OUR STRATEGIC APPROACH TO SALES TRAINING
Companies evaluating sales training often focus more on program content than probably results! Our strategic sales training approach helps enhance long-term behaviors, strengthen professional selling skills and provide data to pinpoint sales process bottlenecks.
When combined with a comprehensive sales training library containing over 48 course modules, over 10,000 pages of materials and over a $1.5 million dollar investment, our methodology is proven and effective! Our approach, along with excellent materials and facilitation, helps client achieve a great ROI on their sales training investments.
Steps in our Strategic Sales Training approach includes:
Based on client objectives, we develop a plan to obtain information critical to the development of a sales improvement program. Via sales staff and management interviews, we gain buy in to the program as well as input on what skills are needed and desired. Upon request, we may add customer and prospect interviews to the mix to gain external feedback.
When possible, we observe salespeople in action, whether it be on the phone or in the field. And via role-plays, we’re adept at identifying company and individual skills gaps that result on lost sales and profits.
Finally, we collect sales and sales management data, such as pipeline reports, sales production reports, internal sales processes and tools, to help determine where proven, successful sales techniques are likely to have the most impact. Using our optional sales skills assessments, we’re able to validate our interview and sales call observations with objective data. The end result of our diagnosis is high-payback plan and sales training class designed to boost sales results.
2). Sales Techniques and Sales Process Steps Identified
Through our interviewing and sales observation process, we identify the best professional selling skills and practices already in existence in your business. For instance, one salesperson might be very effective at cold calling and setting up appointments while another may be adept at presenting solutions and closing. In most instances, many of the pieces of your firm’s ideal sales process are already in use—it’s just that each salesperson is only using a portion of the ideal process. By identifying optimal processes and practices, we’re able to create a program to get the majority of your sales team on the same page. And with a good sales process comes predictable, repeatable results. This is key to great training as well as a firm’s ability to quickly ramp up new hires and give them the tools to be successful.
Salesperson training is most effective in an environment that supports it. For example, prospecting training will be ineffective if salespeople are not paid enough incremental compensation to motivate them to want to prospect. So, throughout the diagnosis and process development phases, we’re looking for ways to set up the salesperson training to produce long-lasting results. To further improve sales effectiveness, we often provide recommendations such as improving goal setting, addressing attitudinal issues, providing spiffs for achieving key training objectives and devising innovative solutions for time and territory management inefficiencies.
3). Customized Sales Training Classes
Using our proprietary customization process that utilizes an extensive library of sales training modules, we tailor our professional selling skills training classes and sales management curriculum to address your firm’s key business objectives, markets, challenges and opportunities. Both our strategic sales training approach and huge library of materials allow us to significantly reduce the time it takes to develop sales training classes. Programs typically include participant work books, slide shows, role-plays, exercises, games, contests, frequent evaluations, post-training reinforcement suggestions, leave-behind sales tools, prizes and handouts/reference materials.
4). Effective Learning Yields Long-Term Sales Improvements
We have two simple, tried-and-true concepts that guide our training.
#1) “LEARNING = FUN”
#2) “PEOPLE SUPPORT WHAT THEY HELP TO CREATE”
The jokes, contests and pure fun we incorporate into all of our sales training classes helps break down any resistance to change and motivates people to apply what they’re learning. Since people support what they help to create, we don’t provide canned scripts or openings. Instead, we teach the guidelines for successful use of each new sales technique.
Our engaging facilitation style, combined with numerous role-plays and accelerated learning techniques, significantly boost retention. Moreover, application sessions like our Phone Day, which allows people to use new professional selling skills while on live prospecting calls, helps ensure that salespeople can actually apply everything they’ve learned. In many instances, salespeople can learn new techniques, but they don’t “get it” or regularly use them until they see them work! In short, our live application sessions have an impressive track record of producing strategic sales training results and long-lasting behavioral changes!
5). Sales Team Coaching and Reinforcement
Many companies that invest in improving professional selling skills see a performance improvement that quickly diminishes after the initial workshop. And the reason is simple. Without ongoing coaching and reinforcement, people revert to the techniques they used prior to attending the sales training class. In fact, most training companies use an antiquated “lecture” approach that can be enjoyable and motivational, yet fails to change sales behavior. Our strategic sales training approach delivers both immediately useful sales techniques and salesperson behavioral changes that can be observed during the training, the application sessions and in subsequent sales activities.
Studies show that less than 15% of what’s taught in sales training classes is retained 30 days later. To improve retention rates significantly, the training must:
- Provide trainees with a clear expectation of how they will use and be evaluated on their newly-acquired skills right after training
- Incorporate accelerated learning techniques and principles
- Involve application of new skills taught via role-plays, exercises and use in the actual work environment
- Utilize post-training measurements to assess how well new skills are being applied in the field
Our objective in the sales coaching area is simple: give client firms the strategic sales training and coaching tools they need to sustain the sales improvements achieved after training. So, instead of selling clients an ongoing coaching and reinforcement programs, we partner with sales management to reinforce behavioral changes through coaching, leave-behind sales tools and a specific plan for post-training reinforcement.
6). Leave-behind Sales Tools
While participants in our programs often end up with workbooks totaling a hundred or more pages, the fact is that most people don’t regularly review them and we know that. What they will see and use, on a daily basis, are sales tools they’ve created during the training sessions. Strategic sales training tools that our trainees often keep on their desks or computers include call openings, engaging decision maker questions, answers to their top 10 objections and a list of commitments they desire during each stage of the sales process. Indeed, regular use of these tools, along with the corresponding professional selling skills, is key to boosting performance and is a focal point of our strategic sales training approach.
7). Strategic Sales Training Measurement and Follow Up
The adage “expect what you inspect” applies to newly learned sales skills. By helping each client define the discrete steps in their optimal sales process, they’re able to effectively measure activity levels, conversion rates and relative performance. When individual salespeople fail to achieve their goals, this measurement and monitoring system helps managers pinpoint bottlenecks in various sales process steps so that they can quickly get their salespeople back on track.
In summary, our strategic sales training approach helps our clients achieve and exceed their sales improvement goals.