Creating A Sales Training Program

If you’ve ever wondered how to get the most significant results from training, the simple answer is it takes a full sales training program. Because frankly, 1-off training doesn’t work. Instead it takes a system to get real results.

As the creator of the SOCO® Selling™ sales training system, I’ve worked with thousands of sales leaders and representatives across many industries and countries. After over 15 years in the corporate training industry, I’ve seen first hand what can make or break a training program. I know what it takes to create one of those high performing, ‘well oiled’ sales teams that every company dreams of having. You know the ones that proactively qualify and assess prospects, know and do what it takes to move the prospect to the next stage of the sales funnel and once they’ve closed the deal, they don’t stop there, they look for other opportunities to cross-sell, up-sell and maximise repeat business.

In this article I outline some of the key components of a successful sales training program.

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When training is done wrong

When you don’t follow a holistic upskilling procedure, and you could face these problems:

Everyone Does Their Own Thing: When staff don’t follow a standard operating procedure, both customers and employees are confused.

They Forget Or Don’t Do What They Learned: Staff are reluctant to implement what they learned or forget altogether.

Time and Money Are Wasted: Don’t waste company and employee’s most precious resources: time and money by not using a holistic system.

When training is done right

By planning and implementing a holistic training system, costs are reduced, and results are maximised.

Everyone Is On The Same Page: Staff follow the company’s proven standards and know where to find the standard operating procedures.

Positive Changes In On-The-Job Behaviour: Leaders start to notice staff are implementing the new skills learned and attitudes change.

Positive Effects on Production, Service and Sales: When done right, productivity increases, customers are more satisfied, and sales go up.

Training Costs Are Reduced, And Downtime Is Minimised: When training is done effectively, retraining costs are minimal and out of office time is reduced.

Also read: 7 Effective Sales Training Techniques All Managers Should Be Using

The proof is in the numbers

Here are just a few of the benefits of effective training methods, including implementing online training.

  • Around 40% of employees who do not receive adequate training end up leaving their post within a year.
  • In 2016 almost half of online training in TrainTool occurred outside of office hours.
  • eLearning increases retention rates up to 60%
  • Using gamification, learners scored 15% higher in skill-based knowledge
  • Companies using eLearning see a revenue per employee increase of 26%
  • eLearning can cover up to 5x the material of Instructor Led Training in the same amount of time
  • For every $1 spent on eLearning, there is a $30 increase in productivity
  • Making required training available on mobile devices for employees will lead to a 40% increase in productivity.

Sources: TrainTool data; E-learning stats. Mobile learning stats according to a survey by Mobile Helix. Statistics on staff quitting according to Canadian tourism and hospitality HR association Go2HR.

Creating a sales training program that works

By using a blended learning environment retention rates are increased, and training costs are reduced. The elements of an ideal blended learning environment include:

In-Person Training: During live training sessions coworkers can brainstorm and learn from each other. They can practice new skills and get immediate feedback.

Online Learning:  By incorporating online learning, staff can learn new skills or reinforce existing ones according to their schedule.

Coaching: By implementing coaching sessions, staff can get personalised feedback on current issues they are facing.

5 different ways to implement Blended Learning

Creating the right blended learning environment depends on the company, staff and topics. Here are 5 different ways to implement a blended learning environment.

  1. Face-to-Face Driver: Trainer drives instruction and augments with digital tools
  2. Rotation: Employees cycle through a schedule of independent online study and face-to-face classroom time.
  3. Flex: Most of the curriculum is delivered digitally, and trainers are available for support
  4. Labs: All curriculum is delivered digitally but in a consistent physical location
  5. Online Driver: Employees complete an entire course through an online platform with possibly trainer check-ins.

5 steps to creating a sales training program

Creating the ideal training system depends on the needs of each company. Furthermore, when creating a sales training program, you need to follow a systematic process. Why? Too often, companies try to implement stand-alone training initiatives that fail to meet objectives and expectations.

For this reason, when we’re creating a sales training system for our clients, we look at the team’s demographics, the turnover rate, the team’s current strengths and weaknesses, the topics to be covered and what tools are currently in place, among other things.

When looking at creating the right system, it’s also essential to find out if someone is internally conducting the live training, role-playing, and brainstorming sessions. If not, you might need an external trainer. Even if an internal trainer or team leader conducts some live training, many organisations find value in hiring a professional trainer to conduct at least some of the sessions to maximise results.

However, to get started in creating a sales training program, you can use these five recommended steps below:

1. Identify your training needs

The first step of creating a sales training program that works is to identify your specific training needs. Therefore, you’ll need to consider which areas to focus upon in training, for example, prospecting, differentiating, qualifying, networking, social selling, to name a few.

2. Set training objectives

Next, you’ll need to undertake several needs assessments, organisational, task and individual, to clarify any gaps you have in your current sales training program. Once you identify these gaps, they can be analysed and prioritised in your overall training objectives. Ultimately, you’re aiming to understand how and where you need to bridge the gap between current and desired sales team performance.

3. Create a sales training action plan

Next, you’ll create a sales training action plan that outlines the resources and delivery method needed, as well as detailing learning theories, content, and instructional design.

4. Implement training initiatives

Now, it’s time to bring your creation to life and start to animate your sales training program. However, first things first, you’ll need to determine whether you will deliver your training internally or externally. Furthermore, participants record progress to be able to measure the success of your sales training program.

5. Evaluate training

Once the sales training program has come to an end, you’ll use your participant’s progress to determine whether you successfully met your training objectives. Furthermore, it would help if you utilised the feedback from stakeholders to gauge if there are any missing weaknesses throughout the entire program.

Upskill your most valuable resource

Nothing is more demotivating than not having the skills to excel in one’s role. By providing corporate training for your personnel, you can develop their weaknesses into strengths. Ultimately, allowing for increased productivity, motivation and adoption of new technologies while reducing employee turnover.

We’re the leading corporate training provider – and for a good reason. Our diverse range of training courses are interactive, fun, memorable and most importantly, effective.  

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