Training is an important part of life. Think about it.
Wish your dog would “sit” on command? Train it. Is your preschooler ready to cruise on that new bike? Strap on those training wheels! Committed to running a marathon? Better follow that training program.
And let’s not forget about literally every sales job out there—onboarding and ongoing training are a must. Sales training on day one is just as important as sales training on day 101 and every day that follows.
What is sales training?
Sales training comes down to teaching reps the most successful selling techniques, skills, and information that they’ll need to have informed conversations with prospects and close deals. This includes everything from product and services, soft skills, and solutions. We’ll dive into those a bit later, but let’s talk about why sales training is so important in the first place.
The importance of sales training
A solid sales team is the lifeblood of your company and the bridge to your customers. And in order for your sales team to help grow the business, they have to be properly trained. Let’s take a look at some of the top reasons why sales training is important for every organization.
Trained reps lead to more sales
Consider this: Are you more confident doing things the first time or more so after practice and training? A well-trained sales rep can better influence potential and current customers when they know how to best approach them, ask the right questions, discuss their needs, and offer the right solutions. That’s because they have more confidence in their sales tactics and strategies. They’ll also provide the level of service needed to gain loyal customers—and results. Still don’t believe us? Then consider this: The Aberdeen Group found that companies with successful sales enablement and training programs have 32% higher sales team quota attainment, 24% better individual rep quota attainment, and 23% higher lead conversion rate.
Empowered reps are happier reps
It’s a no-brainer that happy reps lead to happy customers. Providing ongoing opportunities to train and learn new skills is a smart way to motivate, engage, and empower your team. It shows you’re invested in their success as professionals and valued team members, with the potential to regularly play a part in the success of the company. In fact, companies with better sales training programs only see 11.9% of rep turnover compared to a rate of 19.5% in organizations with less than satisfactory sales training.
Knowledgeable reps improve the customer experience
An investment in sales training improves interactions with customers, builds better relationships, and has a positive impact on customer service. Sales training provides a way to improve skill sets and learn new strategies and technologies—and all of this is useful when working with both prospects and customers.
Different types of sales training programs
There are a number of different approaches you can take when it comes to choosing the right sales training process for your organization. For example, building a strong onboarding program is the best way to engage new reps, increase retention, and reduce ramp time. But instead of simply checking a box for annual sales training, organizations have greater success when they deliver different types of sales training programs that help reps learn, practice, and perform over time. Here are several different types of sales training programs that organizations should consider creating and offering.
Sales training for beginners
Every new sales rep needs to master some basic skills. Sales training courses for beginners are informative, educational, and bring new reps up-to-speed with the best sales techniques as well as company best practices, processes, and products.
B2B sales training
B2B selling usually includes higher prices, longer sales cycles, and multiple touch points. B2B sales training programs are tailored to your industry and provide reps with job aids and tools they need on a daily basis.
B2C sales training
B2C training targets individual buyers including physical storefronts, e-commerce, and services. B2C sales training focuses on audiences, brand loyalty, and personalized marketing.
Sales leadership training
In order to have top-notch sales reps, you also need top-notch sales leaders. That’s why sales leadership training is essential to sales success and revenue growth for any organization. A sales leadership training program that produces well-trained sales managers will reap benefits such as engaged teams that know how to drive results and hit their targets.
Sales training topics
Sales reps are hungry for success, and the right sales training topics can get them there. Sure, the learning curve may be steep — both for individuals who are new to the profession and experienced sellers who are ready to grow in their careers and take on a new role. But with the right priorities and structure in place within advanced sales training topics, you can turn team members into top sellers. Here are some sales training ideas to consider.
Negotiating: Unfortunately, not every prospect is going to take the bait on a rep’s first try. So what happens when the prospect opens the door with negotiations? How should sellers respond? When does it make sense to deactivate a lead? Comprehensive sales training needs to address these negotiation elements and more.
Cold calling: If your sales reps want to be effective, they need to master the art of getting on the phone and connecting with prospects. Cold calling training can set them up for success by giving them talking points, setting expectations on rejection or objections, and assigning them a mentor.
Prospecting: By the time a member of your sales team reaches out to a prospect, they should already be familiar with them. Sales training should always include a section that covers this research process and tools they should use like your CRM, social profiles, and more.
Sales reps need to use a number of tools that help them communicate with prospects, track deal cycles, create contracts, and more. The idea is to always ensure the sales tools you use maximizes efficiency and lowers cost. But, they’re only useful if your reps know how to use them properly, so be sure to provide adequate training on the various pieces of your tech stack.
Products and services
Expecting sales reps to understand your product or service seems like a very basic expectation that shouldn’t require a lot of training. But that doesn’t mean you can skip this step. After all, buyers are highly risk-averse and want to make well-informed decisions. When sales reps struggle to give complete answers to their questions, it hurts buyer confidence and makes the sale more challenging.
Sales best practices
Successful sales techniques: Have your sales reps found success with a certain email cadence or particular sales opening techniques? Or, maybe they have some great tips when it comes to following up with a prospect after a demo. If so, be sure to capture these best practices and share them across the team as much as possible.
Prospecting strategies: Prospecting and cold calling can seem like daunting tasks, especially for a brand new sales rep. Help them become more comfortable and confident with their prospecting skills by sharing some prospecting best practices that other reps have found success with.
Sales process best practices: Your sales team likely has a specific sales process that every rep needs to know and follow. Be sure to properly outline your organization’s sales process and then share best practices and tips for new reps so they can become familiar with how things are done—and why.
Popular sales training methods and techniques
Depending on the type of program and topics covered, sales teams can deliver training through a few different methods and channels, and there are pros and cons to each.
- Pros: Sales conferences are a great sales training method to get everyone working collaboratively. They’re in-person or even virtual opportunities that give people the chance to collaborate, share techniques, and brainstorm in real-time.
- Cons: They can be boring and costly for your company, both in travel expenses and productivity.
In-person training sessions
- Pros: Similarly to sales conferences, in-person training provides the opportunity for real-time participation. Meeting with people and vendors from all over who are experienced in sales may just give your team the insights they need to accelerate growth for your business.
- Cons: There’s a large lack of flexibility. Virtual sales training is on the rise for many reasons, a big one being the ability for employees to participate from anywhere at any time. The important part is getting the information to your people, right? So why does it matter if they’re in a training board room or in their home office?
- Pros: By shadowing experienced and high-performing team members, new sellers can gain valuable insight into the role and build relationships with their fellow sellers.
- Cons: If you aren’t careful who to pair new sellers with, there’s a chance they can learn ineffective processes or incorrect information.
Sales Training Online
While the sales training techniques mentioned above are useful in their own ways, one of our favorite sales training methods is online sales training. Not only can online sales training include interactive and customizable material that engages a variety of learning styles, but it’s also accessible anytime from anywhere. You can also use online sales training to reinforce the other training techniques we just shared. For example, if you hold an in-person training session that’s focused on negotiation skills, reps can then access and complete an online training lesson that provides supplemental info and practice opportunities on improving their negotiation skills.
By making sales training materials available online, you also give your company the advantage of updating information in real-time. Unlike an in-person sales conference or seminar, sales classes online allow reps to be notified immediately when changes occur so they are always up-to-date. Not only that but there’s also the ability to track insights and data which gives sales managers an inside look at which reps are being trained and how they’re performing.
Helpful sales training resources
Whether you need to create a sales training program from scratch or improve your current training efforts, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to creating the best sales training going forward. But you’re not alone. We have a number of free resources that can help you along the journey.
Sales training vs. sales coaching: It’s important to know that sales training and coaching are not the same thing. In this guide, we break down key differences and best practices for each.
Sales training course ideas: If you’re struggling to decide what training courses to provide, then this resource is for you. In it we provide 75 topic ideas and tips for creating the best sales training courses.
Sales training manual: Hiring new sellers without an employee training plan isn’t effective. If they don’t know where they’re going or the path to get there, they won’t be successful. This training plan template helps organizations identify what reps need training on and how to best provide it.
Deliver effective sales training with Seismic
Sales reps are on the go and the old-school sales training sessions of the past won’t cut it anymore. That’s why online sales training courses are the most effective training solution for both your new employees and your experienced reps. Sales training works, and sales teams that train with Lessonly by Seismic see faster ramp times, more closed deals, and happier reps. Click here to learn more.