Sales Training Buyers Guide
This sales training buyers guide has been written to assist in designing a sales training courses alongside the sales skills salespeople need to compete in the digital economy. Due to the evolving nature of buyer interactions across multiple channels, sales teams need to be equipped with a deeper understanding of the company’s target customer profiles.
Also, insight into the buyer’s journey has become important in determining the level of success when salespeople try to engage a prospects and potential customers. When implemented correctly, a sales training buyers guide will impact the effectiveness of the sales strategy and boost the skill levels of the entire sales force.
The impact of social media and the digital channels in providing buyers with self-service levels of knowledge has somewhat diminished a salespersons role in the buyer-seller relationship. Buyers can be as much as 60% through the sales process before they ever engage with a salesperson. So, as part of the sales training buyers guide, we need to ask the question, “If a buyer can access large volumes of quality information online when considering a purchase, what role do we expect salespeople to fulfil?
Sales management and leaders should reflect on questions such as, where does business development, sales prospecting and customer acquisition fit into the modern sales process.
Understand the buyer’s journey has become critical to sales success
Understanding the social media influenced B2B buyers journey is now a key component in any sales training buyers guide. Salespeople need to both understand “what is it” and “how it is conducted” as it relates to the reality of the digital era. In the past few years the process a buyer goes through to becoming aware of a certain challenge, to considering before deciding to purchase has altered most of what sales training once taught.
The sales training buyers guide has to pay far more attention to the buyer’s journey. That for salespeople, it is not about having sales conversations but getting conversations started in the 1st place. From a skills perspective, the biggest change in selling skills is engaging buyers in the “awareness’ and “consideration” stages. Because in these stages, the reality is social media now plays a bigger part than more traditional forms of sales engagement. Sales training needs to address these skills by providing better social selling and digital selling skills or else accept that the earlier parts of the buyer’s journey has been ceded to the influence of social media.
Create a sales training buyers guide
Creating a sales training buyers guide will ensure that salespeople are skilled at using both offline and online channels to nurture both existing and potential customers throughout the buying process. Every sales team needs to sales training on what customers expect at every stage within the buying process. The responsibility to provide the training, coaching and guidance to help salespeople interact with potential customers at every stage falls to sales leadership, maybe as part of a digital sales transformation plan.
The good news is there is no mystery to the social media influenced buyers journey. The key to successfully engaging customers on their buyer’s journey is constant engagement using content and relevant conversations. The latest sales training techniques are showing salespeople how to skilfully engage with prospects throughout each stage of their journey across multiple channels. Sales training that teaches the goal is not just about selling, but to build longer term trust and rapport between the business and the prospect. The future of successful selling could be about getting a prospects trust to engage further. Sales training needs to focus on showing salespeople how to build credibility, usefulness and trust above the competition in the quest to win over customers.
Sales Training that reflects the Buyers Journey
Sales training needs to accurately reflect the modern buyers journey. For brevity, we have condensed the buyers journey into a three-step process.
The 1st being “The Awareness Stage” – The buyer realizes they may have a problem.
The 2nd being the “Consideration Stage” – The buyer defines their problem and researches options to solve it
The 3rd being the “Decision Stage” The buyer chooses a solution.
The Buyer Awareness Stage.
In this stage, buyers will identify issues or challenges they should be addressed. During this stage they will decide the priority level the issue or challenge should be. Sales training for this stage would include topics such as:
How do buyers describe their challenges as they relate to your product?
How does the buyer educate themselves on the challenges and trends facing their industry?
What would be the compelling reasons for a buyer to decide whether or not this should be prioritized?
The Buyer Consideration Stage.
During this stage the buyer will have defined the issue or challenge facing them and then shared this internally. A buying committee may be formed with a mandate to dealing with it. Now they will self-educated, read whitepapers, review information and start to evaluate the different options available in order to resolve the challenge. Again, sales training needs to address:
What categories of solutions do buyers investigate?
How do buyers educate and inform themselves on the various options or solutions?
How do buyers perceive the pros and cons of the available solutions?
How do buyers decide which option is right for them and how can salespeople influence this?
The Decision Stage.
The last stage is the “Decision Stage”. The decision could be to do nothing, in fact over 60% of buyers go through the sales process with a no decision at the end. Some sales training buyers guide questions to be answered are:
What tools have you trained the sales team to use in closing the conversion gap?
Which criteria or other considerations will a buyer use to evaluate the available offerings?
When the buyers conduct research on you, business and your company’s offering, what do they like about what they see or read compared to the competition?
What are the concerns you will need to cover off on your solution?
How do salespeople go about engaging the buying committee or anyone else who needs to be involved in the decision? For each person involved, how does their perspective on the decision differ?
What is the buying process or will the buyer have expectations around sampling/trying your solution before they purchase it?
What are the major buyer hurdles or obstacles that will prevent a buyer deciding to progress to a signed order?
Do buyers need to make additional plans around implementation, IT or training and if so have the sales team been trained to cover this off earlier in the sales process?
Other Sales Training Insights
Within your sales training buyers guide, it is important to break down each step in your sales process and then match the sales training to the buyer’s journey. Each individual sales training session should concentrate on a single step in the sales process, including what sales tools, assets, content and information to use.
The next generation of B2B buyers are digital natives. How they buy and interact with salespeople will put greater demands on sales training that matches this reality. All sales training will become more dynamic, multi-channel and digitally driven, because that’s the way our buyers want it.