The world of sales is cut-throat enough as is.
Throw in a turbulent business climate, influenced by a global pandemic, ongoing digitalization, and constantly changing consumer behaviors, and you have sales reps who are constantly needing to up-skill to keep pace with the environment.
That is exactly why sales training programs are becoming so essential.
So how can businesses adapt successfully to the ups and downs of the new business climate? How can sales reps close deals and win clients, despite the volatility of consumer behavior?
The answer is simple: building effective sales training programs.
What’s in this post?
- What is a sales training program?
- 5 tips to enhance your sales training programs
- The new age of sales training programs
What is a sales training program?
Market dynamics are changing every day.
In a world where we are witnessing constant changes, new developments, and technologies, even the most qualified experts in the field need ongoing training in order to keep up with the new trends and advancements – and that's why sales training programs are so necessary.
Training ultimately gives every employee an understanding of the responsibilities and knowledge and skills they need to do that job. This will enhance their confidence which can also improve their overall performance.
With the right programs, mentorship, and practice, promising professionals can reach new heights and become bonafide sales experts
In the words of Mark Kunkle, VP at Sales Effectiveness Services SPARXiQ and author of The Building Blocks of Sales Enablement, “Adaptive selling can help you be more buyer-centric and generate more leads, as well as being a competitive differentiator for your business.”
|> Offer training on multiple types of skills
|> Create specific learning journeys to build the distinct skills needed in each role
|> Get support from organization leaders
|> Ensure sales leaders own and drive the program
|> Use high-quality, off-the-shelf content
|> Tailor content to their sales forces' specific selling motion
|> View training as a once-a-year exercise
|> Foster a culture of continuous learning
|> Measure results based on training completion
|> Measure results based on sales impact (pipeline, revenue, margin growth)
5 tips to enhance your sales training programs
1. Engagement is the key
Companies often get learning confused with listening.
Traditionally, when managers think about sales training, they often think that means providing their sales teams with lecture-style training sessions, which usually involves flying in a trainer, collecting the sales reps into a room, and hoping that their people soak in the information and suddenly the sales reps can generate more leads and close deals faster.
But let's just say, it doesn't usually work out like that.
It usually ends with the information going through one ear and out the other, without triggering any emotions in the sales rep, and thus, no information is retained. Maybe that sounds a little familiar.
At the end of the day, no matter how many cookbooks you read, or how many episodes of Masterchef you binge-watch, you aren't going to become a Micheline-star chef by passively taking in the information; it's not until you get your hands dirty in the kitchen, start trialing and erroring and learning in an interactive environment, before you begin to really up-skill your chef-hands.
And the same goes for sales reps up-skilling the vital soft skills that really help them in the world of sales.
2. Make your sales training programs accessible from anywhere
We are living in a world where hybrid work and home officing have become a part of everyday life. Those ''temporary shifts to home office' have become a part of our regular working lives, and employees and employers understand well the limitations and benefits of this hybrid working model.
In fact, it's predicted that by the end of 2022, 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote.
So, what does it mean for sales training programs? Put the learner in control.
The benefits of cultivating a culture of continuous development and learning are essential for organizations that want to reap the rewards from their most important asset - their talent. In this hybrid working age, this means it becomes crucial that training programs shouldn't just be accessible from one office or physical place. Training of the future is versatile, and accessible to trainees whenever they want, wherever they are.
This will enable a continuous, self-service learning culture.
3. Provide individualized and instant feedback
Making learning individualized is another way to help improve the employee experience, make sales reps feel more connected to their role, and of course, help identify and communicate their skills gaps.
The learning environment is pivotal for overall sales rep development, and without this regular feedback, there is no way for them to know in which areas they need to improve, or what they should focus on next.
Providing this individualized, ongoing feedback helps sales reps stay motivated, and in the long run, helps organizations retain their existing talents.
4. Scalable sales training programs: training that grows with the company
Companies are recognizing the growing need to spend more time on strengthening their customer relationships, developing advocacy, and encouraging sustainable relationships.
By establishing a sales training program that is scalable, training becomes standardized. This means that sales reps, no matter where in the world they sit, will be able to train and practice the same language and practice delivering the same, high-standard service, and thus ensure brand quality and consistency across branches.
5. Don't forget about training sales soft skills
Sure, soft skills have always been crucial aspects that help people prosper at work. But in times where in-person interactions are limited, developing and perfecting sales reps' soft skills have almost become a make or break to continue establishing strong client relationships.
In fact, a Deloitte Access Economics Study predicts that two-thirds of all jobs in Australia will rely on soft skills by 2030. That’s why organizations are investing in soft-skills training to stay competitive, alongside diversity efforts to empower teams and continue delivering ongoing value for the business.
These days, selling isn't simply about knowing your product like the back of your hand, or how long you've worked in the industry. If you don't possess some vital soft skills, you risk severing customer relationships.
The new age of sales training programs with AI
With the new changes we've witnessed in the post-pandemic business world, organizations should look to modern, digital-first workplace learning strategies in order to keep pace. That's why many organizations are turning to artificial intelligence to help them train sales reps to be ready for the new working world.
For example, Retorio's AI training program has been gaining a lot of attention in the remote training scene, particularly for training soft skills. Retorio's AI platform combines video analysis with role-plays of client simulations to offer interactive training solutions for customer-facing roles, and changing the game for sales training programs globally.
Their clients, including one of Germany's biggest automotive manufacturers, use Retorio's AI to scale up their training programs, as well as coach sales teams' soft skills remotely.
With its tangible recommendations from the AI for sales reps within minutes, sales teams could see how they could improve immediately, and best of all, they could improve their soft skills wherever they were, whenever they wanted.
Want to learn more about how Retorio's AI training platform can change the game in soft skill training your teams, even from remote settings? Click the button below!
1. What is the best sales training program?
In this unsteady and volatile business world, the best sales training programs should ideally:
- Be fully remote, on-demand training & coaching
- Scale sales training and standardize training program quality (globally)
- Offer interactive & immediate feedback to their learners
- Steepen the learning curve and ensure the sustainability of training programs
2. How to build or develop a sales training program?
A sales training program within an organization supports the idea of an organization developing its sales representatives' capabilities and competencies; essentially embracing a culture of continuous learning.
Through upskilling employees and bridging skill gaps, companies are ultimately enhancing arguably their most important intangible asset, its human capital, and the rewards of adopting a successful learning and development (L&D) strategy are boundless.
Due to the myriad of advantages offered by AI-video-powered sales training programs, such as Retorio, more and more organizations are using AI to their advantage to train their sales reps, including one of Germany's largest automotive companies.