Adapting your sales training program to a changing market

Is your sales training program in line with the times? Staying afloat in an increasingly cut-throat market will require updating your sales training practices to meet current demands. Real-life buyers don’t have stagnant preferences, so sales reps must be well-equipped to understand and meet their evolving needs. The problem is, many sales training programs start to feel dated after some time. Because the sales context is in a state of constant change, you’re going to have to adopt some strategies to ensure your training program remains adaptable and relevant.

Upgrade your sales training platforms

As our teams grow and workplaces shift, the tools and platforms with which training is carried out should be adapted accordingly. Is your office currently working remotely or using a hybrid schedule? Many companies are embracing the smart-working trend because of the flexibility it affords employees. Remote or not, your team could likely benefit from more virtual sales training opportunities. Face-to-face instruction has its limits; sales reps have to rely on memory to retain difficult concepts and may be more hesitant to seek assistance in front of their peers. Taking training resources online allows sales reps to replay lessons as needed, and offering virtual Q&A sessions creates a more private way for sales reps to seek clarification on confusing concepts without feeling judged. Collaborate with the marketing department to update training materials to fit remote working needs, and look for ways to make content more memorable by incorporating interactive features, reward mechanisms, and review notifications.

Sales leaders should look for technological solutions that help them better identify their sellers’ specific weak areas so that they can offer precise, personalized advice even within very large teams. Upgrade your sales training program and reach onboarding goals more quickly with a conversation intelligence software like Attention. Attention integrates with commonly used communication platforms to record calls, track performance, suggest relevant sales battlecards, and give instant feedback.

Make training practices goal-oriented

Is your sales training program evolving alongside your objectives? There should not be a disconnect between your company’s aims and your sales training focus. Your sales enablement team will be instrumental to bridging any gaps between your big-picture goals, sales strategy, and training design. You’ll also want to link specific lessons to concrete milestones so that sales reps are well-briefed on performance expectations. Use tools like Attention to help track key performance metrics like speak share, questions asked, and overall engagement. By linking desired outcomes to specific aspects of training, sales leaders can ensure their sales enablement efforts are well-aligned, and at the same time signal to junior reps the significance and relevance of each facet of training. Be sure to regularly evaluate your sales training program through the lens of business priorities; track and analyze sales enablement metrics to check whether your training program is having its intended effect.

Incorporate feedback from your team

To help your sellers succeed, you need to speak with them on a regular basis about what challenges they are facing and how the sales training program could be adjusted to better meet their needs in the future. What do sales reps feel is the most difficult part of their job? Are they having trouble finding new clients? Do they feel comfortable finding and using sales enablement content? What knowledge, skills, or tools do they think could help them sell more? Seeking out and comparing senior and junior reps’ feedback could provide complementary perspectives on your training practices and help you make better decisions about how to fine-tune the program. Another consideration is that junior reps may not be deriving the full value from training sessions. Ask your more experienced sales reps to share advice with junior sellers on how to make the most of their first few months on the job.

Focus on adding value

Customers have become a lot more independent in recent years. Make sure sales reps are clear on what buyers are already likely to know to avoid wasting valuable time during sales communications. If your sellers are not sharing information beyond that which is readily available online, buyers will look elsewhere for guidance. Thus, timeless sales training will teach sales reps how to add value to sales conversations. To accomplish this, track buyer insights over time and use them to your advantage. Buyer insights arm sales teams with vital knowledge on what prospects are looking for and how they make decisions. To really connect with buyers, you’re going to have to go beyond pain points, work to dissect buyer preferences, and figure out how potential customers conduct product research. Sales leaders should leverage this knowledge during training sessions to make sure sales reps are prepared to offer buyers compelling advice at every stage of their buying journey.

Keep relationship-building at the forefront

Forging strong relationships with prospects starts with trust-building. Your sales training program should prepare sales reps to connect with buyers on a human level, so it’s imperative that your training program impart the soft skills necessary for reps to support buyers throughout the sales process. Sellers must convey a real understanding of buyer needs, adjust their communication and working style to particular buyers, and have the tact to know when to speak and when to simply pause and listen. Role-playing can be a useful way to build these skills in a low-stakes environment. Encouraging and rewarding the use of soft-skills in day-to-day communications within the team can also serve to reinforce important lessons.

Acquiring people skills is a timeless investment. The caveat here is that professional etiquette and societal values are in a state of constant flux. Stay plugged in to broader community conversations to make sure your training program is preparing sales reps to lead across time and social convention. Whatever the state of the world (and your sales context), we guarantee the value of engaging in respectful, professional, and empathetic interactions with buyers will remain a constant.