It’s time for spring training, and no I’m not talking about America’s past time, I’m talking about sales training!
This week we’ll look at some sales training statistics that explain the importance of efficiently training your sales professionals. We’ll also be analyzing the effectiveness of traditional sales training strategies and how sales enablement can help to revitalize your training and improve effectiveness.
Why do we need sales training?
What do Joey Votto, Anthony Rizzo, and Jose Bautista all have in common? They train hard to be the best on the field! Just like these great baseball players, sales professionals need to continuously train, practice, and work hard, to improve their skills and become the best in the field.
It seems like every year we see new studies and research about sales training, and yet the majority of sales professionals aren’t improving. According to Forbes magazine, 55% of salespeople lack basic sales skills, including effective communication skills (Forbes).
Additionally, over 50% of sales managers state that they are too busy to train and develop their sales teams (SalesForce Training), and in 2015 87% of Corporate Executive Board members reported that their sales training programs were only ‘somewhat effective’ or ‘not effective’ at changing sales team behaviours (eLearning, 2015). Leaving many sales professionals without the resources and mentorship that they need to succeed.
Why do we need to revitalize our sales training strategies?
For years now we’ve been seeing the diminishing returns from traditional sales training strategies, they continue to offer little to no value for modern sales people. The cost of bringing sales teams together for training seminars is increasing each year, but the statistics prove that receiving large amounts of information over the course of a few days isn’t effective, it’s overwhelming.
Also, one of the biggest problems we’re seeing in traditional sales training strategies is that the information being given to salespeople is product-focused, rather than customer-focused. Modern buyers are empowered and they require sales professionals who understand their needs. They want engaging conversations that allow them to determine how your solution is going to benefit their organization and their unique needs.
For more information on how marketing can create the best content for your sales teams check out: How Sales and Marketing can Work Together to Drive Content Utilization.
How can we revitalize our sales training?
When re-evaluating your sales training strategies it’s important to take the time to understand how your sales professionals are learning.
So, rather than having yearly seminars where sales teams are forced to sit down and listen to sales advice from ‘experts’, your sales training should be a continuous year-round effort. Continuous sales training is proven to average 50% higher net sales per employee (Brevet Group, 2016).
Another great way to revitalize your sales training is to create interactive learning experiences for your sellers. Interactive and visual training has proven to increase long-term retention by up to 80% (KZO Innovations). Online quizzes, interactive training playbooks, simulated customer interactions, and digital product guides are an excellent way to train modern sales professionals.
Modern sales training should extend beyond simply improving product knowledge to focus on building and developing sales skills. By creating coaching guides complete with advice about overcoming customer objections, details about buyer personas and their needs, as well as important trends in customer industries, you can help to increase the confidence and capabilities of your sales professionals.
Lastly, sales training should be personalized for the individual. This means only providing them with information that is relevant to them, in a way that makes sense for them, and on the platform that they prefer. The result is a learning experience that’s easier for your sales professional, and a lot more engaging.
Check out the top 5 digital content management lessons we can learn from Netflix for some great advice on how to manage and distribute your sales training materials.
Which sales training tools should we invest in?
Learning about a sales concept or skill is one thing, but actually applying that skill is a whole other ballgame. A sales enablement tool can help you to train your sales professionals through experiential learning. It is proven to help create and maintain a stronger sales training program.
Sales enablement is a tool designed to empower client-facing employees with the ability to create valuable conversations with buyers. It’s not just a platform for external client materials; it’s a platform for all types of content, including your sales training materials.
With a sales enablement platform you can create and distribute interactive presentations, videos, quizzes, coaching guides and so much more. You can easily distribute these materials to your sales teams around the globe via a secure platform.
You can track who is utilizing your training materials, the scores from the quizzes, the length of time they spend on each asset, etc., allowing you to monitor knowledge gaps, underperforming individuals, and push for better training materials.
You can hire the best players but if you don’t invest in their growth and development then you will never have an all-star team. When you provide your sales teams with the information, knowledge, and skills that they need to improve the impact can be monumental!