Four Essential Elements of Sales Training
by Frank Lee
There are hundreds of sales training programs that companies could choose for their salespeople. Most off-the-shelf sales workshops are reasonably good. Some are outstanding. There are very few that are totally worthless. Many sales training programs available today are makeovers of previous versions, packaged to look new. This is not necessarily bad as long as they do their job. However, this is not the only problem.
For most companies, the problem is not simply more sales training! Sales training is definitely needed. Some sales people have never had formal sales training. Markets are rapidly becoming more sophisticated. Sales people are encountering more enlightened customers who demand a higher level of selling. Companies have better competition and lose key accounts to them. The competition is hiring and training sales people to steal business from them. All this is true.
4 Elements of Effective Sales Training
However, for any sales training to work properly, four elements must be included.
- The sales manager must become better equipped to apply the sales training to the sales force. The sales manager has to learn the same things the sales people do – from a manager’s perspective. He or she must do two things to fulfill his or her role as sales manager — get salespeople to apply the training in the field; and constantly and consistently improve them.
- Sales people must become accountable for putting into practice the things they learn in a workshop.
- Training must be a continuous process, not an event. Event-style training has very limited uses.
- The sales training must be centered on the company and its customers. Most off-the-shelf training just won’t cut it. Training designed for other industries and ‘tailored’ for a company will often be miserably exposed.
The sales training must be centered on the company and its customers. Most off-the-shelf training just won’t cut it. Training designed for other industries and ‘tailored’ for a company will often be miserably exposed.
Is Your Company Different?
Most companies say they are “different” to other industries and to other companies in the same industry. There is evidence that this is true in some important aspects. Sales training should identify and take into account these differences. This is not to say that off-the-shelf sales training cannot work for them. They can — as long as they are used as ‘filler’ programs that fit in with all of the four elements.