Without effective sales training, your company can never hope to achieve the growth needed to stay healthy in difficult times.
Tools for salespeople – the front-line force
In the ongoing campaign to acquire customers, salespeople represent your company’s front-line force. So quality sales training works best when it provides these tools:
- expert customer relations skills
- enhanced communication techniques
- comprehensive product knowledge
- advanced selling skills.
Of course, it’s not easy to custom-tailor every training programme, especially when the sales staff is large and/or geographically dispersed. But typical training methods often suffer from inconsistent delivery of information and a lack of measurement tools to determine their effectiveness. They also suffer from insufficient preparation and planning.
We plan our holidays and our vacations; do all the homework necessary to enjoy our break from work. Now look at your sales staff’s plans for next week. Whom are they calling on? What touch-pieces are going to prospects? How do they plan to go deeper and wider inside the customer’s company?
Key questions for a sales training programme
Before initiating a sales training programme, the CEO and sales manager should address certain key questions:
- What is each salesperson’s current level of skill and product knowledge?
- How much support does the team get with updated product information and positioning statements? Does marketing support sales?
- Are sales goals clearly focused and established? What improvements have been made, both in the field and in the office, to make salespeople’s work more efficient?
- How is the industry changing? Do the sales staff have a good working knowledge of your competitors’ sales strategies and product development?
- Ask the sales staff: Is your company easy or difficult to work with? Is time consumed with needless paperwork or other activities that rate a poor second to actual selling?
- What are the sales training programme’s long-range goals (more repeat business, gaining entry to new territories, etc.)? Make sure goals are specific, attainable, measurable and meaningful.