Developing a winning sales strategy is high on the list of every organization’s priorities. A high sales turnover is the lifeline of every successful business and when sales are slow, the business can really suffer.
In 2014, Bersin by Deloitte reported that US spending on corporate training grew by 15% in 2013 to over $70 Billion in the US and over $130 Billion worldwide and sales training constitutes a big portion of this.
But despite significant investment in sales training, are organizations meeting their goals? How effective is their training and if it’s not working, what can they do to improve it?
Here are some steps that can be taken to ensure sales training is on point, engaging and effective.
5 Steps to Improve Sales Performance
1. Choose the appropriate method of training
Before you begin to develop a sales training program, consider the delivery method closely. How much of your sales employees spend most of their time in the field? Are they likely to require access to training content while on the job? Or are they based in-house?
Let answers like these questions dictate what method you use to deliver sales training. If your sales force is predominantly field-based, then a mobile or tablet learning solution might work best. Or perhaps a blended learning solution where employees get their initial training in a classroom followed by mobile learning modules which can give them access to training once they are in the field.
2. Customize the training for your audience
The design and delivery of your training content is extremely important. But equally important is customizing the content and making it relevant for its intended audience.
Sales training will be more effective if the training content is specific to the role of the employee. The nature of their job they are in, the complexity of the product/service they are selling, the type of customers they are targeting and other mitigating factors should have a bearing on the training content. Similar to step No. 1 above, ‘Relevance’ and ‘Context’ are the key word – what information is most important and what will enable them to do their jobs most effectively.
3. Make use of real world scenarios, storytelling and interactive discussions
Presenting learners with scenarios and challenges that mirror those that occur in their daily jobs is always effective. And for sales employees the impact of this type of training is even greater.
Making use of real world examples and placing sales employees in situations they will undoubtedly be faced with in their jobs makes learning a highly interactive experience. Similarly, making stories followed by interactive discussions between sales employees a key feature of their training, whether it be in the classroom or online, is an excellent way to engage, inspire confidence and enthusiasm in your employees, particularly in sales onboarding programs.
To see an example of how storytelling can be used in eLearning, check out this case study.
4. Compliance is important – make it a key feature!
Compliance training may be perceived as a separate issue, but it is becoming more important to incorporate it into your sales training than many might realise. Sales people are generally on the front line – dealing with clients daily and communicating messages about their company’s brand and the products/services it offers.
Embedding awareness about compliance policies such as insider trading, anti-bribery and corruption, code of conduct and other compliance types in sales training will help your sales employees conduct business in a legal and ethical manner. This will not only ensure that your business is protected from any risks but it will also enhance its reputation as a trustworthy organization and present your sales team as honest and respectable people.
5. Follow up and evaluate
Developing a killer training program will mean little if you do not follow up, monitor performance of employees and evaluate the impact of training on ROI and the overall success of the business.
If your organization invests heavily in training, at the end of each financial year, you should be able to produce data that highlights to senior management and stakeholders how training has performed and how this has affected the business in terms of cost savings, reduced seat time in training and other key metrics that justify the money that has been invested. These metrics will assure your organization that its training is valuable and will establish faith in all future training as a step towards achieving long term success.
Highlighted here are just some of the steps to help develop sales training that will assist any organization in achieving its sales objectives, ROI and new heights of success on a consistent basis.
This article was originally published on Millenial CEO in 2015.
Sales Training Solutions
Interactive Services has developed sales training for many of the world’s biggest organizations to help them improve the performance of their salesforce. If you would like to discuss sales training solutions, talk to us today.