Sounds like you’re ready to start investing in your sales team by looking to hire the best sales training company you can find. While sales training often comes with a positive return on investment, not all sales training programs and providers are created equally. That’s why we’ve created this article explaining how to do just that (and get great results!)
What is sales training?
Sales training provides participants with the application skills, knowledge and tools they need to optimise and maximise their sales results. In general, there are two types of sales training, the first being Sales Methodology Training, where salespeople learn various sales approaches for each stage of the sales process. The second is Sales Skills Training, in which salespeople develop and refine their selling ability by learning new techniques to complete each sales process step and lead their prospect to the finish line.
Why is sales training important?
It’s a shocking fact that many sales teams have never gone through any formal sales training. Yet, the revenue of the company relies on them. Without proper training, coaching and a standard sales structure, teams are left to trial and error to figure out what works—leaving some team members to excel while others are left struggling.
In any business, sales are the lifeblood of the operation. When companies invest in training their teams on effective sales techniques, results can quickly go from lacklustre to spectacular. The reason is, many salespeople don’t actually know how to effectively sell. They might close some deals because the price offered was low or the brand message was strong, but a good sales professional can take someone that never knew they needed your product or service into a paid customer. We’re not talking about unethical voodoo magic, we’re talking about properly discovering needs, demonstrating your offering expertly and knowing what it takes to close a deal.
Sales training helps to get everyone on the same level and functioning at the same rate and quality as much as possible, ultimately making your sales results more predictable.
How to choose the best sales training company for your business
With so many choices available, we understand the need for a comprehensive system to choose the best sales training company for your business with ease. Therefore, below you’ll find everything you need to consider to make an informed decision on the best sales training company for you.
1. Determine who should be involved in the buying decision
Your first step in choosing a sales training program is determining who will be involved in the discussions and decisions of the overall process as well as the selection of the training provider. Many companies involve multiple stakeholders who understand your current training objectives, not to mention your sales leaders who work directly with said participants.
2. Key areas to consider
When investing in sales training, you want to be sure that your results will be substantial. To do this, you need to consider several key aspects of the program to make an informed decision about the best sales training company for your business. Check them out below:
Before you commit to any sales training program for skills improvement, you need to establish whether or not the program’s curriculum aligns with your needs. We all know how frustrating it can be to invest in something that fails to deliver on expectations. Before deciding on which program to proceed with, ask for a detailed outline of the curriculum. With this, you’ll be able to see all of the topics they plan to cover so you can confirm it has everything you need and nothing you don’t.
Professionalism & Responsiveness
Next, you need to consider how you feel initially meeting or conversing with the sales training company. You can evaluate and compare companies by how responsive they are to your emails and phone calls. Furthermore, how good are their sales reps at building rapport and selling to you? In particular, how well informed are they about your business and do they seem invested and interested in learning about your needs?
Every sales training program should have some degree of flexibility to customise modules following your needs, especially if you’re looking for sales training that’s applicable to various roles across your company.
Therefore, if your sales training requires a high degree of customisation, you’ll need to opt to find a sales training provider who truly understands your wants, needs and training objectives. In this instance, you can always ask the potential sales training provider to arrange a call with the proposed account team you will be working with.
You should always ask to speak to references – mainly for your reassurance and evaluate how well other clients’ needs have been catered to, how well they achieved their training objectives and their overall experience working with the sales training provider.
Reputation and thought leadership
When browsing sales training providers, you want to consider the reputation and thought leadership of the business. You can do this by reading their content such as blog posts, webinars, white papers, reports, videos, or infographics to gauge their level of authority.
Ultimately, you need to consider three elements when thinking about training delivery:
- Who will deliver the training?
- How many salespeople will participate in the training?
- Where the salespeople are.
Furthermore, there are three main ways to deliver sales training: in-person, online with a facilitator and online without a facilitator. Realistically, most sales training companies will offer a blended learning approach.
3. Ask potential sales training providers these questions
Let’s be honest. No one has the time or money to make mistakes when investing in sales training programs. Therefore, when considering partnering with a sales training company, you need to do your due diligence and ask the questions that matter most. Below are several questions you need to be asking sales training providers:
How are sales leadership and sales management involved?
Leadership and management involvement should be a top priority for any company looking to invest in sales training. Therefore, you need to know precisely how the sales training provider will integrate your sales management and leadership into the sales program. Because if sales leaders can’t incorporate the sales training into their ongoing coaching – the sales training will frankly be a waste of time and money.
For example, here at SOCO/ our interactive training style allows new sales reps to learn from experienced trainers as well as their peers. Sales reps who have been selling for many years can fine-tune their craft and learn new skills as the sales profession is constantly evolving.
Do you have experience in our industry?
It may seem obvious, but sales training providers need to know how to teach you how to apply your new sales skills to your industry. If your sales team can’t understand or relate to case studies or examples, your training is likely to not ‘stick’ as well as training that includes industry-specific examples.
Can you train in our language?
Again, this might seem like an obvious requirement – but if you don’t ask, you’ll never know! For instance, here at SOCO/ our sales training programs are also available in Mandarin, Indonesian, Thai, and Vietnamese.
How is training reinforced?
Finally, it would help to determine how the sales training provider will reinforce sales training to ensure good retention rates. The fact is that sales training only works if your sales team proactively wants results; for this to happen, they’ll need to change their selling behaviours. However, all companies have their preferred ways of reinforcing training, for example, one-on-one, group coaching, online, e-learning, simulations or games. Therefore, you’ll need to find out whether this aligns with the needs and preferences of your sales team.
4. Interview potential providers
Now you’ve shortlisted top sales training providers you think can meet your needs, start to connect with them individually and identify the best match for your businesses needs. When you connect with them, use your conversation as an opportunity to observe how effective their sales representative is at selling to you!
How much does sales training cost?
You know you need to spend money to make money, but how much should you be investing in your sales training? According to ATD Research, most organisations invest approximately $2,326 annually per salesperson. However, multiple factors may influence this guideline price, such as:
- Pre-Training Consultation
- Training Materials
- Delivery Methods
Here at SOCO, our sales training rates start at $349 per person for a complete 5 sales course e-learning pack, but rates vary depending on whether it’s e-learning, Virtual Instructor Led Training (VILT) or in-person, as well as the size of the team.
When does sales training fail?
In over 15 years of business, we’ve identified the main reasons why sales training often fails. By discovering them below, you can ensure you avoid them – and make your sales training program a success from the offset:
- Unclear goals: Some companies tend to believe that ‘sales training’ is the answer to their problems. Sales training isn’t a 1-size fits all kind of thing. The program needs to be tailored based on the team, your industry, who you sell to, average deal size and average sales cycle. Sales Training for a retail team is very different from sales training for a SAAS team. To get the best results from training, you first need to be clear on what goals you want from the training: increased close rates, increased number of leads, increased order value, or decreased sales cycle?
- Lack of coaching and reinforcement: It doesn’t matter how practical or helpful sales training is, if after the training the sales team goes back to environment that doesn’t promote the implementation of the new skills. To do this, there needs to be adequate post-training learning and reinforcement and checking in with the team to see if they’re implementing the new skills. If you want to build an high-performing sales team, provide ongoing sales coaching to reinforce and get feedback on their new skills.
- Lack of stakeholder involvement: Without alignment of the new sales strategy from key stakeholders, sales training more often than not fails to stick. All decision-makers should be committed to implementing the new techniques.
5 common mistakes companies make when implementing sales training
Implementing a sales training program can be one of the best investments a company can make in a sales team. When done right, closing rates and the average amount per sale can be drastically increased, resulting in an excellent return on investment. Yet too many companies don’t know what to look for in a sales training program which can result in less than desired results.
Here are the 5 most common mistakes companies make when implementing sales training and how to avoid them.
1. Sales training isn’t customised
Not all sales training programs are created equally. What works for someone selling to consumers (B2C) in a retail store won’t work for a sales representative selling to businesses (B2B). The prospect you’re selling to is different, the decision-making process is different and the sales cycle is completely different.
When deciding on a sales training provider, make sure they fully understand the selling process of your company, backed up by years of proven experience in increasing conversion rates in your industry. The training needs to be customised to your industry, to say the least.
2. Lacks ‘buy in’ from participants
No salesperson wants to be taken away from selling to be forced to attend a sales training program. Instead, the training needs to start with buy-in from the participants. They need to feel part of it from the beginning by having a say in what will be covered. This can be done in the form of a survey or as simple as asking what skills they need to help them increase sales. Every salesperson does want to learn how to make more money.
3. Training is content focused instead of implementation focused
When in-person training only focuses on content: how to make phone calls, how to present your solution, how to ask for the sale; and skips role-playing and brainstorming activities, the most valuable aspects of in-person training are missed. Instead, in-class time needs to incorporate practising new skills. If the team needs to learn how to schedule more appointments on the phone, they need to practice their phone skills with a partner and get feedback from the instructor.
When the team needs to learn how to demonstrate value instead of offering discounts, they need to practice how to answer price objections with confidence instead of shying away from it together. If sales reps need to learn how to follow up with prospects more effectively, brainstorming ways to follow up followed by practising the phone call is much more effective than just being told they need to follow up with prospects.
4. Knowledge isn’t tested
Once sales training is complete, how will you know if it was successful? Post-training, learners need to be tested not only through a quiz, but also on the job. Have they started booking more appointments? Are they more effective during a sales presentation? Do they overcome objections easier than before? Start by focusing on small improvements which will ultimately result in closing more deals.
5. Training isn’t reinforced
Training shouldn’t end when the in-class learning does. Learners need to follow up materials, tips and videos to reinforce what they learnt and to continue the learning. An online sales training system is also a great way to reinforce learning.
To fully maximise investments in sales training, weekly or monthly meetings reviewing materials and new skills new to be held. Accompany that with one-on-one coaching to address individual needs and you’ll be well on your way to implementing a sales training program that delivers real results.
What is the long-term sales training plan?
Lastly, when preparing to choose a sales training program, you need to consider the long-term plan for implementing sales training. Here at SOCO/, we believe that training is not a one-off approach. Instead, it requires a constant and complete system. That’s why all our sales training programs include: team assessments, pre-training work, sales process analysis, ROI maximiser for leaders, post-training evaluation and of course, post-training reinforcement. Our programs often span months with a combination of sales training and coaching to get the best results.
Sales Training Pays with SOCO/
Have SOCO/ train your team in the top sales skills needed to exceed in this day and age, through either Virtual Instructor-Led Training through video conferencing software or let your team learn new skills in their spare time using our popular e-learning platform – SOCO Academy.
Not sure which of the top sales training programs is right for you? Book an appointment with one of our program advisors who will be happy to build the right training plan for you.
“We never want someone to lose a sale, because they can’t sell”
We believe in creating solution-focused, goal-oriented sales specialists who take pride in their profession. The SOCO/ Selling methodology includes our nine pillars of selling and our exclusive top-to-bottom sales funnel methodology.
Every sales team begins the program by being evaluated with pre-training assessments. This allows us to build a custom training experience ensuring our program provides the most effective results for your company.
Don’t just take our word – see what others are saying!
“We recently had [SOCO] conduct a virtual external Sales Training Program for our entire commercial organization at Carousell Group for our different brands in 5 countries.
Tom shared great insights on consultative selling and needs analysis to win new customers. He energized and fuelled our sales & trade marketing teams to apply the concepts they learned into their day to day interactions with customers. Throughout the session, all 200+ attendees were fully engaged and inspired to apply the concepts shared into their interactions with clients.
At the core of Carousell, we constantly raise the bar, growing and inspiring one another. Thank you Tom for helping us raise the bar. “
– Vishal Salunkhe | Head of Sales Operations & Enablement Carousell
“I had the pleasure of working with [SOCO] to deliver a live webinar to our customers across 3 continents! From the discovery and planning meetings right down to customizing content to meet our objectives and engage our audience, Tom is a pro. He is energetic and has the ability to cut through – so it feels as though you are right there in the room with him.”
– Kiera Kramer | Brand and Experiences Marketing for QuickBooks
“I had a great sales training with [SOCO]! I have learned so much especially on the prospecting part. He gave me more motivation in making cold calls and building better relationships with my clients.”
–Mathilde Ramoisy | SaaS Enterprise Business Development at Perx Technologies