One-off training doesn’t work. We know this because, after over 20 years in the corporate training industry, we’ve learnt what type of sales training techniques creates high-performing sales teams. The kind that every company dreams of having. So if you want to get the best results from training, read on to discover 7 effective sales training techniques all managers should use to get the most from teams.
- Creating A Sales Training Program
- 5 Ways to Implement Blended Learning with Online and In-Person Training
- What Makes A Winning Sales Coach? 11 Traits of Great Sales Coaches
What is the value and importance of Sales Training?
Sales training is important for one reason only. The more sales teams train, the more likely you will generate large returns for your company. We all know funds are the lifeblood of an organisation. So it only makes sense to protect it with continuous upskilling. But the benefits don’t stop there. Effective sales training often leads to:
- Higher Win Rates
- Lower Turnover
- Happier Customers
- More Reps Achieving Quota
When sales training goes wrong Vs. When sales training goes right: What is the difference?
Sure, you can train salespeople to achieve more. But how will you know it’s working other than an increase in ROI? Discover the difference between when sales training goes right vs when it goes wrong below: (Tip: Share the infographics with your team to set expectations from your investment.)
When sales training is done wrong…
When your sales training techniques aren’t effective, you could face these problems:
Everyone does their own thing: When sales staff don’t follow a standard operating procedure, the situation becomes confusing for both customers and employees.
They forget: Staff who prefer the status-quo may be reluctant to implement what they learnt or forget.
Waste of Time & Money: Don’t waste company and employees’ most precious resources: time and money by not using a holistic system.
When sales training is done right…
In comparison, when sales training techniques are effective. These are the outcomes:
Everyone’s on the same page: Staff follow the company’s proven standards and know where to find the standard operating procedures.
Positive changes in behaviour: Leaders start to notice staff are implementing the new skills learned, and attitudes change.
Positive Effects on Production, Service & Sales: When done right, productivity increases, customers are more satisfied, and sales go up.
Lower Training Costs: Effective sales training techniques help ensure minimal costs and out-of-office time is at a minimum.
7 Effective Sales Training Techniques
- Use E-Learning for Sales Teams
- Implement Blended Learning
- Consistent Role Playing
- Constructive Feedback
- Inspiring Success Stories
- Regular Sales Coaching
1. Use E-Learning for Sales Teams
Elearning is everywhere, and for a very good reason — it works. Yet, some companies are reluctant to include e-learning in their corporate training curriculum. These businesses have the mindset that employees won’t do it. And frankly, this can be true. An e-learning sales training program that gets consumed and implemented isn’t as easy as sending them the login details. There needs to be a system in place to encourage learning and monitor completion. Here’s how an appropriate e-learning platform that supports completion rates can benefit your company:
- Easier Onboarding
- Instils sales standards, best practices & techniques
- Reduces training costs
- Creates flexibility
- Interactivity increases learning retention
- Customisable learning
- Encourages performance reviews
What to look for in an E-Learning platform for sales teams?
When looking for an online sales training program that fits your team’s, it’s essential to take a few things into consideration:
- Short videos: Keep the attention of learners, often called microlearning. This allows for a faster sense of completion and learning to happen even if the learner only has 10 minutes during a commute to learn.
- Incentives: Programs that provide incentives to complete the training (such as learning badges) is one method of encouraging your sales team to finish the training whilst maintaining employee morale.
- Resources: an effective training program will often include editable, shareable documents that are optimal for the team to collaborate on and enhance their own skills by learning from each other’s ideas.
- A system to check on learners’ progress: This allows leaders to encourage learning when needed and award those who are completing the courses.
- Mobile ready: A training program that is available for mobile devices can prove invaluable for sales teams that are on the go due to its ease of access and portability.
2. Implement Blended Learning
The Oxford Dictionary defines blended learning as “a style of education in which students learn via electronic and online media as well as traditional face-to-face teaching.” Therefore, blended learning combines both classroom and online education, and with advances in technology and restrictions on travel and gatherings, this learning model is quickly building momentum.
Discover 5 ways to implement blended learning
Today, blended learning often replaces traditional live face-to-face training with live virtual training delivered through video conferencing software. Also known as Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT.) Discover 5 ways to implement blended learning below:
1. Face-to-face driver
With the face-to-face driver, the trainer drives the instruction, delivering most of the content live in person and augments the learning with digital tools.
With the rotation model, employees cycle through a schedule of independent online study and face-to-face classroom time.
A flex learning environment is where most of the curriculum is delivered digitally through pre-recorded or static online materials, and trainers are available for support. This allows learners to learn whenever they want without the constraints of having to be available for set training dates.
Labs are where all curriculum is delivered digitally but consistently controlled physical location. All learners would gather in a room on a set day and time to learn the content together, but the training is delivered digitally either to their independent computers or a shared screen in the room.
5. Online driver
With the online driver, employees complete all learning through digital tools without in-person learning. The learning can be a combination of live virtual training and on-demand e-learning.
Example: How SOCO/ does blended learning
In today’s environment, the majority of our clients choose the online driver system where we either do all training live virtually or a combination of on-demand learning using our e-learning platform SOCO Academy and virtual instructor-led training. This allows learners the flexibility to learn from anywhere while also providing the accountability needed to maximise completion rates and retention. Live virtual training also has the benefit of allowing for group discussions, activities and customisation of content to the learners.
By incorporating SOCO Academy, companies have the ability to get new hires trained on desired selling skills without having to wait for the next live training.
Companies with capable sales team leaders or in-house trainers also have the option to implement the lab system when they want to take a proactive approach to training their staff. They incorporate sales training at monthly meetings or set days and times using SOCO Academy to train their teams and our provided Leader Manuals to guide them through live discussions and activities they can do with their team.
The best method for blended learning depends on your team and your company. If you have questions about what’s the right method for you, drop us an email, and we’ll be happy to help.
3. Consistent Role Playing
Training doesn’t always prepare learners for real-world applications. Sales reps might also have circumstance-specific questions that an E-learning module or tip videos can’t answer. That’s where sales role-playing as a reinforcement tool comes into effect. It also allows sales managers, leaders and coaches to offer much-needed feedback.
Outside of the apparent benefits, this type of hands-on training also helps sales reps prepare for customer interactions, particularly challenging ones, alongside creating a sense of familiarity with the situation while providing a team-building experience. Discover our 4 effective exercises for using role-playing as a sales training tool.
Employees are likely to learn something new and immediately forget it. According to research, learners forget approximately 50% of training within only one hour of training, with this figure increasing to 70% in a mere 24 hours! Within 30 days, the amount forgotten increases to 90%. Yikes!
In this busy world, every piece of content we consume is becoming quicker and shorter, accommodating all learning types and lifestyles. That’s why Microlearning is quickly becoming a go-to sales training technique.
Microlearning consists of “bite-sized” learning experiences such as “tip” videos under 5 minutes, on-the-job coaching, and longer e-learning courses that include a series of videos. Microlearning is effective, affordable, and flexible; it’s also incredibly agile and allows your team to be on top of things that aren’t working and things that are. So your processes will constantly improve.
5. Constructive Feedback
Once the team is trained on your products, services and process, the training doesn’t end there. Ongoing support and mentoring are needed to keep the momentum going. I recommend conducting weekly sales team meetings where tips are exchanged, and everyone can learn from their colleagues’ successes and failures from the past week. To complement team meetings, also conduct one-on-one coaching to tackle individual needs and specific strengths and weaknesses.
6. Inspiring Success Stories
Employee morale, motivation and passion will always directly impact your bottom line. According to the National Business Research Institute, employee attitude affects 40% to 80% of customer satisfaction.
The study of one retail company shows that a one-point increase in employee engagement creates a $200,000 increase in monthly sales per store.
Clearly, by maintaining a high level of morale, you can keep sales up. But, how do you achieve the time-old question of “How do I motivate my sales team to do more?”
Well, we know that people are more receptive to stories than almost any other type of communication. Hence why, success stories make a big impression on salespeople. Not only are they easy to understand, but they’re relatable. As a result, helping sales professionals know that the power is in their hands when making a name for themselves.
However, when using success stories, you should never share random anecdotes. Instead, the experiences should offer some moral that gives the salesperson a sense of the company’s values.
7. Regular Sales Coaching
It’s crucial to host regular sales coaching sessions with an expert sales coach who understands your sales strategy and business objectives. Sales coaches act as neutral figures who guide your sales team in applying the processes they have been trained in and ensuring successful reinforcement. Our recommended structure for sales coaching sessions that reinforce learning is:
- Schedule group coaching to debrief the training participants.
- Keep it focused. Each coaching session focuses on one training topic
- Ask about improvements. Ask questions like “What’s better since the training?”
- Goal-setting and commitment. Ask what they will change next
- Schedule the next session.
When sales coaching is done effectively, team members become more autonomous and self-sufficient. Sales coaching empowers the individual to take ownership of the actions necessary, which makes them more likely to do it and to be happy with the result. As we all know, no one likes to be told what to do.
When coaching is done one-on-one or as a team, group discussion and self-reflection are harnessed to maximise results.
Help your team feel comfortable about coaching, explore their initial concerns and come to a common understanding of the agenda for each coaching session. Reach an agreement about what they want to work on, what issues need to be addressed and measures of success.
Create a safe, supportive environment that produces ongoing mutual respect and trust. Let your team know it’s a safe place for them to share and that they’re free to be themselves. Collaborate with them as equals to design a change agenda that is focused on them.
Final Word: Address Real-World Scenarios with Personalised Support
Every salesperson is unique, as is every deal they work on. That’s why by implementing a consistent coaching program, sales teams and individual reps can get the support they need to close the deals in front of them.
SOCO’s Peak Performance Coaching program is designed to coach teams one-on-one or as a group to address real-world scenarios and unique challenges individual sales reps face.