It doesn’t really matter if the product or service being sold is the best in the world with little competition. Similarly, a company might boast of having the best sales talent. Nevertheless, businesses selling products or services need a sales training program to impart valuable skills to the salespeople.
From the factory to the hands of the customers – there are multiple stages involved in the process of sales. In addition, there is planning, execution, and monitoring of the sales strategy. A high-quality sales training program helps to develop skills in every single stage mentioned here.
More and more businesses are realizing the importance of having an effective sales training program. Some have witnessed its impact on the overall sales figures firsthand, while others have watched with envy how their competitors have benefited from a training program.
A high-quality sales training program can increase sales performance, company’s profitability, and the efficiency of the sales team. There is no denying that sales improve when the quality of the sales training improves.
The above-given reasons should be enough for any company to adopt a sales training program. But, if you’re still unsatisfied, here are 5 benefits of an effective sales training program.
Improved Communication Skills
Communication is perhaps the most important skill required for a sales rep. While those entering this field might already be good at dealing with people, a good sales training program goes beyond basic sales communication.
Sales training instills the ability to understand a client’s vocabulary, which is the key to connect with the client on a deeper level. When the sales rep understands and communicates better, the client feels his/her requirements are heard, understood, and respected.
Effective training changes the dynamics of the prospect-sales rep relationship. Each prospect or client is not just a ‘sale’ anymore, but a valuable customer with needs and wants that are completely different from the previous or next person.
Another important element in good communication is adaptability. Each client is different; their requirements and the way they talk and communicate the same with the sales rep can vastly differ from person to person. The training program must imbibe in its trainees the required skills to understand, empathize, and effectively communicate with diverse populations.
Nowadays, most customers can spot a sales pitch from a mile away. The prospect can very well understand whether the sales rep is pushing a product or is genuinely offering a solution to a problem.
Thorough knowledge of the industry is equally important to effectively communicate with the clients. Bear in mind, part of the sales training must be devoted to this subject, so the reps know the industry or company inside out.
Underlines the Importance of Best Practices
On the field, the pressure of the sale, meeting sales targets, and other work and personal problems could easily throw a sales rep off track. The various stressors of the job could force the reps to forget the best practices and pick up bad habits that affect their performance. This could happen all of a sudden or over time – the sales rep or the team may not have a clue what’s happening or why their efficiency has gone down.
An effective sales training program drives home the point that sales reps must stick to the best practices at all times to drive success. The sales leadership should never take for granted that the sales team would follow the best practices each time, every time, without reinforcement. Sales training does the job of underlining the importance of following the best practices.
A common thread that connects the different sales training programs is the basic rule – identify a best practice sequence; train and reinforce the same again and again. The operative phrase here is ‘train and reinforce’. An effective sales training program helps with both these training and reinforcing of best practices throughout the organization.
Thorough Understanding of the Products and Services
Sometimes sales leaders are so focused on the big picture that they overlook the basics of sales. It’s an unforgivable error to assume that all members of the sales team are thoroughly knowledgeable about the product or service they are trying to sell.
Without a doubt, the probability of a sale increases many folds if a sales rep knows the product or service. In any organization, the best salespeople are those who know the product they are selling like the back of their hand.
One of the primary objectives of a sale training program is to educate sales reps about the service or product they represent. The program teaches the reps to emphasize on the best features, explain why the product best suits the customer’s requirements, and even to elucidate the many ways in which the product can serve the customer.
When a sales rep gains a thorough understanding of a product he/she assumes two specialist roles – as a salesperson and an expert (specialist). It can’t be denied that some people have a tough time relating to a salesperson. In addition, customers might not immediately trust a sales rep. But, a large majority, say 9 out of 10 prospects, trust an expert who is well versed with a product or service. Customers are likely to look more favorably on products sold by experts who know the pros, cons, and everything in-between about a product.
Helps to Attract and Retain Top Talent
What are the common character traits of a sales superstar? The sales reps – the best talent in the organization – are ambitious, hard-working, competitive, and proud of their achievements. In exchange for their loyalty, most sales reps expect the company to value their contribution and provide an opportunity for growth.
Introducing a high-quality training program is a clear signal from that company that they value the contribution of the sales team to the growth of the organization. In return, the organization is showing its gratitude by investing in the sales team’s personal and professional growth.
A not so surprising outcome of having an effective sales training program is talent attraction and retention. Ambitious sales reps simply won’t stick around if they feel there is no growth prospect within the organization.
Here is a line that’s often used by talent recruiters – Offer the best to get the best. An attractive compensation package will certainly do the trick to attract top talent. Equally effective in this regard is having a high-quality sales training program. Talented salespeople are always in demand; they receive numerous offers with attractive compensation packages. You can beat the competition and attract top talent by investing in their development through a high-quality training program.
Fosters Innovation and Innovative Thinking
Can any training program teach how to innovate? Probably not. But, if the words of experts are to be believed, it’s possible to encourage the trainees to have an open mind that’s receptive of new ideas and to create an environment that breeds and nurtures innovation.
So, what does sales training achieve? Various studies show that innovative minds possess certain basic personality traits. These traits are present in most people, but in varying degree. A high-quality sales training program activates these traits, feeds them, and encourages their growth to foster innovative thinking. Just to name a few, here are some traits that breed innovation: curiosity, abstract thinking, hunger for knowledge, openness to new ideas, a healthy dissatisfaction with the status quo, and ability and willingness to take risks.
While innovative thinking can give you a competitive edge over your opponents, there are inherent risks built in it. When sales reps try new ideas the chances of failure increase many folds. That’s how the process of innovation works; you come up with an idea – something new – and give it a shot. If the idea doesn’t work, you tweak the same and see how it goes. You use the ‘trial and error’ method until you find an approach that works.
An effective sales training program also offers a platform where free thinking is encouraged without the fear of ridicule, new ideas are tried without the fear of failure, and proactive decisions are supported without the fear of denunciation.
New ideas emerge from trying new assumptions. Hence, the sales training program you choose must create an environment of innovative thinking and develop the culture of risk-taking. On the whole, the training program must serve as a lab where innovative ideas are tried and tested.
Regardless of the product or service you’re selling, having a comprehensive sales training program is essential for the success of your business. According to research by CSO Insights & Action Buddy, reps who took part in a sales training program exceed expectations in achieving quotas and scoring win rates. The report also revealed, that nearly 95% of the companies that had a solid training program met and exceeded their annual revenue plan.
For this study, CSO Insights collected data from over 2000 companies. The results were interesting, but not surprising, as it showed that organizations that invested in high-quality sales training performed significantly better than those that did not.