Boost Your Sales Team Performance via Refreshed Training

The sales department of a company keeps the organization thriving. It’s worth training sales personnel to prime them for success.

How long has it been since your sales team received refreshed or updated training?

A businessman pointing to a "sales training" graphic.

Sales training is a major way to improve departmental effectiveness.

Improving sales representatives’ performance through targeted and focused employee education may provide your business with a much-needed infusion of momentum. Reps’ ability to sell effectively – making use of the latest and most relevant tactics and techniques – can determine whether a company meets or misses business targets for a quarter or year.

Sales ability isn’t an intrinsic or fixed trait. Improving related skills through the deployment of timely and effective training is a potentially valuable boost for the representatives, the department and the organization.

What Does Great Sales Performance Mean Today?

Before launching an effort to improve the sales team’s skills, it’s worth taking a moment to determine what representatives should do to get to the top of their profession and stay there. These practices tend to evolve over time, as priorities and norms shift among the companies’ customer bases. Leaders have to keep up when directing their teams.

The latest edition of Miller Heiman Group’s CSO Insights survey determined a few key points about today’s sales departments: Namely, though revenue attainment is rising, sales professionals’ win rates are staying consistent at 47.3% – just under half of forecasted sales volume closes. The study’s authors recommended that sales teams pursue more in-depth relationships with customers and improve their ability to give clients perspective and insight about products, rather than a simple list of features.

When sales leaders told CSO Insights what traits they would choose in their teams if they could start from scratch, they revealed some underrepresented but potentially transformative abilities. For instance, managers want employees who are skilled at defining and solving problems. Employees coming in with an entrepreneurial mindset and a clear career path may be able to deliver the results companies seek. Conversely, leaders are unimpressed with professionals who have outdated sales habits and approaches.

A folder with a What’s the key to boosting sales efforts?

How Do Sales Teams Excel in the Modern Market?

Delving deeper into the culture and performance of sales organizations today, industry leaders spoke to the Forbes Business Development Council about practices that can create cohesive and effective teams. Kforce’s Casey Jacox recommended persistent practice for new sales representatives. In Jacox’s model, leaders simulate and roleplay client conversations with their latest hires before turning these workers loose on live calls with customers.

Once reps are acclimated to serving on the sales team, they should understand that they are collaborating rather than competing, MBL Benefits Consulting’s Tracy Alvin told Forbes. Co-workers who support one another and communicate effectively can serve a company more than those who are mostly defined by jealously guarding their personal networks of leads. When teams are open with one another, reps can share best practices and warn about approaches to avoid; everyone benefits from such updates.

Being effective today may mean less encouragement of competition than in the past, but individual sales metrics still have value. As Invicta Medical’s Robin Farmanfarmanian explained, leaders should pursue cultures of openness and transparency, in which salespeople understand how much they are expected to contribute each month or quarter and how close they are to accomplishing that goal. Visibility around these concepts is better than opacity, which might encourage employees to be uncertain, afraid and more competitive with one another, rather than less so.

What Does Up-to-Date Sales Training Look Like?

If your organization doesn’t have a current training program for sales team members, adding such employee education may be easier than it appears. Dedicating time and resources to a classroom-focused seminar for sales team members may be tough to ask of an organization on a budget. However, there are more streamlined and modern ways to impart information on sales best practices, including video-based training content. Using digital training materials enables you to deliver important lessons on demand, with representatives taking select courses in a way that aligns with their schedules.

Topics in the sales training content library include phone skills, teamwork with customer service, value proposition creation and coping with organization-wide change. Sales representatives who have recently received updates on these and other helpful abilities can bring those practices into their day-to-day work quickly, improving their contributions to the team and the company. When your organization embraces video training, it’s easy to assign courses to every new employee who joins the department, whereas scheduling in-person sessions would present logistical hurdles.

When you’re wondering what could change within your business to attract and close more leads next quarter, consider boosting the knowledge and best practices present within your sales team. Fielding a team of representatives who are embracing the latest sales approaches may directly impact the organization’s ability to reach targets. With today’s user-friendly training options, you don’t have to bring operations to a halt to make such a change.

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