This post was originally published by Derek Harvey on lessonly.com.
I’m a career-changer. At 35 years old, after a decade as a pastry chef (hit me up if you want to talk about laminating dough and petit gateaux), I burned out. I had had enough of 100-hour work weeks for little money and less appreciation.
Through a story too long to tell here, I landed a contractor gig that I parlayed into an interview to be an Account Executive at an enterprise SaaS organization. I had read a few sales books, but that was about it.
Fast forward to my final interview, I was asked, “Why do you think you’ll be successful in sales?” Without thinking, purely by instinct, I said, “Because I play blackjack, not slots.”
Quizzical looks. I let it sit for a minute before clarifying.
Then, I talked about how I don’t like leaving my success up to fate, like in slots. I prefer a situation where my knowledge, experience, and skill can impact my success rates, like in blackjack or poker.
I’ve always known that small differences in ability can lead to enormous differences in results. If that’s true in life, surely it must be true in sales.
When you push yourself to learn more and apply your knowledge and experience during the sales process, it looks like:
- selling based on value, not price,
- larger, more complex, bespoke deals, and
- the opposite of turn-and-burn sales from a catalog.
I didn’t know it then, but I was talking about solution-selling and value-based sales—the fun stuff!
I’m fortunate to have learned this before I got started in sales, but I’m often asked, “What did you learn that made you a better salesperson?”
My answer? Sales is about solving a problem, not pushing a product.
It’s not about what a product does, rather it’s about how the product will change the customer’s life. And to know that, you need to learn about their world. Of all the sales training topics that I’ve experienced, that’s the one that has made the biggest impact on my career—and my quota.
Did you know that only 13% of customers believe that a salesperson can understand their needs?
That means that only 13% of customers have felt like they’ve been part of a true, consultative, solution-based sales process. Fortunately, over the years, I’ve seen solution selling find its place in sales training courses for beginners and veterans alike. But clearly, executing the idea isn’t as easy as it sounds.
How can you use sales training software to become a better salesperson?
Allow me to connect the dots in one word—mastery.
To be the best, you need to consistently work towards mastery in every way possible. A salesperson should be a student of their customers. They need to learn every industry; be knowledgeable of their competitors, integrations, and trends; and they need to be dialed in on their own product.
It’s a lot to digest, and that’s not even the end of it. They also need to practice.
How do you think your favorite team would play if they saw the playbook once and never practiced? Not good. Do you think Hamilton would’ve been such a success if the actors just glanced at the sheet music and script but never rehearsed? Not a chance.
There are a lot of different types of sales training programs out there, and just like in the examples above, none of them are worth anything if you don’t practice, retain, and iterate on what you learn.
This is where choosing the right sales training software comes in.
No matter how good your training content is, if your training platform isn’t engaging, people will simply use it to complete an assignment and never look back. I’ve seen some pretty solid b2b sales training programs rendered ineffective through poor adoption of the training platform.
Regardless of how many types of sales training methods or advanced sales training topics you use, if your team trains just to check it off the list and they don’t engage with the content enough to make an impression, they will never go back and practice towards mastery.
Reps will underperform.
Deal sizes will go down.
Quotas will suffer.
People will be miserable.
Attrition will go up.
Hiring will need to be increased.
New hires go through the same training program.
The cycle continues.
You can break that cycle by creating quality training programs and running them in a training software that fosters engagement and allows for practice.
We live by the phrase “brain, book, buddy, boss.” If you need answers, check your brain first. Next, check your book. Then, check your sales playbook that’s housed on our sales training software.
This comes in handy because, not only is the platform incredibly searchable and engaging, but we load it up with examples of what great looks like and provide learners the opportunity to practice and receive feedback until they are the new example!
We make it exciting to go to the “book” and grab everything they need to up their own game.
The solution is simple—get yourself a training platform that learners actually like to use, fill it with content that will help them work towards mastery, and give them plenty of chances to practice before they get in front of the customer.
When you teach people what they need to know, and you give them opportunities to practice doing their jobs well, they tend to do their jobs better. As a training leader, you put your blood, sweat, and tears into building a program that helps your team crush goals, not coast by.
How would you feel if you built a killer playbook to help your team master all aspects of blackjack but they still played slots, strictly because they forgot blackjack existed and it’s easier to pull a lever and hope for the best? Don’t fall into the easy trap of “setting and forgetting” your training—find a training solution that engages learners and empowers them to actually work towards mastery.