WE’RE GETTING BUSINESS IN. BUT I WONDER HOW MUCH MORE ARE WE LEAVING ON THE TABLE. WE COULD BE OUT IN THE FIELD MORE TO DRIVE TRAINING WITH REPS AND MANAGERS. STRUGGLING TO GET A REP TRAINING MANUAL INTO A FORM I CAN TRAIN ON. AND THEN I HAVE TO FIGURE OUT WHO SHOULD BE DOING THE TRAINING, AND HOW TO GET IT DONE EFFICIENTLY AND COST-EFFECTIVELY.
THOUGHTS OF THE DAY: Training salespeople to maximize their results is smart. Building a set of materials to conduct and reinforce training will help you be consistent. Look at what various people in the field need, as they’re probably not all at the same stage of development. Look for tools that exist and build on them. Measure before and after results to see what produces the best results.
If you can help your salespeople deliver even better results than they’re already delivering, everybody wins. Good salespeople like to win. Most salespeople can be impatient, want to be engaged with customers and may find time in the classroom to be a distraction from their mission of getting more business signed up.
Get to know your sales force. Break them into groups — entry level, average, expert — in both product knowledge and sales skills. To help you with the sorting process, look at results that your individual salespeople already produce. Find out what your experts know how to do that everyone else hasn’t figured out.
Consider supplementing the sales team’s knowledge. Ask product experts from around the company to put together presentations on what makes the products or services great. Create a competitive profile to hand out, showing how your company’s offers compare to other organizations. Turn to outside sales training experts to help you build and implement your sales training tools.
For beginners, start with sales basics. Think about both skills and process. What constitutes a good sales call? How does the sales process unfold? What information needs to be gathered and conveyed at each stage of the sales process, and in what order to achieve top sales outcomes? Ask your top performers to help map out the topics to cover.
For people in the middle, producing average results, it’s probably more about sales process than technical knowledge about the company and its products. Either they know what to do and they’re skipping crucial steps, or they’re missing valuable insights on what to do in what order. Focus on practicing every step in the sales process, asking for commitments at each stage. Create a standard approach to conducting intro calls, gathering information, qualifying prospects, confirming needs, creating and delivering proposals and asking for the business. Once people practice in the classroom, head out into the field for some one-on-one time. Enlist your top sales producers as mentors to help guide and coach people on what they need to do to boost results.
If you have someone in the field who does an excellent job keeping track of prospects or documenting prospect needs, find out what format they use to do that. Same for proposals and every other part of the selling process. Use their tools to build standard forms everyone in sales can use. Adopt and adapt tools that successful people use.
Keep track of results as you implement training. Look for increases in numbers of prospects identified, amount of initial information-gathering meetings, quantity of proposals presented, number of closes, size and quality of sales completed. Focus on the most profitable sales and the best quality customers and how to get more of them.
BOOK RECOMMENDATION: “Sales Training Basics, A Complete How-To Guide” by Angela Seigfried.
Andi Gray is president of Strategy Leaders Inc., StrategyLeaders.com, a business-consulting firm that teaches companies how to double revenue and triple profits in repetitive growth cycles. Have a question for AskAndi? Wondering how Strategy Leaders can help your business thrive? Call or email for a free consultation and diagnostics at 877-238-3535 or AskAndi@StrategyLeaders.com. Check out our library of business advice articles at AskAndi.com.