Sales persons need to develop a new set of skills with changing market environment and with ever-changing product features. These will help them get a competitive edge over the others. They need to be customer advocates by understanding the requirements of the customers. At the same time they need to develop their business and strategic skills as business consultants for their organization.
Previously, sales training consisted of just sending the sales person out on the field along with a senior colleague or putting him/ her through formal classroom training. But, with the evolution of technology, the process of imparting training to sales people has undergone a dramatic change. Here are some of the emerging best practices of sales training; leveraging the use of technology and some innovative processes.
Involve sales people in preparing the curriculum and when identifying the methods of training. They are the best people to judge the suitability and relevance of the training material with respect to the sales process. They also will be able to decide if the focus should be on the product knowledge or the actual selling process which includes details about the post-sale paperwork.
Classroom training with a PowerPoint presentation may prove to be boring and leads to disengagement of the sales team. Training managers can use innovative training delivery methods such as these:
- a) Role plays are important while adopting a new skill. This gives trainees an opportunity to practice the newly learned skill in an informal setting. It also helps trainees gain practical insights into real life scenarios.
- b) Webinars are being used in recent times as online workshops where sales people across different geographical located can be trained on a product or process simultaneously. They also have the benefit of getting trained by experts and can get their doubts clarified through the online chat functionality.
- c) Short Videos where a clear demonstration is shown. This audio visual aid helps in better understanding of the sales process.
The different methodologies used now a days need to structured, customized and modularized so that it can be easily understood by the trainees.
With the development of web-based solutions, a sales person can be provided with instant and timely access to procure knowledge on critical product and process information. Information can be posted on the company intranet or website so that sales people can instantly get their doubts clarified and can provide correct information to customers.
The competitive success of any organization relies on the ability of the sales forces to meet the unique business needs of customers. Therefore, to support the sales team development, integrated training approaches need to be developed, which streamline the learning process of sales people.