Sales & Sales Management Expertise

How Sales Enablement Can Streamline Sales Training

Tags: Sales Training, Sales Enablement

In the fast-paced, ever-changing field of sales, it’s no wonder why systematic, repeatable training is important to keep sales reps up-to-date. Since sales reps often need to learn and adapt to the latest sales process, methodology, and messaging, offering timely training is a must. Equally important is the regular distribution of sales training content that is memorable. Without it, learned information will not stay with the seller for long. This kind of meaningful training can come from an effective sales enablement program.

The best sales enablement programs ought to act as a resource that helps reps sell more effectively and efficiently. At their best, these programs save the company a lot of time and money by increasing the productivity of their sales team. They can even lead to more sales, making them not only a money saver, but a money maker as well. Part of what these programs do includes making sure that reps are properly equipped with all that they need to engage leads and convert them into buyers. A great way to do this is by implementing a well-structured, effective sales training program.

The problem is that many sales enablement practitioners typically adopt training methodologies that do not give reps what they actually need. Traditional sales training techniques take the seller away from the buyer, which often prevents them from being as effective as they set out to be. By implementing a more effective sales enablement program, a company can improve the training process by addressing the actual needs of the sales team.

While this task may seem daunting, there are four simple ways that a sales enablement program can actually streamline sales training.

1.) Making Training More Available

One of the biggest problems with sales trainings is that they usually only happen a few times out of the year at best. Traditional sales training techniques often require a meeting or group gathering scheduled by someone other than the rep, which means the rep has to adjust his or her schedule in order to fit. If the trainings work with the rep to schedule a time for the meeting, there is no risk of the sales training interfering with the rep’s clients. This small adjustment to a sales training strategy can maximize each sales reps’ time, making them more available to meet with or call potential clients.  An effective sales enablement program makes sure that sales training is available when the rep can be there and in a place they can go without getting in the way of sales.

2.) Contextualizing the Training to Meet the Reps’ Needs

As with all large-gathering trainings, group sales trainings can sometimes be less focused on the specific needs of an individual sales rep.

A more beneficial sales training strategy would give reps information that is relevant to the sales proecess and deal they are currently trying to engage. The rep is now motivated because the sales training content applies to the rep’s situation at the moment. They will be more attentive and focused, and the training will be more effective.

An effective sales enablement program helps ensure that all the sales content that is given to the rep is significant and relevant to their current engagements.

3.) Training on Simple, Deliverable Language

Since sales reps are the buyer’s primary communication point for the company, it is vital that they are able to communicate the necessary information to the buyer in a simple and concise way. Few buyers will be interested in jargon or technical data statistics, but they will want to know the essential aspects of what they are considering buying. If a sales rep cannot fully explain the product simply and coherently, they may lose the buyer’s interest and ultimately, their business.

Because of this, an effective sales enablement program must support a sales training and communication strategy that gives the rep the necessary information in such a way that they can easily digest and deliver it to the buyer in simple language.

4.) Incorporating Training Into the Regular Workflow

Perhaps the most essential need is for the sales training content to be seamlessly incorporated into the rep and sales manager’s workflows, making room for quick and regular coaching feedback from the manager to the rep. The training process should be ongoing so that sales reps are not losing out on new information or having to remember what they learned months ago.

An effective sales enablement program that incorporates sales training techniques into a company’s workflow will help make training and coaching more efficient in the long run.

Developing an effective sales enablement program that works around the sales team will help the reps with what they actually need, allowing them to be more productive and motivated to sell more. When they are regularly given proper training material that helps them in their specific engagements, they will use what they learn more regularly, making it less likely that they forget what they learn and more likely that they use it in the future. Lastly, the sales enablement program can help ensure a workflow that allows room for regular, practical feedback from managers to the reps. All these together streamline the training process and make the sales team more efficient, productive, and effective.

 

Shawnna Sumaoang is the Director of Marketing for Highspot, the industry's most advanced sales enablement platform, helping organizations close the loop across marketing, sales, and the customer.

Sales Training Lessons - Generating More Sales, "Problem" People & The ONE Thing

Tags: Sales Training, sales lessons

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Additional support information for this topic:

I conducted a sales training session yesterday for Central Investment Advisors.They are the investment division for Central Bank which is based in Jefferson City, Mo. We have been conducting 2 to 3 live sessions a year for 3 years now and, within our deliverable, I work with the Sales Manager, conduct online coaching sessions and provide access to our online learning library.

Yesterday, we were focusing on three critical functions for generating more sales:

  1. Executing a more consistent sales process – So many sales people, regardless of tenure, fail to have or execute a sales process. They have one, but it changes from opportunity to opportunity, day to day, week to week. As a result, gathering any business intelligences is impossible and therefore conducting any intentional coaching to improve skills or change behaviors is prohibited because there isn’t a baseline of performance to measure against.
  2. More at bats – Everything starts with getting more people to talk to and engaging those people in important conversations. Our subject matter was – Getting Introductions (Audio postcard).
  3. Positioning a Solution to Get a Decision (sample online workshop) – Even with all the training done on how to qualify prospects and how to present solutions, there is very little done in the way of positioning the close to get a decision. And, contrary to what would seem to be logical, it isn’t about the sales person telling the prospect, “This is what we do next.” Instead, it’s a matter of continuing to ask questions to find out how the prospect wants to proceed, what they have to see or hear that will allow them to make an intelligent decision, and then gaining agreement on making a decision once you deliver what they say they have to have.

We covered a lot of ground, made them role play, made them analyze their current approach and determine what was the one thing they really needed to address to improve the production, productivity and/or effectiveness. I asked them to write down that one thing so that they could take all the information and point it at just one area of improvement instead of trying to eat the whole elephant at once.

When we finished, I asked everyone to review their notes and identify the one thing they got from the session that will help them with the one thing they identified in the beginning of our workshop. The following are just some of the answers of what we all took away from our 3 hours together:

  • Do a better job of executing my ideal week – time blocking
  • Patience
  • Training is something we always need to do
  • Do a better job of asking better questions
  • When I role play/practice, I must practice how I have to perform when it really matters
  • Identify those people I really want to work with and make sure that, when I ask for referrals, I’m getting introduced to those type of people
  • Ask the question – “Is this a want to fix or have to fix problem?”
  • Make getting introductions part of my sales process
  • Have a process and follow the process
  • Make sure that I reach out to my peers and ask for help in preparing for larger sales opportunities
  • Conduct a “pre-flight checklist” prior to going out on a call or presenting a solution.
  • Be prepared for the unexpected reactions, answers and questions of the prospect.

As I said, this is just a sampling of the lessons from our session. We had close to 30 people in the room and many of those lessons identified were repeated by others. What is always fascinating to me is the variety of answers I get. We focused on just 3 things yesterday, I thought we had just 3 lessons... but the list here includes 11 take-a-ways.

The other thing that I find consistently fascinating is that normally the manager or organizer of the meeting warns me about "problem" people in the group that may not respond because of their tenure. What ALWAYS happens is that some of those tenured, experienced, "problem" people are the ones that learn the most, get the most, change the most and, eventually, produce the most. I think there is a correlation between their willingness to learn and their position in the stack ranking – they are normally the ones to the right of the median line in the bell curve.

My ask of you is this – Review the three topics covered, review the lessons learned and answer the question: “What’s the one thing I could do better?”

Feel free to comment with your answer. Please click any of the links at the beginning for additional resources.