Having a well-versed and highly-skilled sales team is an essential ingredient when it comes to the success of your entire business.
When you’re just starting and when it’s just you and maybe another salesperson, it’s not difficult to make a sales strategy, implement it, and learn from the results. Over time, you’ll amass experience and expertise, and it will be easy to pass all the critical tips and tricks down to your first round of hires.
But as your company grows, the number your team members will increase too, and in order to keep the same standards and continue hitting your quota, you’ll have to find a way to scale your sales training efforts.
However, although the employee onboarding process (together with structuring your sales team properly is important), it’s simply not enough for your new sales hires to start performing as you expect them to. For your training to be effective, it requires a strategic and hands-on approach right from the start.
Here are a couple of useful sales training ideas to help you build a killer sales team.
Identify Your Team’s Strengths and Weaknesses
Before you start with your training, it’s essential to establish what your sales department is good at and what needs improvement.
In order to scan your sales team and processes, it’s a good idea to establish the following:
- What’s your value proposition? This is one of the basic concepts your team should be familiar with. However, in reality, many companies can’t precisely pinpoint and explain the reason why their target audience should opt for them instead of their competitor. Make sure that every member of your sales team is on the same page, as well as that they have a clear idea of what your value proposition is. Otherwise, they won’t be able to convey this to your potential customers.
- Do you have a sales process in place? It’s crucial to set up a clear procedure so that your new hires now every step of the process.
- What KPIs do you use to measure the effectiveness of your efforts? Make sure to keep track of everything that needs to be monitored and have all these numbers accessible so that the members of your team know what to optimize.
- How do you handle sales growth? Knowing where to look for new leads if your existing efforts don’t work, as well as having a list of different closing tactics to try out in case you want to increase your closing ration, is crucial.
- Have you picked the right compensation structure? Compensation plays an important role when it comes to motivation and productivity. But you need to identify whether your commission structure is encouraging the right behaviors.
- Do you keep pace with the latest marketing trends? Is your team proactive when it comes to experimenting with new approaches and channels? Do they initiate the adoption of new technologies and strategies?
- Is your team your most significant asset? If it’s not, try to figure out what the problem is – is it about the people themselves, your corporate culture, or the training.
Depending on what you find out, some of these sales training ideas can be effective for improving the performance of your sales team.
Nail the Elevator Pitch
Salespeople need to make an impression on their prospects if they want to get a chance to present their offer.
And the problem is that they don’t have too much time to do that – 30 seconds is pretty much all they can count on.
That’s why crafting a stellar 30-second sales pitch should be a part of their mandatory training. This skill will come in pretty handy for networking, cold calling, and cold emailing purposes.
Elements that constitute an effective elevator pitch are:
- Clarity. Everybody needs to understand what your company, product, or service is all about right away. Stay away from jargon and tech vocabulary to make your pitch understandable.
- Conciseness. Your pitch needs to condense the essence of your business. Your prospect should be able to understand it after just a sentence or two.
- Irrefutability. Whatever you say in your sales pitch has to be undeniable.
- Attractiveness. Your prospects should be attracted to your elevator pitch and ready to give you a chance.
It’s a good idea to develop a universal elevator pitch together with your team and encourage every individual team member to adjust it based on their personal traits. However, they should stick to the main idea and keep things aligned.
Once everyone adjusted their rendition of the sales pitch, they should deliver it in front of one another and record the session. After that, you can analyze individual pitches, hone them, and discuss what approach works best for different types of customers.
Improve Active Listening Skills
We frequently mention active listening as an essential factor in sales.
Being talkative isn’t the best characteristic of a salesperson, and in order to achieve greatness, your new hires need to learn to listen carefully to what their prospects are telling them.
This is the best way to pick up subtle hints and seemingly unimportant remarks that prospects make during the conversation, such as how they’re feeling or what bothers them. By paying attention and memorizing this, your sales team will unearth some critical details that will help them address their prospects’ pressing issues and win them over.
Practicing active listening means prompting your sales reps to quickly recap what the prospect was saying and summing up their main points. Not only will this straighten out potential misunderstandings, but it will also show the prospects that they are being listened to and that they have the sales rep’s undivided attention.
Streamline the Communication Among Different Teams
No team in your company should be isolated and left alone to work on their tasks.
Effective communication among different departments is the key to success.
Besides, your sales reps need all the information they can get about the product, its potential downsides, as well as about customers and marketing initiatives in order to do their job properly.
So, first of all, make sure that every department knows what their core purpose and responsibility is.
After that, it’s a good idea for your sales reps to learn the ropes of customer support and have an insight into the development of a new product or service features. This way, they will be able to understand customer complaints and issues better as well as know the product or service inside out, which is essential for highlighting its benefits to potential customers.
Job shadowing is another valuable tactic it allows your sales reps to become familiar with how their coworkers from different departments do their job and vice versa. This is much better than reading job descriptions or knowing individual tasks associated with that job.
By understanding their coworkers and their jobs better, your teams will communicate more smoothly, and potential roadblocks will be eliminated.
Focus on Your Sales Reps’ Individual Strengths
There’s not a single skill that closes the sale.
In other words, different sales approach work for every individual customer. Similarly, your sales reps all have different inclinations and character traits, which make them excel in particular sales areas.
Instead of trying to build a cookie-cutter sales team, use these individual strengths, and focus on them. It’s best to allow every member of your team to develop and polish the sales skills they’re most comfortable with.
That way, you’ll have a versatile team capable of working with all types of customers.
Once you and your team establish these different competencies, it’s crucial to encourage them to develop these skills further. When you hire a new sales rep, it will be much easier to offer them training in the area that best fits them with all these specialties on board.
Leverage the Selling Through Curiosity Training
This approach goes hand in hand with active listening.
In a nutshell, selling through curiosity relies on asking specific questions whose purpose to uncover prospects’ pain points, goals, fears, and concerns.
So, this concept is based on curiosity, but the trick is to make things conversational – prospects shouldn’t feel as if they’re being cross-examined. It’s about establishing a natural, two-way conversation in which a sales rep is genuinely interested to learn more about a prospect and their business.
To achieve this, sales reps should learn to ask the right questions – the ones that will help them realize the “why” behind their prospects’ motivations. So, we’re not talking about finding out what prospects do and how they do it, but why they do it.
The purpose of these questions is to understand prospects’ needs on a profound level and offer them the best solution.
Present your sales reps with different scenarios and ask them to come up with questions they’d ask a potential prospect. After this exercise, ask them to share their solutions and discuss them with their colleagues.
Practice Objection Handling
Every company, regardless of its size, should compile a list of the most common sales objections and work on finding a way to overcome each of them.
The goal is to have a viable counterargument that will convince the indecisive prospect to make up their mind and purchase from you.
The best way to do this is to analyze every objection with your team and come up with several possible solutions that will be tested.
Role-play calls between new hires and their managers, or senior colleagues can be an excellent method for implementing this strategy and picking up some tricks for handling such situations. More experienced salespeople should be present when a new rep starts talking to prospects. Rookies need guidance and a sense of direction, and given that sales objections can seem unsurmountable, they shouldn’t be left to their own devices during this stage.