How to Create an Effective Sales Training Program

Although the sales area is known to be the engine of an organization, the mere thought of implementing an effective sales training program is enough to cast doubt on even the best sales leader. Many organizations invest heavily in sales training programs ( Training Industry reported that $ 300 billion is spent worldwide on training programs and activities), but most continue to struggle managing and contributing to the development of representatives. Productive salespeople of different ages and with varying levels of experience.

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Clearly, when it comes to sales training programs, there is a gap between perceived and actual return on investment (ROI), and a lot of money goes into ineffective practices. Research shows that initial annual sales training (even when supplemented with intermittent classroom training) no longer produces the desired results. In fact, the National Association of Sales Professionals found that probably 84% of training contentforget it after 30 days. Taking sales teams to different companies for a 3-day training with PowerPoint presentations is no longer enough. Reps need to acquire new knowledge, absorb it, and quickly recall practical tips when they need it. What modern training strategies do reps and their managers want to use to enhance sales training?

Sales Management Association (SMA) and Allego discussed the sales training methods with the highest return on investment and the most important training topics for representatives and managers. The results of the sales reps’ learning preferences survey revealed that the two groups do not always agree on priorities.

The Importance of Selling Skills: How Opinions Differ

Respondents ranked nine different sales skills development topics based on their priority and how effectively these were addressed in their companies. On average, both representatives and their managers found the following skills important: product knowledge, objection handling, customer acceptance, and solution design.

However, managers and representatives were not always aligned on the relative priority of these issues. For example, managers rated situational exercises with feedback as 38% more important. Also, managers are more likely to view a rep’s ability to communicate the company’s value proposition as important, while reps tend to prioritize tactical skills, such as presentation effectiveness.

Managers rated their company’s effectiveness on each training topic lower than their sales reps. This illustrates the difference between reps and managers, and suggests that executives have a more pessimistic view of the effectiveness of sales reps programs.

The survey results also revealed that millennial sales reps value continuous practice even more than the norm, but their organizations don’t always provide it.

How sales reps want to learn

Sales reps view more of their general learning as self-taught, indicating that managers might underestimate the degree of independence reps seek. In addition, representatives and managers agree that the most widely used training technique is sharing good practices among sales representatives, which was also rated the most effective.

Giving representatives a way to share good practice and practice at their own pace could increase the effectiveness of training programs. Providing such a platform could also help reps and managers improve the development of knowledge and skills related to the self-taught learning goals of both, another important finding.

Because staff spend so much time on their phones these days, mobile sales learning platforms can unify traditional training strategies with modern learning preferences. However, only 10% of the companies surveyed have fully implemented training content for mobile devices. Without a process that incorporates the ” mobile ” nature of sales, these valuable training practices are not feasible and do not allow reps to learn independently.

The main message from the survey is that both sales reps and managers want a way to share good practices and provide direct feedback on learning tasks. While 92% of those surveyed consider sharing good practices to be key to the development of sales reps, managers rated this practice as extremely important: 73% report having obtained a high ROI from their investments in learning Between peers. Technology, and especially mobile sales learning solutions, give sales reps instant access to best practices for specific situations at the precise moment they need them. The result is a faster onboarding,

This article was originally created by Mark Magnacca for HubSpot. For more detailed information on the results of the sales reps’ learning preferences, see the full survey report .

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How to make a salesperson training plan

Selling is increasingly difficult due to the great competition. That is why it is necessary to have a company with a well-trained sales team. According to a recent study, the professionalism of the seller is the determining factor in most buying decisions. This is why it is so important that companies make the right decision about the type of training their salespeople need.

Salesperson training is not about passing on information, it is about acquiring skills and competencies. A good in-company salesperson training plan should last approximately three months. The basics of a good salesperson training plan are as follows.

The salesperson training plan

The first thing you need to develop a good sales training plan is a list of the skills and competencies that they will need to do their job.

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In general, there are three areas to influence:

Commercial skills and sales techniques

Technical characteristics of the product or service

Internal operation of the company

It classifies the sellers into three levels, basic, medium and advanced, according to their mastery of each of these areas.

Ideally, all salespeople reach the advanced level in all three areas, that is, they reach a point where they have internalized the skills and can function automatically, without having to constantly think about the next step they must give.

Most salespeople easily go from entry level to medium, but to reach an advanced level in all areas, they must put in a lot of effort.

Unfortunately, no training program can guarantee that every salesperson will reach the level of a star salesperson, but any step forward, no matter how small, has a great financial impact on the results of the company.

The areas to be covered in a training plan

We are going to develop each of the three areas listed above:

Commercial skills and sales techniques

Sales methodology

Business skills

Client psychology

Management of objetions

Attention and telephone sales

The sales interview

Acquisition of new clients

The product or service

Origin and evolution of the product / service

Features and operation of the product / service

The potential market

The benefits (value) it brings to the customer

Important clients

Direct competitors

Internal operation of the company

Distribution of the client portfolio between departments and vendors

Distribution of the different sales channels between departments and sellers

Procedure to request the collaboration of another department (marketing, production, design …)

Data entry in the CRM

Availability and use of existing technology in the company

Procedure to request an «on-site» product demonstration for a customer

How and when to register a new sale to generate commissions

Remuneration (fixed and variable) of the sellers.