A structured, proactive approach to sales training is one of the biggest differentiators you can have in your organization.
Sure, some people are “sales naturals,” but selling is unique in that anyone can learn to do it well. Experience helps, but training puts it all into perspective.
When you commit to cultivating sales talent, you build advantages others can’t match. Of course, there’s a catch: Not everyone learns in the same way, or at the same rate, about the same things.
Knowing that, your sales training programs should have many interlocking components – enough to reinforce concepts and teach each member of the team how to build skills fastest.
Use these ten sales training methods to get ahead of the game:
10. Embrace Field Training
Field training stands head and shoulders above the rest as one of the most powerful ways to approach sales team development. According to Brainshark, it can raise your ROI from other types of sales training initiatives by 400%.
All it takes is a little timely reinforcement of ideas backed by the opportunity to see their application in the real world.
9. Craft a Great Incentive Strategy
Performance incentives have always been a valuable part of getting the best from sales teams. The right incentive can motivate team members to reach higher.
Current unemployment rates are low (around 4.3%) so incentives are crucial to your overall retention strategy. Use them to get more reps engaged in training themselves and others.
8. Hold 1:1 Meetings
There are always new opportunities to help your team members excel, but you might not notice them unless you are doing regular check-ins.
There should be structured and freeform portions to each 1:1, giving both parties the opportunity to offer useful feedback and insights. You’ll need regular blocks of time on your schedule to ensure consistent results.
7. Improve Your Processes
Your sales team may have some truly talented people, but processes help determine whether they can succeed or not. How do processes relate to sales training?
Asking your team members to identify process gaps will help them think about the big picture, which can bring them around to become candidates for future sales leadership positions. Hint: Look at follow-up practices!
6. Ramp Up On-Boarding
If on-boarding seems like a chore, then it’s time to look closely at it and how it could be better. After all, it’s the one sales training experience everyone will have the same way.
On-boarding shouldn’t end with a basic explanation of the rules: Immerse your new team members in call playbacks, let them shadow calls, and have them ride along to achieve more.
5. Shift to Assessment-Based Learning
No matter your background or interests, new information quickly fades from your mind if you don’t use it or reinforce it.
Most traditional sales training programs focus on adoption – whether or not sales reps participated – but assessment is where the real action is. Implement more assessment and you’ll soon see where team skills are growing (or not.)
4. Institute Daily Microtraining
Recent research has uncovered more about the power of “micro-habits,” simple habits that take only a few seconds to execute: They can lead to major, long-term behavioral changes over time.
The same principles can be used in sales training. Spending just ten minutes a day on a topic can build new sales muscles as long as the effort is consistent and feedback is available.
3. Assign Mentors
In any profession, mentors have a tremendous impact. The right mentor at the right time can help a new hire set the trajectory for a successful career with an executive outcome.
Mentors have a dual role: First, they help you avoid pitfalls you’d otherwise have to learn about with trial and error. Second, they boost confidence as a trusted role model. Pairing up with one early is essential.
2. Do Group Training the Right Way
What about traditional sales training techniques like annual all-hands sales training events? These can be phenomenal – if they are calculated to produce real results.
That means making them actionable with clear success stories and step-by-step insights so others can reproduce excellent results. To set the foundation, be sure to collect “lessons learned” from each sales project and campaign.
1. Offer More Feedback Sooner
What’s the basic bottom line that drives all of the most useful sales training initiatives? It’s very simple: Feedback. Feedback isn’t something sales pros should have to wait a year or even a quarter for.
“On the spot” feedback should suffuse the entire sales experience along with plenty of occasions to collect 360 evaluations from supervisors, peers, subordinates, and clients.
Everyone comes into sales with different skills and traits they can use to be successful. The best way to help team members reach more of their potential faster is to make sure they are getting a constant flow of sales training opportunities aligned to amplify their strengths, correct their weaknesses, and help them demystify their looming sales challenges.