Implementing a sales training programme 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 an excellent return on investment. Yet too many companies don’t know what to look for in a sales training programme 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 programmes 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. Lacking ‘buy in’ from participants
No sales person wants to be taken away from selling to be forced to attend a sales training programme. 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 simply 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 practicing of 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 all together.
If sales reps need to learn how to follow up with prospects more effectively, brainstorming of ways to follow up followed by practicing 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 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 programme that delivers real results.
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- Tom Abbott is the author of 'The SOHO Solution' and 'Social Selling' and the creator of the online sales training platform SOCO Academy. Sales leaders engage Tom for his proven solutions to building high performance sales teams that exceed targets and for motivational keynotes that energise their audiences.