As a sales leader, providing effective sales training to your team is perhaps one of the most crucial yet challenging aspects of securing long-term revenue growth. It’s so integral that the U.S. alone has spent over $70 billion on training per year since 2017. But despite this, 26% of reps say their sales training is ineffective, and 84% of sales training is forgotten in the first three months. What do you do when your sales training program is producing less than stellar results?
While there are many factors as to why your team is underperforming or why your sales training yields short-term sales boosts before going into a free fall, a common thread does tend to be poor sales training.
After all, poor training begets:
- Large gaps in knowledge and skill
- Miscommunication, missing goals and objectives
- Poor customer retention
- Poor sales performance
Here’s 3 big problems with most sales training to watch out for along with solutions on how to handle them.
1. Your Sales Training is Not Personalized
If you’re using traditional sales training, e.g. the “talking head” long lecture training method, it’s time to veer in a different direction. Traditional sales training misses out on the core skills needed for your business in favor of a very general curriculum. This isn’t doing your team any favors and is, in fact, setting them up for failure.
Your sales team is likely diverse, which means they absorb information through different methods. It is important to customize your sales training for each member, rather than having a “one size fits all” approach. For example, a newer sales rep will need to learn selling skills and product knowledge, but an experienced sales rep will need to focus more on product knowledge and less so on basic sales techniques. You cannot use the same training program for both.
Creating an environment where learning is supported by ongoing development, assessment and feedback can go a long way in making these skills memorable. Where personalized training shines is in its ability to provide you with performance data. Based on this information, you can identify the individual’s weaker areas, and determine which skills need to be developed and which skills are ready to be advanced. This then opens the door for modularized video and content that is tailored to their needs.
When your reps meet with training and instruction at the moment of opportunity, instead of once or twice a year, this significantly helps with reinforcing knowledge as opposed to cramming as much learning as possible in a short time frame.
Investing in personalizing training makes sense if you wish to see your team undergo personal growth.
2. Your Training Focuses More On Closing, But Not On Building Trust
As you know, sales is a process of building trust and establishing rapport rather than diving headfirst into your pitch. That doesn’t fly with the modern buyer — who typically only comes to sales after doing the research on their own and is ready to come to a buying decision. No one wants to be sold to.
Which is why your sales training should educate reps to understand where prospects are in their journey and equip your sales team with the sales and soft skills to guide customers to make the best, most appropriate decision according to where they are on the buyer’s journey.
If your sales training isn’t giving your team those skills to build customer relationships, then they aren’t building trust. Only through trust will prospects be receptive to your team’s recommendations and, if the fit is right, feel confident buying from you.
It’s also important to note that part of building this rapport means having the sales enablement needed to answer customers’ questions on the fly. Many sales training programs are remiss to include such consumer behavior and instead solely teach sales reps on persuading their way to close.
3. Your Training Lacks Definitive Business and Learning Need
A sales training program should be data-driven, not hope-driven. If you did not take the time to assess what the outcome of your program should look like and know the steps you need to take to achieve it — it’s the same as investing in training for vague reasons such as wanting your sales reps to “up performance” or “close more deals”. It’s difficult to measure and likely to fail.
You must first understand your business needs and what you envision your desired yet measurable outcome. Additionally, as mentioned in the first problem, knowing your business also extends to knowing the needs of your team. Not knowing what skills they already have and where they struggle will put you at a severe disadvantage when building out your sales training program.
A sales team is only as effective as their sales training program enables them to be. When left unresolved, poor sales training can wreak havoc in your day-to-day operations and bottom line. Make sure your sales team goes into the new year with consistent training support that’ll reinforce skills and increase their performance.
Get in touch with our team of experts to help you evaluate sales training options and give you the program your sales reps need to close with confidence.