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Tips to Select the Best Sales Training Partner

The sales landscape is always evolving. Economic uncertainty, world events, and global pandemics can transform how sales organizations operate. As sellers adopt new processes, best practices change. To keep up, sales leaders must seek training partners to meet today’s challenges.

One challenge facing managers and others tasked with finding sales training partners is the number of options. As organizations recognized the value of sales training, the training industry has grown. Along with the cost, this increases the pressure to find the right one. Here is some practical advice when selecting a sales training partner:

Curriculum

First and foremost is the right curriculum. Different training companies have diverse methodologies and programs. While training is known to boost performance, your team’s challenges are unique. Generic sales training might not address their specific issues.

When choosing a curriculum, consider of the following:

  • Challenges facing your team
  • Deficiencies in your KPI
  • Types of training offered
  • The length, breadth, and modality of the training

For teams struggling with virtual engagement, training on cold calling and emailing will not be sufficient. Of course, cold calling and emailing remain staples of selling. However, the type of training must match the issues you face.  

In a similar way, training delivery makes a difference. Today, many sales teams are dispersed. This impacts how trainings are conducted. These days, delivery options include synchronous and asynchronous, live and in-person or live and virtual. There are also recorded trainings and hybrids. As curriculum is tied to delivery, this can result in uneven engagement, retention, and performance. You need a training partner who understands this and synchs their delivery to the curriculum.

Previous Success

All training programs are not created equal. With sales training, experience counts. Newer sales training partners may lack the requisite experience you need. Before choosing a training partner, be sure to check the following:

  • Length of their sales training experience
  • Industries they have worked with
  • ROI of their training initiatives
  • Published content and thought leadership

With sales professionals, you can’t always assess experience. Sellers may have been selling a long time. But what and how they were selling can speak volumes. The same is true of sales trainers.

In sales, “success” must be measured in relation to goals. Without these, there’s no way to quantify the success. A salesperson’s numbers are only high in relation to the goals they set. Making money is always nice. However, if it costs more than you make, you’re likely failing.

Therefore, select a sales training partner with a documented and verified history of success. This shows in their case studies and other published content. Beware training partners who do not or will not share these things. Of course, as TV commercials often state, past performance might not indicate future success. However, the best training partners willingly share their experience. It’s how they make their money! Their clients’ wins are their wins.

Industry-Specific Experience

If experience counts, industry-specific experience counts more. Successful SMB sellers may not achieve as much with enterprise clients. In the same way, success in one vertical may not equal success in another.

Before selecting a training partner, note their experience with the following:

  • Your industry and business
  • The size and verticals of the clients you serve
  • Your sales approach, strategy, and process

Of course, all clients are unique. However, clients in specific industries will share certain characteristics. A training partner must understand the nuances of your business and industry. Twenty years training sellers in high-end machinery is impressive. However, it might not translate well to widget makers.

Plus, the size of your business is important. A training partner limited to smaller business may not be equipped to support your team. They may not understand the specific challenges you face.

Also, before selecting a training partner, consider your corporate vision. What philosophies or approaches does your company stress or expect? To avoid mixed messaging, select a trainer partner that shares and supports your sales approach, strategy, and process.

Training Style

Just as all teachers will not reach all students, all trainers are not suitable to all trainees. Select one who fits your team. Some aspects of training style to consider are:

  • Is the trainer engaging?
  • Is the training lively and interactive?
  • What is the pace of the training?
  • Does the training feature relatable, real-world examples?
  • Does the training employ technology?

Just as sales is about building relationships, training partners must connect with your team. Part of this is the trainer’s personality. Are they engaging? Do they use humor and storytelling? Perhaps they are more reserved. In any case, ensure the trainer engages your team.

The best trainers often share stories and insight from their own experience. These must relate to their audience. Remember, lessons from selling machinery may not translate to selling widgets. Similarly, the training should feature real sales situations and scenarios that apply to your reps’ day-to-day experience.

Today, top training partners can customize their training to your industry and team. Specific, relatable sales scenarios in workbooks and other materials can boosts engagement and retention. 

Of course, your trainer should have the requisite sales experience. Ideally, this should be in your own or a similar industry. More importantly, however, are they experienced enough trainers to reach a wide variety of sellers? Perhaps your team is young and enthusiastic and responds to gamification. Or maybe they’re seasoned vets who favor a traditional approach. More likely, they’re a mixture of both. You need a trainer who can build rapport and work with them all.

Also, along with this, consider the technical prowess of your team. Today, technology influences all aspects of sales. However, all sales teams are not equally proficient. Be mindful of the skill level of your team members and the tech employed in training.  

Training Tied to Coaching

For training to be successful, it must be tied to coaching. Most training is one-off and semi-regular. It can be easy for teams to disengage and forget. Coaching, however, is regular and on-going. It’s essential your coaching reinforces the lessons learned in training. Here are tips to tie training to coaching:

  • Managers should participate in training
  • Managers should be trained to coach the material
  • Managers should have the tools to reinforce the training
  • Managers should incorporate training into both one-on-one and group coaching

A big part of this is ensuring your sales managers are trained in the training. Today, top training partners provide instruction to help sales managers successfully coach their training methods.  

As the sales environment shifts, sellers must adapt their processes. Therefore, best practices change with the times and technology. Sales training can be an effective tool to make sales reps more productive and successful. This makes training a booming and competitive field. The key is finding a training organization that meets your needs, engages your reps, and boosts your business. We hope these tips help you find best sales training partner for your organization and team.