Unboxed Recognized As a Top Sales Training Company in 2017

We’re very excited to announce we’ve been recognized as one of Selling Power’s top sales training companies in 2017. Each year, Selling Power identifies its top sales training companies based on depth and breadth of training offered, innovation, contributions to the sales-training market, and strength of client satisfaction.

Selling Power Top 20 Sales Training Companies 2017

We participated for the first time this year, and we were awarded Honorable Mention. It’s an honor to be recognized alongside top sales training companies such as Sandler Training, Action Selling, and Sales Performance International. There are hundreds of sales training companies in this competitive, crowded space—and we’re thrilled to have Selling Power shine a spotlight on our innovative approach. This recognition comes after Training Industry also put Unboxed on their 2017 Sales Training Companies Watch List.

Some of the sales training results we’re most proud of include:

  • an increase in YOY sales (up to 60%!)
  • an employee productivity (up to 40%)

As a strategic partner, we help our clients modernize their sales training with short, personalized, engaging content that gets results. We’ve learned great training doesn’t come from a box—it’s custom-built for companies who have unique challenges to conquer.

Selling Power Top Sales Training Company 2017

Unlike many traditional off-the-shelf providers, we offer a smart mix of training and technology to support the entire sales training journey—from onboarding to leadership. Our technology solutions include Spoke®, the social learning platform that bridges the gap between training and communications; and Advisor, a guided selling tool that makes needs-based recommendations and explains complex products and services using interactive demos.

Brian LeachBrian Leach, Unboxed President and CEO, said:

“Our custom-built approach to sales training is tailored to each client’s business strategy. We work closely with stakeholders to develop a behavior model that makes it easier for managers to coach behaviors and develop their sales team. Unlike a lot of the off-the-shelf sales training out there, the content is real, contextual, and engaging. We also support sales teams with our mobile-friendly sales training platform, Spoke®, and our guided selling tool Advisor, which helps customers engage with complex products and services. Thank you, Selling Power, for recognizing our work.”

 

Rick LloydRick Lloyd, Vice President of Sales and Client Services, added:

“We’re honored to be recognized by Selling Power, and we know client satisfaction is the best measure of our success. Our approach to achieving consistent and outstanding client service is reflective of our unique company core values: Respect, Excellence, Simplicity, and Trust. It’s also been a lot of fun modernizing training programs for some of the biggest brands in the United States. We’re excited and motivated to continue this great work.”

Want to see why our sales training has been recognized by Selling Power? Join us for a personalized demo.

Spoke® Updates: Spotlight Widget, Resource Page Redesign, & New Badges

Spoke® differentiates itself with a beautiful user interface (UI) other learning management systems can’t touch. With the latest Spoke release, the UI gets even better (wait ’til you see the Spotlight Widget!) and drives increased engagement. Plus, learners can earn new badges.

Spotlight Widget

If you’re on a platform like Facebook or Instagram, you’re used to a highly visual experience that constantly delivers new content. The Spoke Spotlight Widget drives learner excitement with a similar mindset–that people love imagery, and they appreciate highlights and reminders relevant to them.

Spotlight features event-based training such as webinars to break up the monotony of compliance-driven coursework. Spoke admins and sales leaders can also use it to focus attention on time-bound resources such pricing sheets for sale events and competitive specials.

Spoke-LMS-Spotlight-Widget

The Spotlight Widget is fully configurable by Spoke admins. If the admin doesn’t populate the widget, it simply doesn’t appear. (But based on user testing, admins will love having this in their engagement arsenal!) Additionally, learners will only see the featured courses and resources that apply to them.

Resource Page Redesign

The Spoke Resources page is extremely popular with learners and admins–so popular that over time it became difficult to find the right resource amongst all the categories that had been added to the left-hand navigation.

We didn’t want our users to have to scroll so much! So, Resources categories (and subcategories) are now across the top, and just like courses, learners only see featured resources that apply to them.

Spoke-LMS-Resource-Page-Redesign

But wait, there’s more. The Admin Portal now generates an auto-thumbnail for uploaded documents, making it easier for Spoke admins to deliver that highly visual experience learners love.

An enhanced Resources home page makes it easier to navigate large amounts of content, and a Resources widget appears on the user dashboard for easy access.

Spoke-LMS-Resources-Dashboard

New Badges

The Spoke team is dedicated to making sure the learning experience always feels fresh and exciting for users. In an effort to up the engagement and reward performance, we’ve introduced a few new badges.

Leaners can now earn badges for completing courses, viewing resources or logging in for five consecutive days (here’s the Perfect Attendance badge).

Spoke-LMS-badge

Be Heard

We prioritize Spoke enhancements based on your user feedback. Do you have something you’d love to see? Tell us what’s on your wish list!

If you’re not currently using Spoke and want to learn more, we’d love to give you the grand tour.

50+ Sales Training Topics: The Essential Checklist

sales-training

 

No matter what sales methodology you use—The Sandler Selling System, The Challenger Sale, SNAP Selling, Conceptual Selling, CustomerCentric Selling, or another—there are critical sales training topics your program should include. If you’re the person responsible for sales training, and you’ve wondered how you can make your team more effective, don’t be afraid to give your current program a quick checkup.

 According to Frank Cespedes and Daniel Weinfurter of the Harvard Business Review, “More than 50% of US college graduates, regardless of their majors, are likely to work in sales at some point. But of the over 4,000 colleges in this country, less than 100 have sales programs or even sales courses, and of the more than 170,000 students who earn MBAs annually, only a tiny fraction learn anything about sales.”

That means what we think it means: organizations can’t take sales skills for granted as they onboard new sales professionals. Effective onboarding and on-the-job training are must-haves. It also means even the strongest sales methodology program may still have gaps.

Our Essential Sales Training Topics Checklist will help you identify areas of strength and opportunity so you can ultimately build or supplement an amazing sales training program.

 

Sales Training Topics

Chuck Cohn neatly outlines differences between B2B and B2C sales in his Forbes post. B2B sales pursuits involve a longer decision process, more stakeholders, lengthier relationships, a smaller lead pool, and a different type of product knowledge than B2C pursuits.

These differences necessitate training tailored to each type of sales pursuit, so we’ve compiled a B2B and a B2C checklist. Use the appropriate checklist to help you answer the question: Where do my sales professionals need to build their skills?

Download the checklist that’s right for you:

sales training topics - essential checklist of 50+ topics

MODALITY MATTERS

It can be difficult to take a sales team out of the field for days or weeks of facilitated training. With this in mind, sales training program managers should consider re-packaging content into modalities that work well for busy, on-the-go sales professionals.

Geoffrey James explains in his Selling Power post Blended Sales Training:

“While most sales managers realize there’s an ever-growing need for better skills and product knowledge among the sales team, few firms can afford to send sales reps to several weeks of classroom training, even once, let alone every year. Fortunately, it’s now possible to combine classroom instruction, online learning, and Web conferencing to simultaneously reduce training costs and increase retention. This can result in sales training programs that are far more effective than ever before.”

The Association for Talent Development’s 2016 State of Sales Training report shares the following recommendations (and we wholeheartedly agree):

  • Content should be short and easily accessible.
  • Training should be tailored to the individual salesperson.
  • Learning should be engaging.

A blended approach that pairs synchronous learning (real-time activities like classroom practice and videoconferencing) and asynchronous learning (self-paced activities with individualized reflection and collaboration time) may fit the bill. A well-designed blended sales training program incorporates the benefits of classroom training and self-paced training, and streamlines content with the sales team’s workflow as much as possible.

 

ESPECIALLY FOR SALES MANAGERS

Training for sales leadership matters too. The ATD’s 2016 report mentioned above shares 50% of respondents believe the top barrier to effective sales training is salespeople are not being held accountable to applying skills learned in training. Sales managers have a critical role when it comes to setting expectations with their teams and providing supportive coaching.

With that in mind, our Sales Training Topics Checklist includes a brief section for sales managers. For a more thorough overview of leadership training topics, download our Leadership Training Topics Checklist.

 

Next Steps

One way to update your current sales training program is to incorporate microlearning. Microlearning is the practice of delivering training in smaller, bite-sized chunks that learners can digest and even re-watch quickly and easily. James states:

“Blended sales training relies upon an important aspect of human memory—the power of repetition…Blended sales training takes this concept to the next level. In this case, classroom instruction, interactive online learning, and Web conferencing are all called into service in order to present the material from a variety of different angles. Because the message is repeated in several different ways, retention goes up and sales reps are far more likely to integrate what’s being taught and incorporate it into their day-to-day behavior.”

If courses are easy to access and high-quality, microlearning for sales training offers proven benefits and can complement older, otherwise effective program content.

Whether you support B2B or B2C sales teams, use the checklist that’s right for you and make sure you’re on the road to world-class sales training.

Leadership Training Topics: The Essential Checklist

Instructor led training

Whether we’ve been one of the parties in an awkward supervisor/supervisee relationship, or we’ve watched poor leadership practices impact our organization, we all know managing people requires a specific skill set. Just because we give an individual contributor a new title doesn’t mean they have the skills they need to lead teams effectively—much less enjoy it.

A CareerBuilder survey reports more than 26% of managers said they weren’t ready to become a leader when they started managing others, and 58% said they didn’t receive any management training at all. According to the ATD whitepaper Experiential Learning for Leaders, only 28% of business executives say they’re effective at developing leaders.

Wow.

Leadership training is critically important. In this post, we hope to help you get started on the program your managers need. We’ll make it easy to identify the leadership training topics you need to consider, and we’ll explore different ways you can implement your program.

Leadership Training Topics

Even though the manager onboarding statistics are concerning, the good news is this—leadership training is a wonderful place to build a strong, sustainable culture of learning.

We’ve compiled a checklist of leadership training topics to help you answer this question: Where do my managers need to build their skills?

Leadership Learning Experiences

Okay, keep that strategy hat on and answer this next question: What type of training experience would be ideal for your managers?

Ultimately, you want to identify the must-haves that will unleash the most benefits for your company and culture. Here are some considerations to help you brainstorm. In order to meet business, manager, and team needs, many programs choose to blend two or three of these approaches.

IN-PERSON FACILITATED

PROS
CONS
More opportunities to bond, build a support network, and share best practices If facilitated as a full-day or multi-day event, follow-up activities should be developed and implemented to encourage application and defeat the “forgetting curve”
High learner accountability If facilitated as a full-day or multi-day event, may involve extra costs such as hotel, travel, and food
Limited distractions Managers are not as accessible to their team members
Can be developed in bite-sized formats and facilitated in-house to provide continuous learning

 

 VIRTUAL INSTRUCTOR-LED

 PROS
CONS
No travel required Fewer opportunities to bond, build a support network, and share best practices
Can be developed in bite-sized formats and facilitated in-house to provide continuous learning Difficult to measure engagement beyond course participation

Managers are susceptible to more distractions during the training

Technology challenges with video, Internet connectivity, and sound can negatively impact the learning experience

 

SELF-PACED ON DEMAND/JUST-IN-TIME

PROS
CONS
No travel required Fewer opportunities to bond, build a support network, and share best practices
Simple course completion tracking Difficult to measure engagement beyond course completion
Typically organized in bite-sized courses, so managers can balance training with supporting their teams Managers are susceptible to more distractions during the training
Consistent information and experience
Easy to administer

Leadership Training Timing

Based on our experience, the best time to enroll managers in training is right when they’ve been promoted, or “just in time.” Relevant leadership training is the antidote to sink-or-swim, a practice that hurts confidence, morale, and your company’s net promoter score.

Waiting for managers to ask for help is risky. You’ll lose productivity, and some of your managers with the potential to be great leaders might realize another company offers more support and professional development.

When it comes to leadership training, strike while the iron is hot, when managers are eager to learn. Proactively equip them with the skills they need to confidently excel in their new role.

Next Steps

Hopefully, you’re starting to get a vision for the type of leadership training topics your managers need, and the type of learning experiences that will support your goals. Keep in mind learning experiences can be combined in order to create a blended approach, and you can always hire a partner to help you develop your strategy.

Managers want feel equipped for their roles so they can make a positive impact on your company and the lives of their direct reports. When you build their skills and confidence, you create a more sustainable organization and a better place to work.

The Sales Behavior Advantage: Why Reps Need More Than Skills

You’re comparing the numbers for two sales professionals on your team, David and Serita. David’s are all over the board, while Serita consistently meets or beats her targets. You look into the possible variables: her territory, her goals, her experience, and the hours she puts in. No glaring differentiators there.

So, what’s Serita’s secret? After a little more digging, you realize this: Serita’s success is a result of her behaviors.

Sales behaviors drive results over time, for better—or for worse. If you want to develop your sales team, improve your customer experience, and consistently meet and beat your targets, behavior training is one of best things you can invest in.

Sales behavior training to apply knowledge and skills

What is behavior training?

Behavior training focuses on the choices sales professionals can make throughout their week, and it encourages them to make decisions that will achieve the best results.

Take your needs analysis for example. David can conduct a needs analysis with every prospect, or he can skip it and go straight to the recommendation. He has a choice to make. (We’re hoping he’ll conduct a needs analysis with every prospect, right?!)

Behavior training also builds on knowledge and skills. First David needs to know what he’s selling and why it’s important. Then he needs to know how to sell it (this is where skills like building rapport and overcoming objections come into play). Once he’s learned that, then he needs to choose the actions he’ll take day in and day out—his behaviors.

Think about it this way. You can organize most training content into three buckets:

  • Knowledge: What it is and why it’s important
  • Skills: How to do it
  • Behaviors: The action taken

How to train knowledge, skills, and sales behaviors

Behavior training is David’s chance to think critically and apply the knowledge and skills he’s learned. It’s the capstone of your onboarding program—the course that ties it all together.

Why is behavior training important?

Sales behaviors drive sales activities, which in turn drive results. When you’re David—doing your best to keep up with orders, contracts, and Salesforce—it can be hard to step back and analyze the connection between your choices, your sales activities, and your results. But, it’s clear: behaviors are at the heart of his results.
Sales behaviors are at the heart of resultsAs we’ve learned from our work with sales organizations like BH Media Group, you can’t coach results, but you can coach the behaviors that influence them. Norman Behar of the Sales Readiness Group puts it this way:

A good analogy that demonstrates this point is weight loss. Someone who wants to lose weight cannot simply get on a scale daily and record their weight. While there is likely to be some fluctuation day to day, the results are not meaningful unless they are taking specific behaviors (e.g., modified diet, exercise) that will impact these results.

Behavior training moves the focus from what might be outside of David’s control (market volatility, season, pricing) to what’s within his control (the actions he can take to accomplish his goals).

How should I train sales behaviors?

To create a behavioral sales training strategy, put your analyst hat on. Find out who your other high performers like Serita are, and then ask open-ended questions to figure out their shared best practices.

From there, align their best practices (a.k.a. their behaviors) with your sales process. If the first stage in your sales process is Greet, what are the specific behaviors that characterize an effective greeting?

Socialize what you’ve learned with your frontline, managers, and key stakeholders; get feedback; and refine your design. After that, you’re ready to develop your training.

The key is to give your learners choices. If they choose the right behavior, affirm their decision and reinforce why it was right. If they select the wrong behavior, help them understand why it’s wrong and why a different decision would get a better result. When designed the right way, a simulated, scenario-based approach can work extremely well within an instructor-led context or a self-paced eLearning context.

Remember, it’s easy to focus on results, but you can’t coach results. If you want your sales professionals like David and Serita to apply their knowledge and skills in a variety of real-world situations, let them practice making decisions. Show them how their sales behaviors impact their customer relationships and their numbers. It’s the day-to-day behavioral choices that help them achieve consistent wins.