Product training is one of the most important objectives of sales training. It is important because it equips the sales staff with adequate product knowledge that enables them to handle customer queries objectively and convincingly. A company can have a great product to offer, but if the sales people are not trained to market the same to prospects it may not obtain the intended market penetration. In order to make product trainings more successful, one needs to keep in mind few critical aspects. Let’s review some of them here.
Product training is important but product selling is essential: Product knowledge is very important for sales people as they use this information to help prospective customers make favorable decisions. Training managers need keep this aspect in mind. The problem comes when product trainings are focused about the product and not about how to sell the products. Sales people find it easy to understand the functioning of a product. The difficult part is to be able to sell it. This is the area where the training needs to focus on.
Customer value is the key to selling: Product training often focuses on product features and benefits and does not really bother about the value the product provides to customers. It is not adequate to provide the sales person with all the facts and figures that indicate how the product fares in terms of customer value. Information may be obvious but training should put the same across in a logical manner so as to be convincing to a potential customer. Training sales people about customer value addition of the products in a logical way ensures that there is uniformity in the way sales people represent the company and product in the market and this would greatly increase credibility of the product as well as the company.
Product information needs to be taught in the context of industry and market: It does not really help a sales person if he is given just the product information in isolation. Sales personnel need to get a perspective about the industry in which they are operating. There are times when market scenario and economical fluctuations might influence buyers in their decision making. Sales people need to be adaptive to such situations and should be equipped to modify their selling techniques accordingly. This needs to be reflected in product training sessions.
Develop job aids wherever possible: It is not adequate if product training is confined to just annual sales meets or workshops. It is not possible for a sales person to absorb so much information at a single go and recollect it when needed. Therefore, product training should be available just-in-time when the sales person needs it. Job aids in the form of PDF files or short videos should be made available to the sales person in a format that is easy to access. Multiple delivery formats such as podcasts, webcasts, videos and so on would be very effective information resource for sales personnel.
Product sales training would be better appreciated by sales people when it is tuned to address their needs rather than merely disseminating information about products. Do you agree with me? If you have any other ideas please share the same with me.