5 Strategies for Effective Sales Team Training
June 24, 2022
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A positive relationship during the sales process doesn’t just lead to a new client. It also creates a lasting brand impression, improves customer retention, and creates more referrals for your company.
Unfortunately, most sales reps don’t know how to create that strong relationship. They need proper sales training to be effective for your organization. You invest a lot of money into bringing in new customers, and you can maximize the impact of your investment by ensuring that your sales reps know exactly how to connect with your ideal customers.
A poor experience during the sales process can impact revenue, customer retention, and brand reputation. That means you aren’t able to retain customers and have to work harder to get new ones—which costs 5x as much as keeping the ones you already have.
Fortunately, effective sales training programs can help ensure that your sales team positively impacts the customers they interact with and your business overall. Here’s what effective sales training looks like and some strategies you can use to help your sales team improve.
In this post:
Creating a strong sales team training program
An effective sales training program starts with a solid foundation based on your organization’s culture, code of conduct, and market position. You want your team members to understand your ideal customer and why you want to connect that customer with the solutions your product or service provides.
You also want to include best practices from your most successful salespeople. Finally, you need the training program to be easy to use and accessible to everyone.
“It can be really hard to capture the undivided attention of sales reps, especially as an Enablement professional. It can be even harder to get their attention and gain their trust if you’ve never been a seller before, like me. If I were in their shoes, why would I listen to someone who had never been a seller before? Instead, I see my superpower as being able to identify and coach internal SMEs or superstars to share their experiences and best practices and then turn those into pieces of training and processes that can help the rest of the organization excel.”
-Stephanie Middaugh, Director of Enablement, WorkRamp
One of the best ways to do this is to start with a strong learning management system (LMS). WorkRamp is an All-in-One Learning Platform that can help you provide on-demand training to help your sales team improve.
Using the right tool allows you to onboard new salespeople quickly so they can begin to make an immediate difference in the organization. You can train people remotely instead of waiting for everyone to be in the same location. Asynchronous learning allows everyone to learn at their own pace while having time to reflect and apply what they’re learning to their career.
Next, you can build a resource library with articles, videos, and recordings that your salespeople can use to learn about a specific approach, reflect on feedback, and more.
A sales training program that is easily accessible to everyone and contains the best practices from top performers will help your sales team have consistent success.
Here are some specific sales training strategies you can use to improve your team’s performance.
Strategy 1: Emphasize relationship selling
What you teach your team about their approach can make or break a sale. A majority (68 percent) of prospects say that a sales rep who listens to their needs and gives them appropriate resources could be the reason they commit to a sale.
Your sales reps may not realize how they’re coming across—50 percent of sales reps say they avoid being pushy, but 84 percent of consumers with a negative sales experience say it was the result of pushy sales reps.
At WorkRamp, we stress the importance of selling with empathy and creating tailored outreach from our BDRs.
“Building trust is a critical part of the sales process, and that’s why we train our sales reps to lead with empathy,” according to Danielle Scott, WorkRamp’s Senior Director of Enterprise Sales. “We always want customers and prospects to know we are actively listening, going the extra mile to understand their pain points and drivers, and prioritizing their business outcomes to make sure their launch is successful. When we take the time to build trust, we ensure that clients see us not only as a technology platform but as a trusted partner for the long-term.”
Relationship selling may seem to take more time and effort, but it pays off in a big way.
One company that uses a strong sales training program to emphasize relationship marketing is Peakon. The business focuses on equipping the sales team to provide a positive customer experience. Although 2020 was a challenging year, they were able to focus on foundational learning, refine the sales process, and adjust to remote work and training processes.
These training practices allowed them to develop a more effective sales organization and build strong relationships with potential customers.
Peakon Sales Enablement Global Lead, Celine Grey, shared her favorite WorkRamp feature:
“The Challenges feature is definitely a favorite for me. I love it because it helps people learn at a deeper level. Challenges require the learner to apply learning content and consider how they might pitch a product in real life. It also invites social learning with the peer review feature, which can help learners see pitches from a different perspective. It’s one event that creates several layers of learning.”
When you train your sales team to focus on a strong relationship with customers and prospects, you’ll not only get more sales, you’ll build long-term loyalty as well.
Strategy 2: New ways to learn from top performers
Learning by example can help your new reps develop their sales strategy from the most successful members of your team.
The key is to do this in a way that the learner can reflect on what they’re seeing and think about how they can put it into practice.
“Selling is both an art and a science and it will never be static. This means that there is rarely evergreen sales training–embrace the inevitable evolution. A great way to keep your training fresh and in-demand is to create a recurring and scalable loop with your top reps on approaches and win strategies that are working.”
-Melissa Regan, Senior Manager, Sales Enablement, WorkRamp
Here are some ways to make shadowing fun and helpful for everyone:
- Record both audio and video sales calls of top performers so that learners can see both the conversation and the non-verbal cues that were part of the sale
- Record the audio and video sales calls of newer sales reps and allow your top performers to give constructive feedback
- Create contests among top performers for the “best sales pitch” or “best sales process” and share the results with the team
Of course, reward your top performers for helping with mentorship in this way. There can be financial incentives, for example, that can offset the fact that mentoring may leave them with less time to make their own sales.
Strategy 3: Interview new customers about the sales experience
Do you know why a new customer committed to a purchase?
The answer is probably no. It’s easy to assume that it was because of a certain interaction or a particular need, but if you ask the customer themselves, you might get a very different answer. Therefore, it’s essential to know what the turning points were for the customer so you can create those same experiences for other prospects.
When someone commits to purchase, have a team member immediately follow up and ask about the sales experience.
“It’s just as important to know why an organization buys your product as to why they don’t. If you know the why, you can repeat the how. To get honest answers, bring in a team member who doesn’t have a sales quota (and will state that up front!) or a third-party interviewer so your customer doesn’t feel like they’re being pressured to buy more. Ask direct questions about their experience–who they worked with, what was helpful, what was challenging, etc. Make sure to incorporate the key winning factors into how your teams sell to similar prospects moving forward.”
-Minerva Thai, Senior Product Marketing Manager, WorkRamp
Studies show that 86 percent of consumers look for authenticity, and 81 percent of consumers buy because they trust the brand. Interviewing your new customers can help you understand what parts of the sales process created those feelings of trust and safety. That way, you can build those things into your sales process and have it happen consistently across your organization.
Strategy 4: Focus on building partnerships
Selling isn’t just about making the sale and moving on to the next one, it’s about building a partnership with clients and turning customers into brand advocates. At WorkRamp, we constantly stress the importance of building relationships and partnerships between our team and our customers.
One of the key reasons customers choose to work with us is the level of partnership we have with our customers. We believe that learning is crucial, and we don’t want to be just any vendor. We want to be a true partner for you.
So how exactly do we do this? Here are a few examples:
- Help clients get to value quickly. Onboarding quickly and efficiently in WorkRamp
- Ongoing communication. We have a Slack VIP Community that allows customers to connect with other customers, discuss best practices, and ask around for product tips
- Quarterly Product Events. Communities meet once a quarter to learn about new features and get facetime with executives and the product team
- Opportunities to learn. We offer Peer Learning Workshops and social events.
Adopting similar tactics allows you to build a partnership with your customers to create an environment of ongoing support. Your customers know you will be there for them throughout the sales process and beyond and that your team is invested in their success.
Strategy 5: Get feedback from your team on your training process
Another key strategy for building an effective sales team training program is to get feedback from your most important internal customers—your sales reps. If the training is not connecting with them, you need to know and make changes as needed.
One challenge many organizations face is that there are so many training tools that adding another can cause team friction and frustration among your employees. It’s essential to listen to employee feedback to create the best training process that will lead to results.
Reddit used WorkRamp to improve their training process for their sales team. One of the things that made this so successful was that the team had extremely positive feedback about the way the sales training was implemented.
The Principal Program Manager on Reddit’s Sales Enablement team, Ashley Crisostomo, said, “The bonus outcome of using WorkRamp has been the overwhelmingly positive sentiment around sales training. We didn’t have a training or L&D function at Reddit before my team, so there were low expectations around training and development. After establishing our enablement team, ramping up our training strategy, and deploying an LMS, internal NPS increased by 13 points.”
When you listen to your team and choose a training strategy and program that fits your needs, you can improve the loyalty and morale of your sales team, which leads to better results in the field.
Is your sales team training getting the results you need?
Using these strategies to create an effective sales training process will help you not only win new customers but also build your brand and create positive relationships with potential clients. This process improves profitability, customer loyalty, and more.
Want to learn more about how you can use WorkRamp to improve your sales team training? Contact us to book a free demo.
Complete the form for a custom demo.
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Anna SpoonerWorkRamp Contributor
Anna Spooner is a digital strategist and marketer with over 11 years of experience. She writes content for various industries, including SaaS, medical and personal insurance, healthcare, education, marketing, and business. She enjoys the process of putting words around a company’s vision and is an expert at making complex ideas approachable and encouraging an audience to take action.
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