Companies face huge challenges when it comes to sales training. Employees aren’t engaged, don’t retain what they learn, and just plain don’t like attending trainings.
It’s no wonder sales training has such a bad reputation.
But these problems can be overcome. And overcoming them can give your company a huge sales boost: effective, continuous training can boost sales per employee by up to 50%. Your company can achieve these numbers. You just need to make a few changes to your sales training.
Read on to find out how you can address the most common challenges faced by sales trainers and overcome them to reach new heights in your sales.
Challenge #1: Engagement
Sales trainers consistently list low engagement as one of their biggest challenges.
ATD found that salespeople know that “their main job is to sell, [so] they feel justified in answering customer calls and messages” during training. The content itself is often to blame, as well. In 2014, half of surveyed sales training professionals thought their content wasn’t engaging enough
.No wonder trainees don’t pay attention.If you’re going to run a successful sales training, engagement needs to be your first priority. Everyone in the training needs to be motivated to pay attention. That’s the responsibility of the trainer and the organization.
But how do you get your sales trainees engaged?
First and foremost, your training needs to be highly relevant. Just over a third of sales leaders know which improvements they’re looking to get out of a training. You need to know exactly what you’re looking for and how the training will help your sales team get there.
Generalized sales training programs that don’t have anything to do with your company aren’t going to grab salespeople’s attention, because they’ve heard it all before. They need something new, and they need to see immediately that it’s going to help them in their jobs.
Second, sales trainings need to be highly actionable. Jeff Winters of Sapper Consulting improved his company’s sales training by making it more challenging—and increased new sales by 70%.
Instead of feeding sales reps answers when they get stuck in a role-playing call, trainers wait out the difficulty and force trainees to get themselves out of it. Reps practice the entire sales cycle, and each step is made more difficult than it will likely be in real life.
You can bet those trainees are engaged. If they’re not, they’re going to be in a very uncomfortable situation.
Third, employees need to understand the importance of training. This is related to company culture, but there are things you can do to show that you place a high value on engaged training.
Winters, for example, joins his employees in the trainings and takes part in the activities. When employees see a CEO in a sales training, they know that management places a high value on that training.
Finally use new delivery methods to increase engagement. Learning management systems let you share videos, text, slideshows, and other sales training materials however your company finds it convenient.
And you can follow those materials up with quizzes or other assessment measures to make sure that people are learning. The interactive and constant availability of these platforms makes for a more engaging learning experience. (They also promote continuous learning, another challenge that we’ll come to.)
All of these methods have one thing in common: clear communication. You need to communicate to your trainees what they’re going to learn, why it’s useful to them, and how you’re going to assess their learning at the end of the training. When that level of communication with effective delivery techniques, you have a winning sales training.
Challenge #2: Scheduling
You could have the most effective training in the world. But if you can’t get people to attend the training, it’s not going to do you any good.
One of the most common problems faced by sales trainers is coordinating schedules for in-person training. That immediately begs the question—do you even need in-person training?Of course, the answer is yes. At least partially.
But learning platforms are making online sales training not only easier to coordinate and run, but more effective as well. Offering on-demand training online lets salespeople continue their learning at any time that’s convenient (we’ll talk about continuous learning and how to foster the right mindset in a moment).
Consider using a mobile learning platform that lets sales reps learn about company messaging and products on the go. And it will help those reps develop the knowledge they need to sell effectively—as well as the confidence to use it.You’ll still need at least occasional in-person trainings. But when you have fewer of them, they should be easier to coordinate. And even with those fewer trainings, your sales force can be better trained and more effective.