This post was originally published by Jenny Boling on lessonly.com
It turns out that one of the biggest factors that distinguish highly effective top sales training programs from ones that fall short is the sales topics that are covered. To equip your reps to succeed, it’s best to provide comprehensive types of sales training programs that include all of the information buyers expect them to know and enable them to manage their pipeline effectively.
The secret ingredient to developing your team? Ongoing sales training. Sure it can be hard to think of topics to cover, but that’s what we’re here for. You don’t want to be too repetitive, even though covering the basics is important.
What sales training topics improve sales training?
Sales training topics don’t have to be presented through a collection of boring slides or drawn-out meetings. No no, instead consider turning to fun sales training ideas that will give you the opportunity for cool team-building training ideas, role-playing scenarios, and incentive ideas for sales training. So, when it comes to looking at your training efforts for this year, make sure your sales training programs focus on the following topics.
1. Relationship building
Myth buster: Building rapport is a key sales skill. Don’t let people tell you otherwise. Everyone can learn relationship-building skills and improve their interactions with prospects and clients, and this can be accomplished in a handful of ways.
- Role Play: Fun sales games never hurt anybody! Have two people pretend to meet each other for the first time and see how they ask questions and get to know each other. Provide feedback and coaching to help them improve.
- Context Clues: Practice identifying items within an office that sales reps can point out as a way to strike up a convo. This could be family photos, trophies, framed diplomas, and more. “You went to Defiance College in Ohio, too? No way!”
- Stalk on LinkedIn: Learning about your clients through a professional social media platform can also load your pockets with good introductory questions and conversations. Making yourself relatable is always a good approach.
- Practicing follow-up emails is another way to improve sales training. Have your team submit examples of real follow-up emails they’ve sent and work as a team to find ways to improve them.
2. Buyer personas
Your buyer personas might be the most crucial topic in your sales training topics. If your reps don’t have a strong understanding of your buyer’s needs, they’re going to make a negative impression. To ensure your reps are trustworthy, train them to understand the nuances of your various buyer personas. This includes:
- Pain points: what are the most stressful issues they’re facing?
- Company structure: who are the decision-makers, and how fast can they typically make decisions?
- Communication style: do they like to connect on a personal level, or do they prefer brief conversations focused on the facts?
- Industry characteristics and news: what kinds of challenges and opportunities is their industry facing?
Training your sales reps to have a firm grasp of these topics empowers them to help prospects solve problems instead of just giving robot-like semi-relevant pitches.
3. Social selling
Social selling has always been important, but it’s become crucial since COVID forced sellers to work remotely. Prospects and customers have different ways of doing business, solving problems, communicating, and approaching business decisions. So when it comes to delivering training, be sure to include training topics that help reps adapt to different social styles like:
- Effective communication: Sellers need to be able to clearly communicate via email, video, phone, or even chat. Train them to communicate in a way that’s effective, friendly, and approachable.
- Technology: Sales teams use a lot of different tools. Include training topics on things like using their CRM, content platforms, call recording solutions and more.
- Active listening: Did you know that 40% of potential customers are more likely to close a deal with a rep who actively listens to them? The right listening and sales training helps reps hone their listening, communicating, and problem-solving skills for a social selling environment.
Quality training leads to loyal learners
Maintaining a robust sales training program is one of the most predictable ways to reach your revenue goals. In fact, research shows companies with effective training have a significantly higher number of sales reps reaching and exceeding quota than those who don’t have a training program or their sales training material is inadequate.
A combination of great training content, hands-on practice, and feedback will make the sales training process fluid. Your learners will associate it with a good time, not a groggy one, and we can help make that possible.