Is Your Sales Rep Training Sophisticated Enough?

What Type of Sales Training is Right For Your Team?

In the old days of selling, there was no internet. Buyers were dependent on sellers to explain their products. With this, features won the day. Slick-talking sellers could dazzle clients with the latest gadgets. How these products performed—whether they addressed needs and solved problems—was an afterthought.

These days, buyers are better informed. Most have done their research before they contact a seller, so features are not enough. Sellers must prove themselves more than order takers. They must be trusted advisors with specific plans to achieve results.

When it comes to sales training, however, sellers become clients. As salespeople themselves, sales organizations might think they need sophisticated solutions, like a complex methodology. However, sophisticated does not mean complicated. Instead, like clients, sales organizations require focused solutions targeted to their changing needs.

Here, we will discuss several keys for finding the right training partner. Today, sales organizations have a wide range of training from which to choose. Rather than the most sophisticated or complex, sales organizations need training geared to the current sales environment.  

Assessing Change

The first consideration is change. For most organizations, it’s likely been some time since their last training. In an uncertain economy and rapidly evolving sales landscape, organizations must assess changes in their industry, organization, and clients.

Today, in addition to these, sales organizations must consider additional changes, such as: 

  • Products and services
  • Target audience
  • Organizational turnaround
  • Technology

To maintain relevance, sales organizations must grow. For most, this starts with updating their offerings. New products and services necessitate changes to how sellers sell. You may now need a greater reliance on specific skills, like presentation, virtual selling, and negotiation.

Along with new products and services, you may be selling in different verticals. Depending on the size, scope, and business model, sellers face new challenges to their skill sets.

In addition, consider organizational changes. More than the usual turnaround, many sales organizations have experienced shifts in modality. These days, more sellers work remotely. With so many teams dispersed, the way sellers interact with clients has changed. Sales training can reinforce basic skills as it introduces new ones to address these changes.

Of course, these alterations often require new or additional technology. Even top sellers may struggle with unfamiliar hardware or software upgrades. Simple tasks, like data maintenance and updates, can become cumbersome on phones or tablets. The right sales training can ensure uniform adaptation of tech skills for your entire sales team.   

Customized Sales Training

Another consideration is customized training. More than anything “sophisticated” or complex, customized training is specifically geared to your sales team.

Most sales training programs can help reps improve basic skills. However, custom sales training targets your sales team, the skills they need, and the scenarios they encounter. It’s designed to supercharge sales training to achieve greater success through the following features:

  • Align training with sales rep experience and level
  • Provide content related to your language, products/services, and situations
  • Utilize real-world scenarios with common objections and impediments
  • Impart real-time coaching feedback

As sellers, your team must always demonstrate value. Of course, a buyer’s most common objection is price. Though customized training comes at a price, cost must be seen in relation to value, what customers receive. With that, here are some benefits of customized sales training:

  • Sales team buy-In
  • Cater to individual learning
  • Faster implementation

With any sales training initiative, rep buy-in is key. For training to stick, sales reps must believe there is need for training, and they can benefit from it. With customization, training utilizes your sales team’s language, with examples from their experiences. This level of personalization helps sales reps engage the material, increasing their buy-in.

In addition, customization targets specific groups of reps. For fast-paced learners, visuals and bullet points can speed their learning process. For those more meticulous, workbooks, case studies, and roll- play could incorporate more specific examples. Such a range maximizes your team’s learning potential, ensuring increased engagement and retention.

With sales training, the faster reps learn, the sooner you see results. Customization not only increases buy-in and individualizes learning, but it speeds implementation. This lets reps utilize their training immediately. In addition, custom training, with real-world examples and role-play, builds confidence.    

Selecting a Trainer

Another consideration of successful sales training is the trainer. Even the best curriculum, with custom content, is only as effective as the delivery. As in selling, teaching, and coaching, experience and personality go a long way in sales training. And countless studies show students retain more when they are engaged.

When selecting a sales trainer, consider these keys:

  • Experience
  • Personality
  • Presentation
  • Storytelling

Most sales trainers are former sellers. However, that does not mean they are right for your team. When looking for a sales trainer, seek experience in your industry and verticals. Sales is a wide-ranging field, and all sellers are not equal. Those sales trainers who know your industry will understand the unique challenges facing your team. They are best prepared to instruct sellers in the nuances of your space.

Like sellers, sales trainers are a diverse group. Rather than a homogenous group of similar types, they run the gamut of personalities. Some are outgoing, while others are reserved. Either way, you want a trainer who meshes with your team. From your veterans to your rookie sellers, you need a trainer who can reach them all.

Along with a trainer’s personality is their presentation. As a diverse group, sales trainers may be lively and funny. They can also be softspoken and serious. One is not necessarily superior. However, presentation style is key to engagement. Also, some trainers employ more technology, including whiteboarding, breakout rooms, and role-play. Select a trainer who incorporates the tech your team needs.

A key quality of an effective sales trainer (and therefore training) is storytelling. Top sellers use stories to engage clients and present solutions. Sales trainers do the same for professional salespeople. Choose a trainer with the experience and storytelling skills to help motivate and inspire your sales team. For more on incorporating storytelling into your selling, check out our Strategic Storytelling™ Skills program.

Don’t Forget Reinforcement

Sales training reinforcement is critical because it helps ensure salespeople consistently apply the skills and knowledge they learned during training. Without reinforcement, salespeople may forget what they learned or struggle to apply it in real-world situations. This can lead to lost sales opportunities and lower return on their training investment.

Reinforcement can take many forms, such as ongoing coaching and feedback, regular practice sessions, and refresher training. Janek also offers a digital reinforcement solution that takes a micro-learning approach to reinforce the knowledge acquired during sales training.

By providing these opportunities, organizations help salespeople stay engaged and motivated while improving their performance. In addition, reinforcement helps salespeople stay up to date with changes in the industry and in customer needs. This allows them to adapt and respond quickly to new challenges and opportunities. Overall, sales training reinforcement is a critical component of any successful sales program. It ensures that salespeople perform at their best and drive business success.

Today, everyone knows sales training is effective. Nothing illustrates this more than that the number of options. However, with the cost in money and time, sales organizations must think like clients. Rather than choosing the most complex or most expensive, do your research. Find the sales training partner, curriculum, trainer, and reinforcement to target your team’s needs. After all, with selling and sales training, it’s not about sophistication. It’s about the right solution with the greatest return.