Importance of product training for sales people has never been doubted. The product features, product USPs, its installation and operation, basic trouble shooting and some information about competitor’s products are all ideally part of the product training program. However, how do we make product trainings for sales people more relevant to the sales team and ensure that it covers what is most important to them?
Thanks to the internet, customers are armed with a wealth of information with respect to products, their features and how they are with respect to the competition. Therefore, sales people today have to shift their role from being an information provider to being a customer advisor. Typically, product training should help sales people to sell a solution and not just features of the product.
Here is how we at CommLab approach product trainings for sales. We do cover product features and product USPs, but we try not to teach a product in isolation, but provide a context for the learning. In addition to what is typically covered through product trainings, we also ensure that we address the following when creating an online training for a sales person:
Making him an industry expert not just product expert: A salesman should have a comprehensive knowledge about the industry in which he is working. This helps him to advise customers on industry trends and the relevance of their products. A customer is likely to be convinced to buy from an informed sales person.
Making him tech savvy along with being business savvy: Earlier there was a salesman who would handle all the business related issues with respect to a product and there was a sales engineer who was essentially the product expert with knowledge of installation and trouble shooting. Today it has become important for sales man to have basic technical knowledge and a sales engineer to have sound business acumen. The line between the two is blurring and the roles are increasingly being combined to one. Hence product trainings need to address both the technical as well as business aspects with respect to a product.
Positioning the product to show how customers will benefit from the product: Enlist problems that the product would solve for a customer. The sales team can use this knowledge to showcase the specific features of the product that addresses the current problems faced by the customers. Product training for sales people should thus focus on how to translate product features as solutions to the customers.
To summarize, we can say that in order to make product trainings more relevant to sales people, they should be trained to sell solutions to customers rather than training them to just sell products.