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Training & Learning

6 Ways You Should Be Training Your Sales Team (for Better Business Outcomes)

Handling data sheets and reports, finding and nurturing qualified leads, making the right business decisions, and facing rejection...these are just a few of the challenges sales reps have to face on a daily basis. 

Standardized sales management training can help reps close deals by creating a solid framework to follow. It involves creating resources, deploying the right tools, and organizing learning sessions to help reps perform and drive more revenue.

In the absence of proper training, managers may find it difficult to boost team efficiency and achieve the best business outcomes. 

But is sales training really necessary? In a word, yes. A report by McKinsey states that high-performing organizations offer personalized training to their sales team. More research by The Brooks Group highlights that 45% of sales managers spend 30-60 minutes a week training sales reps.

Need more convincing? A 2020 report by HubSpot affirms that 65% of sales managers who outperformed their ROI targets have a dedicated and well-trained sales workforce. All in all, sales management training can prove to be a game-changer in creating better business outcomes.

That’s why in this post, we will share the top six types of sales training that L&D teams and sales leaders can implement to boost their team's efficiency.

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1. Train the sales team to use the tools in hand

The sales tech stack can help automate sales processes, provide insights into customers, and speed up lead tracking, thereby enhancing the overall productivity of the sales team and business ROI. It's no wonder top businesses are leveraging sales technology to outperform their competitors. 

However, the sales team must understand how to leverage the tools for the best business outcomes. Underutilizing the sales tech stack can result in poor ROI in the long term.

Here are a few crucial tools for which sales leaders should provide training to the team.

  • Customer relationship management (CRM): CRM is one of the most vital sales management tools. Providing CRM training can help sales reps gain customer insights and improve customer retention. We will discuss it in detail in the latter half of this post.
  • Quote-to-cash software (QTC): QTC can empower the team with automated quote creation and delivery. Training your team to handle QTC software can help them streamline customer quote approval workflows, analyze crucial quote conversion metrics, track the quote-to-cash progress, and boost ROI. 
  • Sales intelligence software: Sales intelligence can help sales reps discover, track, and understand prospects' and clients' interests. With this tool, salespeople can reach the right prospects. Besides, they can leverage customer insights to communicate confidently. The result? It can help them close deals hassle-free.

Sales leaders can arrange weekly sessions to teach the functionality of these tools for better business outcomes. They can speak to L&D professionals and create short informative videos to demonstrate the functionalities and make the concept clear. 

2. Communication training  

Excellent communication skills allow sales reps to interact with and understand clients' concerns, convey business messages, and navigate challenging conversations. This can help them win customer trust and nurture long-term relationships. 

Strong internal communication can help drive better performance and productivity. It’s no wonder sales managers consider effective communication one of the most valued traits in sales reps. Other crucial skills include critical thinking, confidence, problem-solving, and relationship building. 

Here are a couple tips for effective communication training for sales teams:

Supercharge your team's active listening skills

Active listening requires listening and understanding clients' perspectives, retaining crucial information, and using this information to find effective solutions to business problems. Here’s one way to get started improving your team’s active listening skills:

Sales leaders can set up small groups and provide instructions on listening and understanding customer pain points. For instance, they can explain how to analyze customers' tone of voice, body language, and expressions to improve engagement. 

In addition, sales managers can collaborate with the L&D team and organize test calls to help them gain practical experience, or to organize for junior reps to shadow more senior staff. 

Train your team to communicate with confidence

Communicating with confidence can help your team handle tricky situations, like prospect objections, or difficult pitches. 

3. Comprehensive product training

Product knowledge training allows salespeople to understand and present product features and benefits effectively. 

A report by Salesforce states that 66% of customers expect businesses to understand their expectations and concerns. Rightly so, product training is an integral part of the sales process as it enables reps to make informed and effective sales efforts.

Here are a couple tips for successful product training: 

Provide product tours 

Product tours or walkthroughs are in-app tutorials that allow managers to guide sales reps, especially trainees, to understand product features. These walkthroughs explain the working and advantages of product features. It’s obviously essential to offer product tours to help sales reps understand the buyer's journey and needs. 

Share product roadmaps

A product roadmap defines short-term and long-term goals concerning a product. It can help the sales team align with stakeholder expectations. Sales team leaders and L&D professionals can collaborate with the technical team to understand product development strategies. They can use the information to create product roadmaps to help sales reps understand product updates and long-term vision. 

A report by Salesforce states that 66% of customers expect businesses to understand their expectations and concerns.

4. CRM training

As every sales manager knows, customer relationship management (CRM) is a technology that helps sales reps acquire, engage, and build long-term relationships with customers. The CRM software makes customer-brand interactions seamless by providing customer insights like demographics, purchase history, and more, thereby streamlining sales processes. 

According to Gallup, implementing CRM systems doesn't guarantee sales success. On top of implementing the right CRM, businesses need to empower their employees to get the most out of this valuable technology. 

Here are a few basic tips to provide CRM training:

Leverage CRM vendor's training material 

Begin the initial training sessions using resources provided by the CRM software firm. Most CRM software providers offer video tutorials and guides offering a step-by-step introduction to each feature. So, sales leaders can share the resources directly with the team. 

Engage in CRM tasks 

Next, sales leaders can provide hands-on CRM training to sales reps by engaging in tasks within the CRM. They can teach them functionalities such as updating inventory information, fetching customer insights, and using other features. 

Besides, L&D professionals can invite industry experts to share CRM strategies and help the sales team excel. 

Assign tasks to assess the team's knowledge

Sales leaders can take the help of L&D experts to develop various assignments to gauge sales team knowledge. For instance, sales leaders can create short quizzes on the functionalities of distinct CRM modules. They can even ask the reps to perform tasks like updating inventory information, creating a strategy to qualify incoming leads, and more.

Furthermore, they can evaluate the assignments and conduct sessions to address their challenges.

5. Cold calling and emailing

Cold calling and emailing are tried and tested methods to reach potential customers. A report by Callhippo reveals that sales reps can boost the conversion rate by 70% by improving their cold calling efforts. 

Email open rates and engagement have seen a dramatic increase in the past couple of years, making email one of the best marketing tactics. So, you should include cold calling and email in sales management training. Here are a few actionable tips to consider. 

Use role-playing techniques

Sales role-play involves situations that depict what salespeople experience in real-life during prospecting. For instance, prospects from a specific age group may have typical responses to cold calls or emails. So, sales leaders can create a script reflecting the typical customer response. They can perform test call sessions to sharpen their skills. 

This allows sales reps to improvise their approach beforehand. Hence, role-playing can help them manage interactions successfully. 

Leverage question maps 

Sales leaders can discuss various customer scenarios with L&D professionals. This can help them create question maps. For example, they can develop customer personas and list the type of questions they may ask. Here’s an example:

End user: Businesses using LMS 

Challenge: A lack of functionality required by modern businesses  

Goal: To invest in a reliable LMS that is easy to use and offers ROI analytics, adaptability, and reporting. 

The conversation may include the following questions. 

  • What features does my business need?
  • What problems can the new LMS solve?
  • What are its top features?
  • Can you share the pricing plans?
  • What skills are crucial to handle the new LMS tool? 
  • Where in the user lifecycle can this tool make the most impact?
  • How will I measure success metrics and ROI?

Guide your team on how to answer the questions and improve the chances of success.

Create and provide a cold-calling playbook

A cold calling playbook includes tips and strategies to structure a cold call. For instance, it can comprise conversation tips, a script to describe their product, and more. Creating and sharing a playbook can help your team handle situations with confidence.

6. Sales lifecycle training

The sales lifecycle includes all the sales processes, from identifying and contacting prospects to addressing their challenges, sharing product details, closing deals, and follow-ups. 

Simply put, it's the journey of converting a potential client into a customer and nurturing relationships. Outlining the key touch points can help sales reps optimize their customer journey.

When introducing sales lifecycle training in your strategy, here's what to consider:

Explain each customer-service touchpoint 

Right from prospecting to handling customer complaints to providing them with the right solutions, create a detailed training course for your sales reps to refer to. 

Develop training materials like:

  • A knowledge base that includes FAQs and user queries
  • Video tutorials that include exclusive examples and tips for various buyer stages
  • Helpful documents and ebooks to capitalize on upselling and cross-selling opportunities

Create a sales-team onboarding program

A sales team onboarding program can help new reps understand their job role and the company's objectives and values. It’ll also help them gain in-depth insights into the products and target audience. 

Create a course or arrange sessions to equip your team with knowledge. Build a training curriculum around the sales skills they need for the entire lifecycle. 

Pro Tip: Create high-quality courses with five crucial frameworks, from onboarding to compliance with 360Learning course templates. The 100% customizable use cases can help you launch relevant courses in no time, thereby speeding up sales management training. 

360Learning supports course creation from a clean slate, or a choice from one of 5 use cases.

Use these 6 sales training techniques to drive better business outcomes

You’re now equipped with sales training techniques that are a great start to boosting your team's efficiency. Besides a great product, sales reps' effort determines the success of customer acquisition and retention. A well-trained sales team is essential to hitting business revenue targets.

It’s no wonder that more companies are investing in sales management training techniques to empower their sales teams. A recent LinkedIn survey stated that 50% of L&D teams have prioritized upskilling and reskilling employees in 2022. Will your organization be doing the same?