Training is an essential and often largely overlooked component of sales success. Due to lack of time, it is often deprioritised or performed ‘on the fly.’ Often, managers improvise training as they go, without systems in place to make sure the training is as effective as possible, and to ensure that the changes are lasting. These five key concepts can orient your sales training strategy to make sure it runs seamlessly and efficiently.
1. Make sure everyone knows their role
One of the most important concepts when it comes to sales training is ensuring that every member of the team always knows how they fit into the big picture and how to tailor their actions accordingly. Due to a lack of clarity about their role, many reps are failing to use their time wisely or correctly. To help your team succeed in today’s competitive environment, you should focus on improving these two areas A) Role Perception and B) Time Management.
A) Knowing their role dictates how a rep spends their time. This means identifying their goals and what they need to be focusing on at any given moment. This can seem especially confusing to junior reps, who are often unsure of what they should prioritize. Your job as a manager is to ensure that a rep knows what they should be focused on at any point in a call or throughout their day. This seems simple, but it is the foundation to being an organized, efficient rep who gets results. Attention allows managers to dictate a talktrack and sales battlecards for their reps in real time so they know exactly what to focus on during a call.
This also means that you, as a sales leader or whoever is conducting training, need to have clarity about your role as a coach. You need to know which aspects to focus on to make your reps perform at their peak and help them meet their goals regularly and consistently.
B) Time management is a by product of role perception and is vital in today’s fast-paced environment. Clarity about what you are supposed to be doing at any given moment will save valuable training time and help you accelerate your reps. You can’t get anywhere fast unless you know exactly where you’re trying to go.
As in most tasks in life, consistency is the name of the game. If you had to focus on any one item in this list, this might be the one. Regularly schedule those one-on-ones and self-assessments, don’t drop the ball, and don’t let coaching take the back seat!
Training is all about repetition and volume and needs to be scheduled regularly. Make sure that the goals you and your reps set are unambiguous and measurable and that there is a clear follow-up process in place.
This also means optimising for consistency in your reps. The goal of coaching should always be to create systems and methods that your trainees will be able to replicate on a regular basis to set them up for success. You don’t want a team of reps who have sporadic success or results that can’t be duplicated over and over again in the long term. Which brings us to our third pillar of effective sales training:
3. Focus on progress, not outcomes
Too many sales managers focus on their junior reps’ KPIs and exclusively track their outcomes. What you really should be paying attention to is how far they have come, the rate at which they are progressing. One essential measurement is coachability, a trainee’s responsiveness to coaching, and their ability to implement changes and stick to commitments.
At the early stages of a rep’s training, measurements like KPIs can be misleading. You should be focusing on key elements of their process that need fixing and how efficiently they are progressing and improving.
Reps who don’t meet their quotas are often coached to just get on the phone more. This is silly. If your goal is to have a rep selling 30% more, that doesn’t mean they need to make 30% more cold calls or dials. Many find success using this alternative approach: Reps write down three action items at the end of each one-on-one that are vital steps toward achieving their goal. They must choose these three themselves and report back if they didn’t complete them.
With Attention, it is easier than ever to track junior reps’ progress over time based on many process-based goals you can set for them. This can help you recognize your future stars and also potentially weed out trainees that are unresponsive to training.
4. Optimise at every level
The most essential tenet of sales coaching is to make sure every level of your team is up to scratch. You don’t want to rely on a few stars to carry your team; you want a team of stars! This might mean devoting more time and TLC to lagging players- as long as they are coachable and have potential!
Effective, focused training can easily make the difference between a subpar rep and a standout. So make sure you tailor training to all the different levels on your team and don’t neglect reps who aren’t yet making as many sales! Remember to focus on the process at all levels of performance, as discussed above.
This also means training at a more senior level as well! Training should be ongoing for all of your reps: there are always aspects of the process you can improve. We know this sounds like a time drain, and to be honest, it is!
That’s why you need to find every possible way to make your training efficient and streamlined. Training junior reps is incredibly time-consuming. At Attention, we cut this time in half through the latest AI technology so you can bring your junior reps to senior level in no time.
By letting our software take care of many of the basics of junior training, you can focus on the more enriching and complex aspects of sales coaching and have more time to devote to optimising senior reps.
5. Help reps achieve their own goals
Self-motivation is an essential aspect of your team’s success. That means not just imposing your goals on your reps, but letting them define and achieve their own. Maybe they have a certain commission they want to earn or a promotion they are gunning for. Maybe they just want to focus on one aspect of the process and get better at it, or they want to eliminate their sticking points. In any case, be the type of manager they can talk to about their goals and aspirations and tailor your training to them. Make it clear that you’re there as a helper and an enabler, not just a general.
Effective sales training is the key to success. When you have a team of motivated, empowered reps who know their role, focus on the process, and constantly optimize for better results, your business will thrive. Attention‘s conversation intelligence software will speed up this whole process and help your reps identify goals and measure their progress.
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