When we speak of Sales Enablement, our main focus is on alignment of sales and marketing teams and digital equipment of salespeople. Yet in order to improve your business performances, salespeople must be informed and trained. According to a study carried out in 2015 by the Aberdeen Group, 55% of salespeople don’t possess the skills required to achieve their objectives. Why prioritise continuing training of salespeople? What resources do commercial managers need simply in order to provide their teams with continuing training? A few possible answers here.
Why promote continuing training of salespeople?
Initial training isn’t enough
According to the aforementioned Aberdeen study, it takes 7 months for a new salesperson to be able to sell successfully. Yet salespeople forget 87% of what they learnt during those months. Continuing training is therefore crucial to ensuring stable levels of knowledge over time and achieving your objectives. The same study emphasises that continuing training of sales teams leads to a 50% increase in the turnover made per salesperson per year. Continuing training of salespeople therefore ensures business efficacy.
A context that is evolving too quickly
The digital transformation has changed relations with buyers. 60% of them no longer want to meet with salespeople. Your sales team needs to adapt with all due speed. In this context, it’s the so-called “challenger” salespeople who are the most effective. Such profiles have comprehensive knowledge of their customers’ sectors, issues and competitors. They create value through their advice and criticism alike.
A heterogeneous sales team
Your team is made up of a variety of profiles, who all come up against different problems. As a manager, you have to assist them in developing their expertise on yours products and services, but you also have to lend them individual support if they are to fulfil their potential. One-off vocational training sessions in theoretical sales techniques, designed to harmonise levels of knowledge, must be complemented by individualised support.
4 simple means of developing continuing training
At each sale, the salesperson is confronted with a new challenge that they must analyse before acting, even though they don’t have the required objectivity. This is where managers come in. They may not necessarily be the best at selling but they’re the best coaches for their teams.
Feedback from the field
Travelling salespeople, who are often on their own, must be able to collect objective feedback in order to improve their performances and understand their areas for improvement. Accompany them to selected appointments or form complementary duos, partnering a junior salesperson with a senior salesperson for example, or an extrovert with a more introverted profile.
Perhaps you haven’t got the resources to set up an in-house sales school. Even so, you can organise regular sessions enabling salespeople to exchange with each other and share their best practices, and providing you with an opportunity to communicate the necessary information to them.
By creating a range of simulation exercises with various types of customers, you prepare your salespeople to cope with a multitude of contexts and interlocutor typologies. In addition, salespeople develop their empathy for prospects by putting themselves in their shoes. As a result, once they’re dealing with customers, they’ll be able to recognise previously simulated situations and act appropriately. You prevent them from ending up rudderless in the face of certain situations.
According to a study by the Sales Inside Lab research centre, salespeople only spend 36% of their time actually selling. In order to provide salespeople with training without losing more of the time they devote to selling, you could well focus on microlearning. The goal here is to acquire new skills in a very short time, between 30 seconds and 5 minutes. Accessible everywhere, microlearning adapts to the individual being trained, providing a single new notion to be acquired every day in an attractive, engaging format. This tailor-made training format is easy to implement, inexpensive and more engaging for your team.
As you’ll have understood, providing salespeople with continuing training accelerates business performance. Start small and adapt to your salespeople. Don’t forget your sales team is like a sports team: daily training creates champions!