Why do some companies succeed in getting huge sales revenues, while others fail to achieve their sales goals? What differentiates the best-performing organizations from the rest? Well, most successful firms focus on one key element of effective selling – imparting effective training to their sales force.
According to the Top Performing Sales Organizations – Benchmark Report, 51% of firms with excellent sales results have bridged the knowledge gaps of their reps very effectively. The report also states 63% of well-performing companies are likely to invest more in training their sales force than the rest.
OK. How to impart good training to sales reps?
You need to focus on 4 important aspects to deliver high quality training to your sales staff.
1. Make the best use of CRM data
Your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a treasure trove of valuable sales data that goes a long way in imparting effective sales training. Paul Terry, a General Manager of Blackboard, in his article Know More. Sell More. Sales Training through CRM, points out sales training programs based on CRM data are better aligned to business goals. He believes that the integration of a firm’s sales training initiatives with its CRM can help generate solid figures that provide clarity on the effectiveness of its sales training programs. Furthermore, the CRM system provides information about changing customer tastes and preferences, which is very useful to develop successful sales programs.
2. Leverage the power of sales playbooks
Aberdeen defines sales playbooks as technology-enabled tools and processes that provide “guided-selling” assistance to various selling job roles – internal, in the field, and/or channel partners. They provide learning support to sales reps and help them configure their collateral to meet the needs of individual prospects. For example, to sell a high-performance, low fuel consuming generator to an individual household, a salesman needs to project the generator’s fuel efficiency. But, when he interacts with the facilities manager of a company, he needs to harp on the performance aspect of the equipment.
3. Maximize the time spent on sales coaching
A study conducted by the International Coach Federation revealed a firm can expect a return of 7 times its initial investment on sales coaching. Unfortunately, many companies focus little on this vital component of sales training, and as result, their numbers take a beating. Scott Edinger, a sales expert, in his article, How Great Sales Leaders Coach, states that coaching is very useful to correct the mistakes of sales reps, thereby enhancing selling efficiencies. Edinger believes if the sales actions are well performed, they naturally translate into revenues.
4. Train reps on your sales process
This is inarguably the most important aspect of a sales training program. In the words of Greg VanDeWalker, Senior Vice President & General Manager of the Unified Communications and IT Group, ineffective training on sales process can result in a sales team resembling the Wild West, with every rep producing different results. Companies need to realize that good knowledge of their sales processes is THE KEY to driving revenues, as today’s B2B sales engine is driven by processes. The research report, No Longer a Luxury: Why the Best-in-Class View Sales Enablement as a Must-Have, reveals that best-in-class firms are 28% more likely than others to align sales training with the sales cycle.
Companies need to leave no stone unturned in imparting good training to their sales force. They need to optimize their sales training programs using the data in their CRM system. They need to harness the full potential of sales playbooks and provide effective sales coaching. Organizations also need to train their reps on their sales processes.
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