So you have a great offering and you invested in a sales team – how do you ensure their success? Most organizations invest in sales training – which is wise to invest in your revenue engine. Like most investments – there is no guarantee on return – which is understandable. Regardless – how can we control, to the best of our ability, making the right investment in our corporate sales training? From our experience in the industry, allow us to share a few tips to help you take the right steps in developing your sales force:
Myth #1 – “The sales trainer should be the top sales person”
Let’s face it – if there was such a definition as a ‘best sales person’ – that person would be out selling, and not in the training room teaching you! Similar to seeking an art teacher – you would not need Da Vinci to be your instructor. The best trainer for your sales team is the one that has a combination of
[ The right sales experience + The right training skills]X[ The intention to help your sales team succeed]
Seek facilitators who have sales experience in industries similar to yours, because they would understand the challenges sales professionals face on the field. Look into the amount of experience the facilitator has in front of the training room, as an indication of how much exposure the facilitator has working with sales professionals. Most importantly, why would the sales trainer want your sales team to succeed post the training session? If the sales trainer can help your sales team sustain a lift in performance, that is your best sales trainer.
Myth #2 – “Sales training should have processes and flowcharts”
If-then diagrams and complicated decision-making matrixes are great to analyze from and processed quickly by computers. During a sales meeting, sales executives need to be human and be present. Focusing on the client’s responses and inputs will give you a better indication of what to do next, compared to referring to a flowchart.
In this world, the sales cycle is universal across the world – there is a beginning, middle and an ending – which then loops back into “a new beginning”, also known as growing the client account. While there are cultural differences everywhere, the sales cycle is the same wherever you are. The biggest difference is how much time is spent on each part of the sales cycle. Some countries have cultures that take more time in the (sales cycle) beginning to get to know the other party and build relationship. While some other country cultures may require more effort to understand the client situation. Regardless, there is not going to be a flowchart that can tell you exactly what to say and do to build relationship quicker, etc.
Sales training should provide techniques for individuals to attempt to apply. More importantly, these sessions are a great time for people to discuss where and how they can improve. As a sales trainer for over a decade, I have found that providing simple, practical techniques make it easy to apply. Sharing a story on top of the technique makes it easy to remember.
Myth #3 – “Sales training should be a HR initiative”
As a sales person, you should be familiar with the term “what’s in it for me?” So, let me ask you – if a sales training goes well, who does it benefit the most? Who’s KPIs would it impact the most in an organization? Leaders of sales organizations should have the clearest idea about their sales team’s performance. Moreover, sales leaders should have enough sales experience to point out where the team needs development in. Through the process of selecting your sales trainer, allow the head of sales to be involved. Let the sales leader and the sales trainer discuss their aspirations and ideas for reaching that.
Another reason for allowing the sales leader to drive the sales training initiative – Being in sales for many years, I can easily tell how much sales experience a person has, within a few minutes of them speaking. Chances are, the people attending the workshop can also easily tell if the sales trainer is qualified enough to be leading their training. Involving the sales leader before the training begins gets a clearer understanding of the chemistry expected in the training room.
At Milestone|3, we believe that sales learning and development should be inspirational. Giving them the techniques and energy to apply their learnings in the sales field – that is what sticks in sales executive’s minds and success.