Training sales teams probably seems like a no-brainer. This is the group most directly responsible for generating your company’s revenue. Of course, you should provide them with career development. But when it comes to actually making it happen, it’s not so straightforward.
There are plenty of obstacles that might get in the way of rolling out a good sales training strategy. For instance:
Training usually requires time away from the job. This can be difficult for busy salespeople worried about keeping leads hot. Also, products and markets may change frequently. To keep training relevant, you either need to update content often (potentially requiring even more time away from work) or keep it so generic that it won’t have much impact.
However, an investment in sales team training is an investment in your company’s future, and it’s worth navigating these and other obstacles.
Here’s what you need to know about why sales training is valuable to your organization, and a few tips for minimizing obstacles and maximizing results.
6 benefits of sales training
Sales team training doesn’t only benefit your sales employees. It’s also crucial to improving customer relationships, closing more deals, and, ultimately, boosting your bottom line.
Here are six things you gain from developing great salespeople.
1. Stronger business results
The right sales training will give your team the skills to measure and predict sales results accurately. This, in turn, helps them set achievable goals, which leads to making better business decisions.
If your sales goals are unrealistically high, your team will fall short and get discouraged. If the bar’s been set too low, your company will miss out on income you could have realized.
Accurate forecasting will help your team recognize and reach their true potential—and help you realize greater revenue.
2. Increased productivity
Untrained salespeople often end up wasting time on ineffective strategies or approaches that don’t work for them. Educating your team on sales essentials helps new recruits build strong careers, and more seasoned employees refresh their strategies.
As they streamline their approaches, they’ll be more efficient at moving leads from “prospect” to “paying customer.”
3. Bigger deals and more revenue
Going beyond the basics to educate your team on advanced sales skills will help them close bigger deals and instigate more upselling.
When your team doesn’t know how to find or resolve customers’ pain points, they lose out on potential sales, which means less revenue. However, when they’re well-versed in the best ways to sell your products or services, they’ll maximize every deal they close.
For instance, learning how to research and prioritize prospects will help your salespeople know where to spend their effort for bigger sales. Content on building rapport and asking the right questions will help them uncover existing customers’ needs so they can bring additional solutions to their attention.
4. Top talent attraction (and retention)
Offering career development training as a benefit will draw the best salespeople to your company—and help them want to stay.
People don’t want to stay with an organization that doesn’t value them or care about their future. Show employees you’re willing to invest in them by providing training that will make them more marketable and successful.
Training sales teams shows employees you’re committed to them. Offering it as a benefit will help you attract top performers and reduce turnover.
5. More upselling
Skilled salespeople who are up-to-date on your products and services are better at upselling. When they don’t know a product inside and out, it can be difficult to do more than present general use cases, which means the bare minimum of sales.
However, if you continually update your team’s knowledge and provide in-depth training on features and benefits, they’ll be able to expand their applications. They’ll see more ways your products or services can help customers and sell more solutions.
6. Stronger brand loyalty
When your sales team can provide a better customer experience, you’ll establish longer-lasting relationships and a more positive company reputation.
When customers don’t feel valued or served by your company, they’ll take their business elsewhere. Investing in the right employee development will help you boost customer satisfaction scores and retain customers in the long term.
Training sales teams in relationship-building skills will help them forge strong relationships with customers. And getting them the right product training with constant access to resources will allow them to address customer queries faster and more completely.
Do’s and don’ts of an effective sales training approach
The benefits of sales training outweigh the potential obstacles. And if you plan well, you can avoid many of those obstacles altogether. Here are a few tips for producing an effective sales training strategy:
✔ DO invest in the right sales training software. A good sales training platform will let you roll out self-paced online sales training that fits busy schedules and facilitates learning.
✘ DON’T train salespeople only once. Because the market and products are always evolving, training should be a regular occurrence. Make it a part of your employee culture to keep people up on all the latest info and skills.
✔ DO focus on soft skills too. Strong relationships are crucial to landing big deals and winning repeat customers. Offer training on interpersonal skills like communication and problem-solving to help your team nurture those relationships.
✘ DON’T forget to measure your results. Use your LMS report features and run surveys to evaluate what’s working and find areas for improvement. Creating a strong training program is a continuous process, and you need solid data to support your efforts.
✔ DO make your training engaging. Training is only effective if it keeps people’s attention. Motivate active and eager learning by ensuring your training content is relevant and following best practices for building engaging sales training.
Build effective sales training with targeted goals
A comprehensive sales training program may sound overwhelming, especially at times when reaching sales quotas and business targets is challenging. But planning and rolling out your sales training strategy won’t be daunting if you start with the right priorities in mind.
The benefits of training sales teams are too great to be overlooked. To ensure a quality outcome, be thoughtful in your approach and create a program that fits your company’s needs. Determine the specific goals you want to achieve before you begin. When you align sales training with clear outcomes, you can create more targeted, efficient, and flexible (aka shorter) courses.
Making training easier and more motivating will ensure greater employee engagement, and your sales training will be an asset that improves customer relationships and increases revenue.