Regular and dedicated sales training is required to make your sales people the most effective that they can be. Incorporating on-going sales training in your daily routines can help ensure that training is done and can also help your sales people understand key selling messages through repetition and assimilation. If you are not already using on-going sales training to help your sales people be more effective, a simple change in mindset may be all it takes to make sales training a daily occurrence.
View the Sales Office as a Real World Classroom
Sales people learn best through a combination of on the job experience and traditional sales training. In this sense, the sales office does function as a real world classroom for sales. This can be more effective than external training sessions since many sales people view internal sales training as more directly applicable to their daily activities and experiences. Use these methods to incorporate sales training directly into your sales management:
- Use scenarios for adaptive learning. If one of your sales people encounters a situation or a success that can be used to train others, don't hesitate to use the example. Use your judgment of the situation in determining whether to keep the players in the scenario anonymous.
- Be generous with sales tips. Any time that a sales person appears receptive to your advice, share a tip on strategy.
- Encourage your sales people to use you as a resource. Once your sales people know that you are available and open to on-going sales training, they will turn to you to learn how to be more effective.
Make Regular Reviews Learning Opportunities
When you bring your sales team together to discuss forecasts and recent performance, treat it as an opportunity for sales training. In addition to outlining what your sales people did right, build on what is happening by pointing out what might be done differently for even better results. Sales training is not just training, but help for your sales team to become the best that they can be. Your sales people will begin to look forward to your weekly and quarterly reviews once it becomes more than a recap of overall performance.
Incorporate New Business Reviews in Your One-on-Ones
Sales people tend to learn the most from new business conversion: What went right, and what could be improved? By incorporating new business reviews in your one-on-ones with your sales people, you can encourage your sales people to analyze their performance on a deeper level while providing sales training and help. The direct relevancy of a new business review to the sales person's experience will also help your sales people incorporate what they learn immediately and become more effective.
Bring the Pieces Together By Making the Information Available
One of the problems that can cause traditional sales training to become ineffective is simple: Sales people forget the training once it fades from memory or the notes and materials become inaccessible. As a sales manager you can prevent this by making sure that training materials are always available to your sales people. Consider:
- Creating an in-house library of training materials that sales people can easily access. This may include training books, workbooks, and materials from past training modules.
- Developing an electronic database for training materials. A sales training database can be as simple as training materials uploaded to a shared drive or as complex as a dedicated training database.
- Subscribing to sales training tools. Sales people will repeatedly turn to sources that provide valuable and relevant training. Many training programs have subscriptions for individuals or departments that can be leveraged to complement your on-going sales training.
Sales training is vital to ensuring that your sales people, and your sales team as a whole, are operating effectively. Work to build on-going sales training into your sales team's routines to help your sales team become more effective.