Sales Training Program Expert Tips

Sales training program expert tips for anyone involved in sales management or sales enablement some insight into planning any form of sales training. It sounds simplistic to say that sales training is the act of training salespeople or the sales team on the product and sales process.
The definition gets more complex when we consider how many types of sales and the types of buyers there are. An inbound salesperson may not be able to do prospecting or cold calling for new business.

Then we have the various sales techniques, methodologies, product knowledge, and all the attributes that go into making a successful salesperson. Sales training can sometimes be viewed as a cost rather than an investment that lifts up sales performance and revenue. Any sales training program can be delivered in many formats, from classroom to online, offsite workshops to seminars. Salespeople can be encouraged to self-educate or trained as a group.

Sales Training Program

Many people in sales roles today would not have chosen sales as a career. In fact, a lot of salespeople begin their career without any training at all especially in smaller companies. The “you have it, or you don’t” concept of selling creates the idea that salespeople are born not made (with training like any skill). Unlike many careers, sales or selling is a producers role. That means being at the coalface of revenue generation, day in, day out. So, yes – a sales career is more demanding. While it helps to have a natural disposition towards communication and persistence, most salespeople learn the skills and acquire the knowledge to master selling via constant reinforcement and training. Investing in a sales training program has many benefits apart from improving sales results. It has positive effects on motivation, it helps to assess salespeople, identifies future managers or leaders, highlights weaker salespeople who may need more training or coaching etc. It also happens to be the perfect stage for team building and to reenergize the sales teams. Before we go deeper into this free sales training programs guide, let’s start on how to choose the right program for your sales team. Mapping out the sales process and customer touch points is a great way to begin planning.

Choosing the sales training program depends on the sales process and type of sale. The sales process is the step by step journey that a salesperson and buyer travels together towards completing a sale. Everything from the initial call, to demos, free trials, presentations etc are all considered to be part of the sales process. What type of sale does your business enact? The sales process for large enterprise high value sale is very different than that of a small business transactional type selling. Things to ask is how are the leads gathered, how long does a sale take, how many customer touch points are there, how many decision makers are there plus how simple, or complex is the product or solution?

Selecting sales training programs that do not fit into the overall business model and sales strategy can be a waste of time, money, and resources.

Let’s explore the types of sales to help guide you on the sales training program options worth considering.

Types of Sales Training Program Methods

There are two main types of selling methods that a sales training program should account for, namely Transactional and Relationship. Relationship selling can be further broken down into consultative, challenging and solution selling. Depending on whether you sell B2B or B2C, the value of the sales etc, then the sales process could involve a bit of all.

Transactional Selling.
Transactional selling usually involves quick, well understood and lowish value sales. This methodology is about making the largest number of sales possible in a given time period.

These types of sales require less consideration from the buyer due to the price, knowledge, or familiarity with the product. The buying decision is heavily influenced by  a trigger need, for example a broken phone or laptop. So, a transactional selling process would suit where a company can sell in high volume at low price, educated customer, well understood product, easy to compare and the ability of customers to buy now.

Relationship Selling
Relationship selling are complex, usually (but not always) are higher value, have longer sales cycles and includes a level of customer education. They often require a customer to change an internal process or procedure, they may require more in depth knowledge transfer to the buyer or the consideration level for the buyer is high so involves multiple stakeholders. These type of complex sales are a type of sale that comes with high stakes as in customer may only buy once in 5 years, already have a solution or vendor relationship. Most of them entail a lengthy sales process, implementation, change management or a legal contract. Because these type of sales have a long sales cycle and can continue over many meetings etc, they are less about the product or solution and more about the impact of change alongside the relationship (trust, credibility, proof, believability).

Define The Sales Process

The sales process is your sequence of specific and value-added steps, interactions, and markers towards the goal of a sale. Today, most businesses have their own sales process which outlines in a sales playbook how their sales are managed. To be success, the sales process must be well planned and can be used in day-to-day sales activities by every salesperson.

Acquiring and developing customers will involve using a variety of marketing, sales, and support resources with the goal of generating profitable revenue. The sales process can be visualized as a funnel which maps out all the steps a salesperson must take the customer through plus it has a number of markers which indicate if the customer is really on a buying journey.

Customers enter the sales funnel at the top and a percentage will successfully proceed to the next stage, narrowing the numbers at each stage of the sales process as the sales progresses.

Constant lead generation and identifying sales opportunities to keep filling the sales funnel can be the hardest of the sales process. Inbound leads can be warmer (due to some trigger event); however, they are also usually looking at several vendors for comparison. Outbound leads are typically colder as they would enter the sales funnel via cold outreach, emails, or approached via social selling. The sales process lessons in a free sales training program should outline how leads will be generated and in what volumes to meet the sales targets.

Startup companies especially must spend time thinking about the steps in their sales process and the cost of customer acquisition. These factors will strongly determine whether the company will be generate revenue or not.

A sample sales process would be.

  1. Lead generation.
  2. Qualification of lead.
  3. Preparation for interaction.
  4. Diagnose pains or challenges.
  5. Quality of opportunity.
  6. Educate the buyer/buying group.
  7. Solve the pain and propose solution.
  8. Confirm attractiveness of offer.
  9. Close the sale.
Free sales training program

Sales Methodology

The term “Sales Methodology” defines the type of approach a salesperson will take during the sales process. This focuses on the formulaic steps in the sales playbook and sales training program. Everything from call preparation, mindset, discovery questions, qualification criteria, uncovering needs, challenging perceptions, sales assets, sales meeting structures etc. Sales methodology is what defines what type of sales training program is needed to be in place to support all of your sales efforts. Sales methodology goes hand-in-hand with the overarching sales strategy. The correct sales methodology for the customer type or market you address alongside the documented sales process will create an environment for the sales team to sell successfully.
Sales Methodology Training Strategies There are a variety of methodologies designed for different aspects of the sales process. Studying each one individually is valuable, implementing the one that best fits your business is ideal.

Types of Selling Motions

Consultative Selling.

Consultative selling involves selling complex, high value or intangible solutions that match known challenges or pain points. It is optimized around a highly personalized relationship for the highest revenue at a high win rate. One of the earmarks of consultative selling is avoiding being in a three or four way competitive pitch. This methodology addresses a hierarchical buying process in which salespeople focus their efforts on identifying and influencing a number of decision makers.

Strategic Selling.

Strategic selling involves selling innovative solutions (unconsidered needs/business change implications) to high value accounts, even if they do not recognize a problem currently. The hallmark of strategic selling is around “Proof of Value” or “Highly tailored Workshops” with senior executives from the target company team who can be motivated to optimize their business. This sales methodology often requires top down organizational selling, where senior C level executives from the seller organization reaches out to C level executives from the target company.

The SaaS Sales Method.

The SaaS Sales Method involves selling reoccurring revenue that disrupts the buyers current position. It is optimized around make buying easy, lifetime value, benefit realization and selling based on priority. SaaS sales operate at a quite high velocity and will blend online selling, webinars, and remote meeting techniques. This method is focused on a more fluid market which is consensus driven. This method is framed around a market where the buyer is less concerned with arriving at the decision but more how quickly they can move through the buying process.

Account Based Selling (ABS).

Account-based selling has increased in popularity in recent years. This methodology looks at every individual customer as a market of one. Instead of one salesperson targeting a single contact within a single account, a team of salespeople will be assigned to target multiple decision makers or stakeholders at the company. This more invested, personalized approach of account-based selling can be a successful strategy when selling to larger corporates, especially when considering that decisions within a typical large account can involve a buying group of 7  to 9 people on average

Conversational Selling.

Conversational selling is similar to transactional selling. It is the highest converting sales methodology and provides live or real-time sales conversations that drives connection and trust. It replaces the more traditional product pitches with conversational interactions where the salesperson aims to understand and meet the customer’s needs first.

Value Based Selling

In the simplest terms, a value-based selling approach focuses on helping customers understand what problems a product or service can solve for them and what value it will bring to their business.  Importantly, such value orientation not only informs the outcomes of the sales process, but also every interaction with the customer. Such a process-based focus gives customers a reason to stay connected with reps and continue the sales conversation because they receive repeated reassurance that the rep is focused on their pain points and working toward finding a solution.

Sales Training Program Guide

Salespeople who have had well planned out sales training program can have a major impact on revenue generating ability of any company. After receiving sales training, the sales activity of salespeople increases drastically. Training should inspire and motivate the sales team, making them eager to practice new sales skills and engage more customers. Increased customer interactions equals more  sales opportunities, leading to more salles. Sales training has the added benefit of improving mindsets, challenging beliefs, removing limitations etc.  Confident salespeople naturally sell more because they are in control.

Maintaining your sales team’s focus throughout the sales cycle can be a  balancing act in itself. So much time and money is invested into hiring and onboarding salespeople that any decrease in the amount of time spent selling will eat into your company’s profit. Time to consider online sales training or blended learning.

Sales training online that aligns salespeople and processes to avoid inconsistency in the sales process requires short-term and long-term changes that bridge the gap between the current status quo and the requirements of the sales methodology. Briefly, these are:

a. Alignment across the customer organization: Implementing a new methodology requires cooperation from customer success, training, enablement, and frontline sales managers. After all, a sales training program cannot be implemented by frontline salespeople alone but  requires an infrastructure to succeed. It’s always worth checking out some free sales training videos

b. Frontline salespeople and leadership buy-in: Ultimately, the nitty gritty of methodology adoption will be overseen by frontline managers, who will also take responsibility for ensuring the salesperson completes the training. Hence, everyone’s buy-in to undertake and learn is essential.

c. Clear communication: Bringing salespeople onboard to own their own skill and career development requires clear and structured communication. It is important that the message with regard to the need and value of to undertake sales training programs pervades through every level of the customer organization.

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