No matter what your product or service is, you need a dynamic sales team to sell it. But given the challenges of constant product innovations, increasing complexity of products, competition, and new age customers on board, only a knowledgeable sales team can generate sales or new opportunities for your company.
Realizing this fact, many organizations are continuing to invest 2-5% of their annual sales budgets to train their sales reps. According to ATD, U.S based companies spend approximately $20 billion a year on sales training. But how effective these training programs are is the million dollar question.
So, how do you check whether your product training is effective or not. Here are some parameters.
Is the Information Overloaded?
Salespeople are always hard pressed for time and do not appreciate long hour trainings that take away their selling time. Timely and relevant information delivered in easy digestible chunks will help your sales force absorb the product information and reinforce it for a longer time.
For instance, if you are creating a course for medical representatives, you don’t need to dump a year’s worth of content on the sales force at once. Instead, you can divide the content into learning bytes not more than 15 minutes, allowing them to master one or two skills at one time.
Is the Training Available On-Demand?
Given the complexity and range of products that they sell, it may be difficult for sales team to retain all the information about different products. According to Training Industry, approximately 50% of the learning content is forgotten within five weeks; so relying on event-based training may not really help.
The sales force must be given access to on-demand trainings which allows them to refresh what they have learnt. For example, a busy medical representative, who is going to meet a physician, can instantly brush up his knowledge on the indications and contraindications of a drug/tablet while travelling to the destination.
Is the Training compelling?
Product training is usually dry and boring, especially if you are dealing with technical products. Getting the buy-in from the sales force is one big challenge that sales managers often face.
We can adopt various strategies to transform a boring subject into an engaging training such as videos, demo videos, Animations, interactivities and graphics. We can also flip the content making it conversational to hook the learners.
Is the Content Relevant?
Salespeople are goal-oriented. They will find your training interesting only if they find the information relevant and help them in selling. Contextual scenarios which resonate their real life tasks and which mimic decision-making situations will help the team apply what they have learnt when they’re with customers.
For instance, Auto salespeople are divided in teams; some have to sell the same model to people looking for convenience or luxury, and some to people interested in being green or saving costs. Each of these different conversations will involve selling some of the car’s features, but in a way that is unique to the need. Including such scenarios relevant to them will be of great help.
Knowledge on one’s own products is fundamental for sales success. Engaging and timely product knowledge that can be accessed when needed is what your sales team needs. What do you say? Do share if you wish to add to the list.