In fact, over 80% of sales training is forgotten in the first three months.
Sales training doesn’t work when it’s a once-and-done course for new reps. It has to be an ongoing program integrated into how sales teams work.
And it’s most effective when it’s built into the larger sales strategy. Research G2 indicates that 84% of sales reps achieve their quotas when their employer implements a high-quality training program as part of their sales enablement strategy.
This type of comprehensive program can help teams improve their skills, build client relationships, streamline workflows, and win more deals.
In short, an effective program can maximize sales team success.
Ready to prepare your sales team to tackle every aspect of the sales process?
Why you should build a sales training program
Well-trained, skilled sales professionals can quickly and efficiently guide customers through the buying journey. Meaning they hit their goals.
Retaining these top sellers is critical.
High-quality sales training is associated with higher employee motivation, engagement, and satisfaction. These all work together to increase retention and boost performance.
But just offering an occasional workshop isn’t enough. Half-day offsites once a year won’t cut it.
Here are a few of the biggest benefits of strategic, ongoing sales training:
Setting training goals
As an organization, you can set your training and individual goals. You’ll have the ability to map out customized training plans with achievable goals and accountability for every sales rep.
A strategic sales training program begins with an initial benchmark of how you’re doing – and establishes a goal for where you want to go.
Then you can develop a plan to get there.
During training, you can work with your team to set goals that inspire confidence and foster team collaboration.
Then you can adjust the plan as needed as you roll out your sales training.
Driving creative thinking
A strategic sales training program spurs creative thinking and drives innovation. A well-trained sales team has a solid grasp of the basics – so they can build on internal best practices and think outside the box.
This leads to new ways to connect with customers, find opportunities, and close sales.
Great sales trainers ask questions, support new ideas, and encourage trainees to innovate. With an ongoing program, teams have greater agility to share new ideas and adapt on the fly.
Turning salespeople into experts
Today’s sophisticated B2B buyers won’t settle for generic sales pitches and basic product information. Your customer is looking for a partner and trusted advisor during the sales journey.
With a strategic sales training process, you can turn your sales team members into experts. They can demonstrate credible industry knowledge and engage with prospects to guide them through the entire sales process.
4 Steps to build an effective sales training program
Use the following steps to build a successful sales training program as part of a comprehensive sales enablement strategy:
1. Define training objectives and KPIs
Before you jump into designing materials and courses, you need measurable objectives for your training efforts.
Start by defining your goals and key performance indicators (KPIs).
Your goals could include speeding up your sales cycle, closing more deals, or increasing the number of reps who reach quota.
Choose the KPIs you’ll use to measure progress and evaluate your success.
Consider tracking metrics like:
Length of sales cycle
All of these can help you monitor your progress.
2. Identify gaps and define behavior changes
Once you’ve set your goals, think about the seller behaviors affecting those metrics.
Objectively assess weaknesses in the performance of your team – and individuals – for clues about where to focus your training efforts.
For example, does your entire team have trouble promoting a particular product or service? Do some individuals regularly fall short of meeting their quotas?
Based on these issues, you can create training materials, workshops, sales coaching, and marketing content to fill the gaps and address these performance issues.
For example, sales training programs often address topics like:
Understanding prospect needs
Virtual or remote selling techniques
Sales enablement tools like Pitcher can reveal the gaps in your sales process. For example, if you spot a point in the sale where engagement tends to slow down, train your sellers on how, when, and where to share content.
Training reps to share personalized content at critical junctures can improve conversions and speed up the sales cycle. Training on remote selling tools like digital sales rooms can make the process even more efficient.
3. Design your sales training program
When you’re ready to design the structure and materials for your program, remember that a one-time course won’t get long-term results.
Here are some key points to keep in mind as you design a program to deliver on your objectives:
Focus on behavior change: Empower reps to change how they’re spending their time and what they’re doing in customer interactions. You can create modules that help your sellers understand value-based selling (highlighting business benefits over product features). Or you can guide reps through the process of handling customer expectations or objections.
Share best practices: Integrate best practices from top-performing salespeople in your training materials, and train reps on how to apply these processes.
Year-round training: Think about your sales training program as a year-round effort, not a once-and-done event like a half-day offsite workshop. Set the expectation that every rep is responsible for their own ongoing training.
Easy-to-access materials: With Pitcher’s sales enablement platform, you can see which content is being used by which reps. You’ll know if certain materials are difficult to access or ignored by sellers. Then you can incorporate that information into your training sessions. This will guide reps toward the best materials for different touchpoints on the buying journey.
Update often: Update your training materials frequently to keep up with product changes and best practices.
Include micro-learning: Incorporate micro-learning into your sales training program. The Pitcher Super App for Sales Enablement includes micro-learning and just-in-time (JIT) training that provides reps with the information they need, precisely when it’s needed. Micro-learning increases training adoption rates and improves long-term knowledge retention rates.
Don’t neglect coaching: Build sales coaching into your training program so managers can give regular performance feedback and help reps set goals. Consistent sales coaching also helps sellers reinforce what they’re learning during training.
4. Adapt and iterate
Successful sales training programs aren’t static—plan on regularly evaluating and iterating on your sales training.
Ask for feedback from sales leaders and reps. Use anonymous surveys to gather honest data and apply it to refine your training processes and create new content.
Assess your sales training against your original goals to determine if you’ve hit your milestones regularly.
Have you created the kind of behavior change you were seeking? Why or why not? What changes do you need to make to get on the path to better learning and improved sales performance?
Adapt and iterate your training on an ongoing basis as you establish an environment of continuous learning in your organization.
Ready to launch your strategic sales program?
A strategic sales program helps your team bring in more sales, connect with customers, and improve efficiency.
Properly-trained sales reps are more likely to be happy and engaged in their work, which can lower your turnover rate.
Pitcher’s sales enablement app can help you customize a program to help your reps deliver the performance you need to reach your most important business goals.
Request a demo today of Pither’s training solutions in action.
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