Do you train salespeople just to sell better?
If you answer yes, you are taking a very shortsighted view of the role of sales. Yes, sales should be proficient at practicing the detailed “movements” of the sales function, but it must be done with purpose.
Sales training is a strategic issue; it should always be driven by what the organization’s strategy demands.
In this sense, training goes beyond enhancing sales proficiency as the art, to building sales effectiveness at executing the actions necessary to enhance the performance of the organization against the goals it intends to achieve.
The strategic game plan of the business should be the driver of sales training, and the ultimate payoff test is whether or not sales (as a result of the training investment) delivered their part of the plan.
Follow these 7 steps to ensure your sales training program is not only relevant in terms of advancing the professionalism of your sales force but also adds strategic value to the organization.
- Strip the game plan of the organization down to what it means specifically to sales. Carve out the unique – and detailed – role for sales to play.
It’s one thing for the game plan strategy to focus on building customer loyalty in the retail sector, it’s quite another to explain exactly what the sales contribution must be for it to happen.
- Prioritize the handful of deliverables sales must achieve in order fulfill its strategic obligation. You don’t have unlimited resources in time and people, so forget about creating a grocery list of the possible tasks that sales could take on.
Focus on the 3 or 4 critical sales deliverables that cover 80% of what sales is expected to produce.
- Define the competencies required in salespeople. Again, land on the critical few competencies required to produce the mandatory deliverables you have identified. Answer the question “What 3 competencies are needed for sales to meet its strategic obligation?”
- Evaluate the gap between the competencies required and the current capabilities of sales and rank order the list to determine which training subject should be addressed first. Fill the largest gap first.
- Select the trainer(s) who have a proven track record in creating competent salespeople in the competencies you are needing. Avoid those with only great credentials; go for those who have had measured results.
- Train salespeople in critical accounts first as defined by the organization’s game plan. Every salesperson will have to be scheduled, but start with those responsible for the customers who are prime targets for executing the strategy.
A good game plan identifies The WHO – those specific customers critical to achieving the organization’s growth goals – so ensure the salespeople who “own” those accounts are trained first.
- Track the training results in terms of customer behavior. Did customers do what you wanted them to do – buy new products, refer you to others, stay loyal to you?
It’s not just about whether sales demonstrates the new competency, but whether the customer actually responds the intended way as a result of what sales does. A sales expert in product knowledge is useless if no one buys.
Develop your training program with these 7 steps in mind, and you will not only maximize your return on sales investment, you will also produce a sales team that truly stands out from your competitors and raises the performance of the organization.
Pipeliner CRM totally empowers sales training. Download a free trial now.