If your business has started to experience a decline in sales, chances are you have already considered addressing the problem by providing better training for your sales team. If not, you should. After all, research published by Forbes suggests that as many as 55 percent of all salespeople working today lack basic sales skills.
Multiple studies have demonstrated that the quality of a salesperson is the single most important factor influencing a prospect’s buying decision, which is why companies invest so heavily in sales executive training. Here, we take a closer look at some of the best training techniques for improving sales figures quickly.
1. Carry Out Training In Bite-Size Chunks
Many companies invest in extensive training sessions, spanning several days, but this money is often wasted. Indeed, a study published by Sales Performance International highlights the fact that around 50 percent of all content learned at such events is forgotten inside five weeks and the majority is never applied in the workplace.
Far better results can be achieved by dividing learning into much smaller chunks. According to Susan Weinschenk, author of100 Things Every Presenter Needs to Know About People, the average person can concentrate on a single task for just seven to ten minutes. Although training sessions can last longer than that and still be effective, there needs to be a shift in the activity itself, e.g. switching from a presentation to a group activity, or vice versa.
2. Improving Sales Management Training
For staff to apply their sales training, it must be reinforced through continuous coaching and that, in turn, requires investment in leadership development. In fact, research from Vantage Point and the Sales Management Association shows companies that invest most of their training budget in management training perform significantly better.
“Evidence repeatedly shows that turning around a sales team starts with turning around the sales manager,” says Walter Rogers, the chairman of CCI Global Holdings, writing for Salesforce. “Sales managers sometimes become so busy and distracted that they neglect their own professional development.”
3. Using Data to Drive One-to-One Meetings
It is important to remember that sales teams are made up of individuals, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, while more general sales team training has a place, there needs to be a more personal element. The best way to ensure this is through regular one-to-one meetings and individual coaching.
However, while sales leaders have a role to play in identifying weaknesses or areas of improvement, you should also use data to inform your one-to-one sessions. Decide on the important metrics within your organisation, work with employees to pinpoint areas of weakness and try to agree on some shared, achievable goals to correct them.
4. Personalisation of the Sales Process
Lastly, in terms of actual topics to focus on, it pays to prioritise personalisation. As evidenced by the Genesys Global Survey, personalisation is one of the most commonly cited keys to customer or client satisfaction, yet ContactPoint Client Research found that employees ask for a customer’s name just 21 percent of the time.
According to Josiane Feigon, only 13 percent of customers feel understood by salespeople. Treating them like real people with real concerns is half the battle. Your staff training should place an emphasis on identifying ways to make your sales process more personal and this should include the pre-sale stage, the sale itself and the follow up.