales productivity metrics, you can identify areas where your sales team can improve and then craft a sales strategy that leads to more closed deals and increased sales performance.
Part of building a foundation that supports sales productivity is to make sure your sales process is supporting your reps — your programme needs to help them bolster their sales skills by encouraging them to fully embrace the tools, resources, and processes that are readily available to them. By building a program that allows your sales professionals to work efficiently, they become more effective in reaching their goals, which, in turn, increases sales productivity, saves the time it takes to close deals, and generates revenue more quickly.
Create training sessions that increase retention
You can have great sales training ideas, but if these aren’t executed in a way your sales team embraces, it will all be for nothing. Our proven methods that integrate sales enablement and training drive retention and adoption 95% faster than other methodologies. Let’s look at some of the tactics we use.
- Get things off the ground: Sales managers need a clear idea of what they want their teams to learn about sales, from industry trends to best practices, as well as what the revenue goals are and how this aligns to the organisation’s overall goals.
- Brainstorm: Think broadly and creatively about what sales training ideas fit best with your sales team — now and for the future. Don’t limit yourself to what’s currently happening but think creatively about scaling your training program.
- Role play: Let your sales team practice sales calls with real-life training exercises. Provide them with the opportunity to practice high-pressure situations like cold calling and elevator pitches. Give them the skills to be confident when it comes to objection handling to help them field a wide gamut of customer concerns and issues.
- Make it fun: There’s no reason your sales training needs to be hard — or boring. Find ways to engage new hires or long-time sellers with things like quizzes and sales training games to test their product knowledge and keep them engaged.
5 Proven Sales Training Ideas
When you’re building out your sales training program, it’s important that it gives your sales team clear direction on what they need to be successful, how they take those learnings and apply it to their work to close more deals, and how their interactions with potential customers can support loyalty and repeat business.
- Mock demos and presentations: This will put your team in a real-life scenario showcasing how they think on their feet and handle objections or rejections. It allows your reps to handle the pressures of selling in a safe space where they can ask questions and learn the best sales techniques from top sellers.
- Refine and practice elevator pitches: Sometimes reps may only have a few minutes to get the attention of a potential customer. That is when it’s crucial that you’re able to convey value propositions and solutions to problems. By conducting this exercise, reps become more familiar with what they’re pitching and what messaging works.
- Sit in on sales calls: This is particularly important for new sales reps. Seeing your sales reps in action is a surefire way to provide them with better, more actionable feedback about their strengths and their weaknesses. Have them conduct a cold call with a customer, or listen in on another conversation, such as a follow-up call to a warm lead.
- Seller-specific training: One-on-one training is particularly helpful for new reps, but can also help experienced members of your team strengthen their competencies . They say teaching is the best way to further your skills. This kind of exercise will help new hires develop their skills and define goals that help propel the organisation forward.
- Objection handling exercises: A common tactic for sales teams to employ is objection handling. Take time to go through your sales pitch and have a team member walk through common objections. Take note of how your reps handle certain objections and coach them through it.
Build a model that’s adaptable — and understandable
Did you know that 90% of learning new behaviour should happen naturally, as part of people’s everyday work? This is why it’s so crucial that you make your sales training program easy to understand and simple to use. Find ways to fold training into the day-to-day work of sales teams and make it as easy as possible for them to know what they need to learn, how to best execute on it, and easily find the resources they need to be successful.
We’ve broken down this approach into four areas:
- What to know: Make sure your sales reps know who they should be talking to, have the information they need about the person they’re speaking with, and what the objectives and goals for the meeting are.
- What to say: Prep your sales team with messaging and specific questions they need to ask to open the conversation and create forward momentum. Give them an example of how a successful seller leads a conversation.
- What to show: Give your team the materials they need to effectively address customer needs. This could be a presentation, a one-sheet or infographic that details the solutions your business offers to alleviate customers’ pain points.
- What to do: Make sure next steps are clearly outlined. This includes external guidance like follow-up emails with the customer as well as internal steps like entering information into your company’s CRM.
Build a confident sales team
It’s one thing to train people how to talk about your product — it’s another to make them feel confident doing so. Successful sales training programs take a sales strategy and make it easy to understand, simple to execute and scalable to meet any changing needs of the business or within the industry. Take these steps to help build confidence with your sales team:
- Don’t overwhelm people. Break your training information into digestible nuggets that are easy to understand and retain.
- Clearly define the steps — and the ultimate goal — of completing the sales training program. Make your sales team feel accomplished and knowledgeable by the end of their training.
- Build real-world experiences. Reading materials and videos only go so far. Be sure to be creative with your sales training ideas to include in-person, real-life scenarios for your team to practice what they’ve learned.
How Highspot can make your sales training ideas a reality
With our robust sales training platform, we’re able to equip your sales team with the resources, learnings, and hands-on experience they need to refine their sales skills, close deals and boost your business’ bottom line.
We’ll help you get started on building a successful and robust sales training program that meets the needs of your reps — and scales to the needs of your business. Our technology helps you from the first step to the last to ensure you meet your sales goals. Whether building self-guided courses using our AI-suggested learning modules or providing a platform that scales to your business’ needs, we cover every aspect of sales training.
Let us help you bring your sales training ideas to life with our in-depth knowledge of how people learn. We’ll help you build a training program that engages sales teams, keeps their attention, and improves their retention to give them the sales skills they need to be successful. Let’s get started on building your success — contact us for a demo today.