Your organization has a sales training program, and it’s working, right? Your sales reps are learning to position your products and services and close enough deals to at least keep the lights on for another month.
And maybe, you schedule training two or three times per year, probably in conjunction with a regional sales meeting when everyone is together to compare notes.
While your sales training program might not be brand new, you’re patching holes with updated content to keep it as fresh as you can.
So it’s good, right? Or at least adequate?
Well, maybe. If your organization has a good sales training program and you’re stuck in chronic mediocrity, imagine the results of a great sales training program that empowers your sales team to knock it out of the park with every customer interaction.
How can you tell whether your sales training program is good or great? Let’s take a quiz.
1. What is your sales methodology?
At the heart of every good sales training program is a good sales methodology. And there are plenty to choose from: Challenger, SPIN, SNAP, Customer Centric, Sandler Selling, and Conceptual … the list goes on.
It’s good to have a sales methodology because it helps your organization identify certain key needs. It probably provides insight into how your organization qualifies buyers, positions products, and helps reps overcome objections.
But, while it’s good to adopt a sales methodology, they all have one thing in common: lots of other organizations ―including your direct competitors―are using the exact same methodology.
To differentiate your organization in a crowded marketplace, you have to customize, personalize, and make your sales methodology your own so you can woo customers with a uniquely compelling customer experience – resulting in more deals closed.
A great sales training program is built off a sales methodology that’s contextual and customized for your specific products and services. One that enables reps to ideally position the solutions you offer, helps develop the knowledge, skills, and behaviors that empower your reps to shine more brightly than competitors, and matches your culture.
We’re often asked, “Hey Unboxed, what’s your sales methodology?”
Well, we have frameworks to create custom sales methodologies for our clients, but whether we create one or start with your existing one, the answer is simple: our methodology is to take your methodology and contextualize it to transform your training from hu-hum to BAM!
2. What does your sales training program teach your reps?
Reps require knowledge and skills to sell successfully. They need specific, detailed information to explain how your products solve a customer’s issues and add value. Reps must also know how to qualify customers, build relationships, upsell, gain referrals and repeat sales. If your training achieves all of that, then you have a good program.
In addition to teaching knowledge and skills, a great sales training program also focuses on developing consistent behaviors that reps must master to position your products and services at the top of the market, making them irresistible to customers.
So, how do you take a knowledge- and skills-based training program to the next level?
At Unboxed, we start by partnering with our clients to identify the behaviors that drive success, then build training around those behaviors. PowerPoints won’t do here. Reps need to experience what these behaviors look like in action. We use simulations, choose-your-own adventure, and adaptive learning models so reps make a choice and then get to see the impact of their decisions, even if they’re incorrect.
By changing behaviors, you change overall results. Great sales training materials improve selling behaviors for your entire bench, driving increased sales and higher customer satisfaction.
3. What does your sales training program offer sales leaders?
Great sales managers aren’t born―they’re trained. They’re the pillars reps look to for guidance on closing critical deals. And, contrary to popular belief, when a top rep is promoted to sales manager, savvy management skills don’t magically materialize.
A coaching model supports the knowledge, skills, and behaviors your sales management and leadership team require to guide reps to the next level. They’ll learn to build their bench, set goals, develop strategy, understand drivers and drainers, evaluate ROI―and coach their team in developing these skills. Teaching managers how to foster increased sales productivity and efficiency improves the overall vitality of your sales organization.
4. How do you deliver your sales training program?
Modality of learning is key to making knowledge stick. In years past, that meant in-person training and stacks of binders. Today’s reps are more visually oriented, so videos and interactive technologies are a smarter way to engage them to maximize retention.
If you currently mix up the delivery of your training using PowerPoints, self-paced workbooks, and the occasional video, you have a good training delivery system.
But why not make it great?
Reps are busy. Lengthy training sessions lower their overall selling time. And don’t forget about the forgetting curve. But by using modern, on-demand modalities, reps can train anywhere, anytime. Delivering training in short, bite-sized chunks also makes it more digestible and easier to retain. (It’s called microlearning, and it’s great for sales training.)
Modern sales reps respond to modern training methods. They increase engagement and knowledge retention. So, while it’s good to have 25-minute videos and training every six months, it’s great to use more modern sales training techniques including eLearning (simulations, interactive learning guides, and high-fidelity training videos), social learning, and gamification that keep reps engaged.
Are you good, great, or in the middle?
If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, your organization likely has a good sales training program.
But what if parts of your program are good while other aspects are already great? In that case does your entire sales program need a complete overhaul, or does it just need a facelift to make it more modern and engaging?
Here’s the thing: transforming from good to great has tangible benefits for your sales team and sales leaders, but the overarching reason to revamp your sales training is to provide your customers with an extraordinary experience.
This begs one last question:
5. Does your sales training elevate the customer experience?
In our modern, crowded sales landscape, companies compete on the playing field of customer experience.
And while it’s good to deliver training that benefits your reps, it’s great if that training also elevates the customer experience.
When customers experience the wow-factor of customized, contextual product positioning from sales reps whose consistent behaviors focus on solving their individual challenges, it tips the balance in your organization’s favor.
By transforming your sales training program from good to great, you increase rep engagement, enhance management and leadership skills, and amp-up your customer experience to previously unimagined heights. Who wouldn’t choose great?
Here’s the complete infographic.
Want to Move from Good to Great?
At Unboxed, we specialize in creating custom sales training programs that help organizations transform from good to great, from mediocre to phenomenal, from off the shelf or “boxed” to, well … Unboxed.
Ready to kick it up a notch? Reach out. We’d love to talk sales training with you.
According to the ATD, companies spend $20 billion annually on sales training but report a low return on their investment. That’s not acceptable. There is a way to build a wildly successful, sustainable sales training program. In the periodic table of sales training, we summarize the major factors that influence whether or not you’ll get the most out of your training investment.
We explore the following families of elements:
- Strategy: Success starts with clearly defined goals and a plan of action to get there.
- Topics: Reps and sales managers need to master certain skills and behaviors to succeed.
- Modalities: A blended approach engages different learning styles and allows the organization to identify the best combination of formats for impact and scale.
- Content: ATD shares 50% of sales teams don’t find their training engaging. Content must be to the point and relevant to team member’s daily work.
- Learning Platform: Reps and managers are busy. They need a learning platform that makes it easy to access training content and resources.
- Reinforcement: Use it or lose it. 87% of sales training is forgotten within 30 days. Ongoing practice and reinforcement is a must.
- Measuring Results: What’s measured gets celebrated and improved.
- Business Impact: Improvements in reps’ and managers’ performance correlates with improvements in sales activities, like close rates and average deal size.
- Leadership: Involvement must go beyond approving the budget. Leaders need to champion the training.
|| What are the business’ strategy and goals?
||What will team members be able to do as a result of their training?
||Who is the training for? New reps? Experienced reps? Managers? Mentors?
||How can training be integrated into the workflow rather than taking reps out of the field?
||What knowledge, skills, and behaviors do people need to master to succeed?
||Are you using a blended approach to maximize engagement and retention?
||How will team members continue to sharpen skills and achieve results at the 101 level, 201 level, and beyond?
||Are team members dispersed across different locations? Will they need to access content virtually or on the road?
||What devices will team members use to access their training?
||What other IT requirements need to be accounted for?
||What does success look like? How will results be measured and shared?
||What’s your ongoing strategy to roll out new content and drive continued engagement and professional development?
||Will training be developed in-house, or will you partner with a vendor?
||What’s your budget?
||What foundational knowledge, skills, and behaviors do new hires need to be successful?
||How will reps communicate benefits and features in a customer-friendly way? How will they demonstrate the value of your solutions over your competitors?
||Prospecting & Planning
||How will reps effectively identify and nurture leads?
||How will reps build relationships and become trusted advisors?
||How will reps explore needs and recommend the best solution?
||Ask for the Sale
||How will reps ask for and receive a commitment?
||How will reps confidently and successfully address customer concerns?
||Summarize & Thank
||How will reps recap decisions and make clients feel excited?
||How will reps act as stewards of their accounts and proactively recommend next steps for clients?
||Do reps understand how they (and the business) earn money and the impact of their behaviors on results?
||Systems & Tools
||Can reps effectively use tools like your CRM and LMS?
||How will managers and mentors influence team member growth and development?
||Are managers and mentors equipped to give timely, objective, factual, and objective feedback?
||How will sales managers and reps work together to create and achieve goals?
||How will the organization introduce and explain change, generate excitement, and gain buy-in?
||Does classroom training break up lecture with group discussions and exercises?
||Virtual Instructor-Led Training
||Do you leverage virtual training events to help minimize travel and out-of-office time?
||For ILT and vILT, do participants have a simple way to take notes, reflect, and record key takeaways?
||Can reps simulate common customer interactions and scenarios and see how their decisions impact outcomes?
||Are videos 5 minutes or shorter, and available on demand?
||Do managers have the information and tools they need to successfully lead a training session?
||Can reps go at their own pace and easily save and resume their progress?
||Do you incorporate games to play to reps’ natural desire for competition and amp up engagement?
||Are resources easy to find and use on the job?
||Does training clearly demonstrate the what’s in it for me?
||Is content up to date?
||Is it easy to understand?
||Are phrases and sentences short?
||Are everyday words and phrases used? Is jargon avoided (or used sparingly)?
||Do scenarios, dialogue, and examples reflect realistic real-world situations?
||Does it genuinely reflect your culture and brand?
||Does it weave in appropriate, smart humor?
||Is content presented in short segments or chunks?
||Does it encourage audience participation?
||Does it favor original and contextual visuals over cheesy stock images?
||Is the design clean and not busy?
||Does it create the right mood and not a distraction?
||Is it the right pace and engaging without being over the top?
||Are actors authentic and relatable?
||Are facilitators animated? Do they interact with the audience?
||Has it been proofread? Does functionality work like it’s supposed to?
||Easy to Use
||Is it intuitive for users and admins?
||Does it work well on smartphones and tablets?
||Can team members access the platform anywhere?
||Does it weave in gamification (like rewards, badging or leaderboards) to keep users engaged and motivated?
||Can managers and reps work with each other using built-in tools like discussion forums or messaging?
||Can users upload and share content they’ve created, like a video?
||Is it easy to look for content and resources?
||What security measures are in place?
||Will the platform be able to support you as your team grows?
||Does the platform integrate with your CRM and other critical tools?
||Does it support Single Sign-On?
||Does the platform include quizzing/testing for confirmation of learning?
||Can managers and reps earn and track certifications?
||Can learners sign up for courses?
||Is the platform SCORM compliant?
||Is the platform Tin Can compliant?
||What reports are available? Can custom reports be added?
||Do sales managers actively coach reps and give them feedback?
||Do reps have opportunities to learn best practices from peer mentors?
||Do team members have protected time to practice skills and behaviors and get feedback?
||Just-In-Time Content & Activities
||Do team members get pop quizzes, reminders, or other forms of JIT reinforcement or refresher training?
||Are quizzes/tests administered to evaluate comprehension and retention?
||Are participants empowered to share feedback about the usefulness, quality, and impact of their training?
||Are reps encouraged to take ownership of their development by assessing their wins and opportunities?
||Do reps regularly check in with managers to share progress?
||Do managers observe reps on the job to validate and assess application of knowledge, skills, and behaviors?
||Are high-performing behaviors becoming habits?
||Do customers have a consistent experience with, and positive perception of, your brand?
||Do reps generate more qualified leads?
||Do more leads convert to clients?
||In the client retention rate increasing?
||Are you doing more business in existing accounts?
||Do more reps reach their quotas?
||Is average deal size increasing?
||Is the sales cycle moving faster?
||Is more revenue being generated monthly/quarterly/annually?
||Do leaders share the vision for your sales training?
||Do leaders help drive alignment with and among subject-matter experts? Do they form partnerships with other teams/channels?
||Do they attend reviews and give thoughtful feedback in a timely manner?
||Are they excited? Do they proactively share updates and market the training throughout the organization?
Questions about your sales training program? Feedback on our periodic table? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or contact us to chat one on one.
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