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Sales training is imperative to executing effective and efficient sales. A formal training program that empowers your sales team can make all the difference between a high-performing team and one that generates little revenue. In fact, sales training can improve win rates by up to 29%. However, training is often overlooked or undervalued. Of the many organizations that do offer sales training, 26% of sales reps report that their training is ineffective. 

Today, a lack of training can lead to: 

  • Poor retention
  • High voluntary churn rates
  • Poor sales performance 
  • Slower deal velocity

Now more than ever, it’s critical to implement a strong and effective sales training strategy for sales reps at all experience levels. But it’s often difficult to kickstart a training program or revamp a legacy program in a vacuum. We’re here to help you maximize your sales training initiatives to drive revenue, close more deals, speed up ramp-up time, and cultivate a culture of high productivity and employee engagement. Continue reading to discover the 4 sales training mistakes you desperately need to avoid when developing your training program.

1. Focusing on What to Do and Not Prioritizing How to Do it

The first sales training mistake you can make is to only tell your team what to do. While it’s important to share best practices, it’s vital (if not more important) to show your team how to execute them. For example, say your top sales performers are finding success with sharing an ROI guide to their prospects. Obviously, it would make sense to have the rest of your team share that ROI guide with their prospects as well. But how should they do it? And when is the right time to share this guide with a buyer?

Instead of telling your sales team to share this guide with their buyers and hope for the best, show them how the top sales reps are sharing this piece of content. Note if they’re sharing it during a specific buyer’s journey stage, during a virtual meeting, or in a follow-up email. From here, plan your sales training around how to determine the best time to share relevant content to buyers to match each purchasing stage they’re in. The key takeaway here is that showing people how to do something versus telling them will always lead to better results and greater retention of information.

2. Not Offering Sales Training on a Consistent Basis

Continuous sales training is crucial to sales success. Consider this statistic – 84% of sales training is forgotten in the first three months. This suggests that your new hires are forgetting nearly everything they learned during their onboarding process and are selling on whims and poorly educated guesses. Keeping a steady drumbeat of training will keep your sales team aligned and knowledgeable of the best practices and standards for how your organization manages sales.

Not only will training on a consistent basis lead to higher levels of retention, it will also keep your sales team abreast of the latest sales trends, tactics, and best practices. To increase your sales team’s skills and improve performance, it’s recommended that you offer standardized training on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis, depending on your team’s current capabilities and goals. 

One way to do this is to offer virtual training sessions in an effort to make training accessible to each sales rep, no matter where they are. Another option is to hold training sessions in-person in the office. Plus, providing training shows your employees that you are invested in them, their growth, and overall development. By offering consistent educational opportunities, you’ll be supporting their personal and professional career development. This will help to create a more productive and engaging work environment.

If you are in need of sales training support, outsourcing sales training is a great way to provide the tools and ongoing developmental resources to support your team in reaching their maximum potential.

3. Not Providing Personalized Sales Training

The next sales training mistake you want to avoid is not providing personalized sales training for each rep. Personalized training is the process of strengthening and building upon certain skills a specific sales rep is struggling with based on performance data. 

Personalized training allows sales managers to work with sales reps’ strengths and weaknesses by identifying areas of improvement and providing the training necessary to bolster the rep’s skills in that area while still strengthening the skills in which the rep already excels. 

For example, say your sales rep’s performance data shows that they close more deals when conducting a majority of buyer/seller communications through email. However, 9 times out of 10, they lose sales after they have a phone call with a prospect. Clearly, the sales rep is finding over-the-phone interactions challenging. Based on this information, you can tailor your sales training to focus on improving this rep’s communication skills via phone communications. 

At the same time, another rep might be struggling with time management. In this case, building time management skills for this specific sales rep should be a priority. Additionally, personalized sales training reassures each salesperson that their success and growth are valuable to you and the organization.

4. Ignoring Sales Performance Data

Just like personalized sales training uses individual sales performance data to determine areas of improvement, leveraging the overall organization’s sales performance data is critical to developing an effective sales training program. The key to success is to make data-driven decisions to ensure your sales techniques are efficient and effective. Thus, sales reps must be trained based on what the sales data and insights show.

For example, if the data shows that your sales team is proven to be less effective at closing deals virtually than in-person, it’s time to implement a training program that focuses on improving virtual sales skills. A data-driven sales training program results in:

  • More effective sales reps
  • Clear performance and improvement measures
  • Increased conversion rates
  • Faster revenue growth

Final Thoughts

A sales team is only as effective as their sales training program enables them to be. It’s up to sales managers to decide the future of their sales team — will yours continuously improve their skills through consistent training and education? Or will they fall behind the competition? Or worse, leave your company to work for a competitor. 

Get in touch with our team of experts to begin developing a customized sales training program to bolster success in your sales team.