Sales Operations: Training
After the weekend of the Pro-bowl, I am reflecting on talent, and specifically how massively talented each team was, but also how impossible this matchup was.
Think about how much money in terms of annual salaries either side would cost. No one team could afford to pay them all!
The same is true in sales; no budget could afford a team of all-stars. And in fact, the measure of your team depends more on the many players you need to train than on the one or two that will perform no matter what you do.
In order to achieve maximum efficiency, you need one or two superstars, but you also need to be able to cultivate talent, to be able to train the rest of your reps so that they deliver more value each year. A great training program will deliver way more profitability at the end of the day, so let’s talk about how to create a topnotch program.
Sales Training Programs Are Based on Sales Organization Maturity
“We are continually learning from every sales cycle and adapting our message to be more effective when we are in front of customers. We are trying to create a repeatable sales process but our product focus is changing as much as our sales model.” Vice President of Sales, Build Stage Company
Training enhances the present knowledge of any employee, which can be used to overcome the challenges they face. These can be classified based upon the stage of the sales organization.
Your stage matters when you are planning a training program because, for example, if you are in a build stage then you do not really have a repeatable sales process yet. The organization is in a learning stage, and mentorship will be less important.
Sales training programs should therefore begin by considering the stage of the sales organization.
Types of Sales Training
The Sales Operations team plans effective training programs and execute them as per the plan.
Then they measure the impact of the training on the employees. It may be by a pre-test- post-test method, which is simple and efficient to measure the results and outcomes of the training.
Let us consider different aspects where training can be provided.
Product and Service training
If your customers expect and appreciate one thing in your salespeople, it is knowledge about your offering. B2B can make this kind of mastery difficult to achieve, however, because offerings can be exceedingly complex and technical. For most employees, this nuanced knowledge will seem like homework, and motivation is another challenge.
We find that most organizations do not fully acknowledge the motivation factor; they expect salespeople to put in extra, unpaid hours to learn new products.
Top-performers do acknowledge that they are asking their employees to put in extra work, and they use a mix of onboarding practices and smart compensation initiatives to incentivize and reward excellence.
Additionally, product configurators like Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ), or Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) Solutions can also lighten the workload significantly in this arena.
Mentorship and Coaching
Some companies hire sales coaches, but many of the most successful companies engender a spirit of learning and coaching through mentorship programs. When well-executed, mentorship programs allow talent to spread from your all-stars to your bread and butter.
Sales Training involves the personal development of skills and techniques related to creating and exploring new sales opportunities, as well as closing sales for an organization. It often includes topics related to client relationship management, better understanding customers’ needs, enhancing communication with clients, providing effective feedback to clients, and improving client interactions.
Market Intelligence Training
Gaining external data on the market is market intelligence. It can include - trends of markets, competitive analysis, targeted customers, application and sectors, high demand or low demand, position of supply, perspectives of clients, or brand value.
The Sales Ops team is responsible for working with Marketing and Sales to monitor the market, understand customer expectations, and loop feedback into sales methods quickly.
Your team can’t be made of all-stars, so you need to be able to maximize effectiveness through effective training programs. The most effective programs are designed based on the maturity of the sales organization and acknowledge the extra work necessary to improve sales performance.
Sales Operations can make an enormous difference in the training process, by deploying the right technology, but also by making recommendations to satisfy emerging customer expectations and create a trusting relationship with prospects.