As you know, a prospective customer or consumer must travel a particular continuum of unawareness-awareness-preference-action. Only if the customer moves along this continuum will a sale happen. Right? Now, who will move him along? And what will move him?
Well, let’s take one question at a time. Who will move the customer? Firstly, he alone and secondly, the marketing personnel. And in both cases, a sizable component that moves the customer is knowledge. If the customer knows about the product, he finds it easy to decide or recommend to others. Likewise, if the sales person has product knowledge, he will find it easy to sell. Likewise, channel partners. Thus, customers and marketers alike will find education (on various aspects) quite useful in buying and selling respectively.
So, drawing from the above, the audiences for training and education in a sale situation are company sales people, channel partners, customers and service staff and by training these people we accelerate sales. The sales may be first time sales, repeat sales or reference sales.
Let’s look at these audiences a little closely.
Company Sales People: This is the most important audience, the one which will be able to use the training very well and for the sale to happen are the sales people of the Company. They require training on product knowledge, selling skills, sales strategies and sales process.
Channel Partners: As the name suggests, these are partners of the sales people or the Company. They may be retailers, wholesalers, agents, etc. They too require training on product knowledge, selling skills, sales strategies and sales process. This is one area which is now growing at leaps and bounds. Intensive competition and highly sophisticated buyers are fueling this activity.
Customers: Prospective customers need to be educated on the best practices of using products as this can help the demand generation at the grassroots level. Also, educating or training existing customers will increase loyalty and advocacy, resulting in repeat sales and reference sales.
Service Staff: Customers view people in the support function more benignly than they see sales people. A significant portion of any sales is repeat and reference. Training support people on products and selling skills and customer service will also increase repeat purchase and references.
Thus, Sales and Training are closely interlinked and work well together. Training generates grassroots level demand as well as the immediate sale of products. It also encourages repeat and reference sales. Apart from sales people, we need to train channel partners, customers and support staff. We need train them in a number of subjects, such as processes and soft skills, not just product training.