33% of customers say the impression the frontline makes changes everything. While sales professionals play a critical role in the overall success of a business, many organizations will overlook the importance of investing time and resources in developing sturdy sales training.
In order to achieve the desired sales outcomes, organizations need to build sustainable sales training that is rooted in business reality and adapted for a digital era.
The challenge with developing sales training programs
One of the biggest challenges organizations face with sales and frontline staff is that what sold yesterday may not sell today. As the business scenario remains dynamic, so does sales and so does the sales mantra of an organization.
Broadly put, organizations and functional heads need to ensure engaging, periodic, and sustained training for those working on their frontlines. And they need to do so without taking them out of production, by equipping them with ready and immediate access to information at their points of need.
Another notable challenge is bridging the gap between conceptual learning and contextual learning. How do we transition from learning to sales enablement? Having important contextual learning support within reach can help sales and frontline staff handle and overcome objections and close the sale.
Driving the conversations to personalize sales training
While organizations rarely need help knowing that their sales team needs training, they do need help to ensure that their programs personalize training. They need targeted and individualized training.
Adding digital elements to training programs can help track learning and quantify it. Learning solutions like simulations and capstones can help salespeople think like leaders of the business and help leaders understand how to better position and support the sales team.
In order to develop an empathetic training program that really resonates with the audience, a talk with frontline salespeople and spending a day in their work lives can help learning heads figure out the nuances and unique pain points of each role. It can also give you a broader understanding of the ground realities and help you frame training messaging using the language of the industry. Speaking to past sales trainers and an analysis of sales data from the last 2-3 years helps too.
Ensuring value right from the early development stages
Right from the early stages of developing a sales training program, there must be a total alignment of the messaging within the training and the unique sales challenges the organization faces.
Conversations with the sales head or CXOs can help frame the broad problem statement while consulting with sales experts and other SMEs can help gain a wider perspective on common issues within the industry and target markets.
The objective of the training should be to deliver more value within short spurts of time, thus making it worth their while. There must be a focus on constant practice and giving learning content some form of context that enables them to perform better.
Learning heads must develop quantifiable ways to document evidence of the impact of their sales training programs. Whatever the goals of the program, whether it is reduced time to performance, improved sales figures, or a reduction of issues in sales compliance, they need to be kept in mind during every stage of the development of the sales training program.
Prioritizing the outcome
Worldwide, the sales environment is constantly shifting. In most cases, when it comes to sales training, organizations and learning and development teams don’t need to reinvent the wheel. They can simply build on existing learning foundations but need to ensure that they are employing new ways to keep their resources engaged with training material. The messages should keep getting pushed out to sales professionals in a sustained manner. Think of it as periodic OS updates that save your phone from becoming obsolete.
Sales is a tough job. There are no quick-fixes to enhance performance, and training is only a part of the groundwork. People, processes, and backend support play a large role in driving the right sales outcomes for businesses. Organizations aren’t looking for “Sales Training,” they are looking for ways to achieve business outcomes. Thus, learning needs to be quick and have proven results at the end.
Anna Kuehl, Senior Vice President – Customer Solutions at MPS Interactive Systems
Rajesh Jumani, Senior Vice President – India Sales at MPS Interactive Systems
Debabrata Paul, Vice President – Learning Design at MPS Interactive Systems
Kanhiya Agrawal, Senior Manager – Projects at MPS Interactive Systems
MPS Interactive has developed award-winning sales training for global organizations. Click on the button below to access our guide for effective sales training.