Training your team requires providing them with more than a manual and a few workshops before sending them out into the field.
In fact, if that’s your current sales training program, all of that hard work and education could be forgotten by your team in just a few months.
There is no room for failure in today’s competitive sales landscape. Instead of focusing on assigned reading and sporadic training sessions, concentrate on effective sales training techniques that stick.
Benefits of sales training for sales teams and their managers
Sales training is beneficial for all members of a sales force, and investing in it can have many benefits and aid in establishing a culture of growth and support.
The best sales training can make a big difference to morale and performance, and motivate sales leaders and sales professionals on the frontline alike to move out of their comfort zones.
If you’re unsure about whether or how to create sales training, here are our top benefits of implementing either in-person or online sales training:
1. Increased revenue
Improving your sales and management teams can increase revenue for your company by helping everybody to make more thoughtful work choices.
2. Improve productivity
Increasing your sales team’s confidence to take independent actions can result in greater productivity.
With a defined and clear structure, staff can make useful decisions without the constant supervision of their manager.
It can also offer insight into automating sales processes to free up more of your team’s time.
In fact, combining innovative sales training techniques with a document workflow solution like PandaDoc could streamline processes massively.
3. Strengthen your organization
Solid sales training can bring your team together, improve collaboration and make the office environment healthier.
Improving morale and a sense of unity may also improve sales performance.
4. Improve employee and customer satisfaction
Training gives salespeople useful sales skills and the guidelines and information that can improve their interactions with customers, as a result leading to greater customer satisfaction.
This then leads to salespeople enjoying their jobs more and experiencing greater fulfillment at the office.
5. Improve team communication skills
Sales teams and managers can develop and learn from great sales training and improve everyone’s ability to think on their feet and improve decision-making skills.
6. Inspire creativity
A great sales trainer will not only help your colleagues to express and develop their ideas, they will also give them the confidence to think outside the box and take risks which can result in greater creativity.
What type of training is required for a sales manager?
There are many sales training techniques to choose from.
Some are better suited to onboarding new hires or educating frontline reps, while others are more effective sales training methods for management.
The latter tend to center around leadership training.
This prepares sales managers to help their team perform at their best. Here are some things to keep in mind when creating a sales manager training program:
1. Creating a supportive sales team environment
Sales managers can make their sales teams’ lives easier by using SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goals that their colleagues can track.
By learning which goals motivate their colleagues and bring the best results, managers can foster drive in a supportive setting.
2. Coaching approach
If you want to create impactful sales training, then it should focus on helping managers develop an approachable, encouraging environment of equals.
At the end of training, managers should be able to empower employees in finding useful solutions independently.
3. One-to-one Meetings
It’s important for sales managers to learn how to conduct one-to-one meetings to aid their colleagues in overcoming challenges and improving performance.
Sales management training programs should teach managers how to prepare for these meetings, emphasize the development of their sales team, and focus on collaboration and coaching.
Check out these 7 indicators a sales strategy isn’t working if you think your management team might benefit from some further training.
How to be a great manager: 10 training techniques
Being a great manager is not a skill people are just born with. It’s something you must continuously learn and improve upon.
Let’s look at 10 effective sales training methods and techniques that you can use to hone your skills and improve your and your team’s experience in and out of the office:
1. Do more field training
Field training could be the key to unlocking more productivity within your team.
It helps to increase your ROI and gives your sales teams more real-world experience.
Get your team out in the field to give them the hands-on training and experience they need to succeed.
It takes repeated action and practice for sales reps to become fluent in the process and be able to innovate in their roles.
Start by partnering a junior sales rep with a more experienced one to walk through the process. But don’t discount the talent of your newest reps.
They may have fresh insights from the field and innovative ideas to take your training to new levels.
Your team could also benefit from freshening up their skills with improv training.
The only way to prepare for a live sales call where the conversation could lead anywhere or for cold calling is some improvisational practice.
Play back some of the recordings of successful and painful calls and let your team critique them together.
Not only will your team come up with fresh new insights, but they’ll learn to collaborate and offer constructive criticism.
2. Use success stories to train and motivate
It’s not enough to talk through sales theories and simulations without examples to back them up. Sales reps need real-world success stories to get inspired.
Choose stories and case studies that show examples of what worked, what didn’t, and how the process works from start to finish (from first contact, through closing a deal, all the way to follow-up).
It also helps to discuss common themes in a successful sales experience and look for patterns and metrics.
Once you walk through the success story and the results, break down the process into actionable steps so your team can replicate and apply them to their sales.
You can also take the techniques and apply them to other areas of your training.
For example: Using a case study and practicing it in the field can give more context and build confidence in your sales team.
3. Incentivize your team
One of the big attractions of a sales job is that pay and incentives are often linked to performance.
So, why not also incentivize training for your sales team members?
Get your sales team motivated for high performance through a commission boost, flex time, or other rewards linked to their performance in training.
Sure, all learners are different, but most will be more motivated if there’s a carrot.
4. Schedule 1:1 meetings with sales reps
Training shouldn’t be done with a set-it-and-forget-it mentality.
Make ongoing check-ins and status updates part of your sales training and hold regular one-on-one meetings.
The constant communication opens the door to exploring where your sales team is still struggling so you can address any weaknesses that may require additional training.
See what’s working and what’s not, and develop a more meaningful and productive relationship with your team.
It also requires more than regularly-scheduled blocks of time to hold successful one-on-one meetings.
Jot down some discussion points to make the most of the conversation, and ask questions about your reps’ sales process.
You might even try role-playing some sales situations.
There is no right or wrong way to run a one-on-one meeting, but some are more successful than others. And more importantly, you want each meeting to yield insights and action.
5. Integrate your team with other departments
Look for breakdowns in communication in your company, and see how you can create a more streamlined experience.
Creating silos may alleviate some of the operational stresses, but can isolate your sales team.
Consider integrating your sales team with other departments to help train in areas like customer service, and get more insights into product development.
However, make sure all departments are on the same page about what their core purpose is.
For most companies, customer satisfaction reigns, whether you’re in sales or customer service.
The more your sales team understands the business from top to bottom, the more fluent they become during the sales process.
6. Train with thought leaders
Take a look at the other people in your office and your industry who are natural leaders and speakers.
Product and sales training workshops and simulations are just the first step in getting your team up and running.
Consider bringing in thought leaders in your industry to share deeper insights and their own experience. When your team learns from the best, they emulate those techniques.
Dedicate an hour or two a month to training time with an expert in the field.
Invite someone successful in social selling, or a pro at closing complicated deals, to talk through their techniques and what’s worked for them.
7. Offer daily microtraining
Longer isn’t always better when it comes to learning.
Creating bite-sized training can align with our brain’s natural ability and allow us to retain more information.
Apply the concept of micro-learning and training to your business to turn it into an ongoing process instead of an event.
Offer your sales team micro training through videos, e-learning webinars, and sales calls to refresh them on the sales process.
You can also create a learning library for your sales team to reference as they work through some of the material at their own pace.
8. Focus on a specialty
No one skill always closes the sale. In reality, sales reps lean towards specific skills and turn them into strengths.
Instead of trying to build a uniform sales team, draw out their strengths and encourage them to specialize.
Pair your reps with other reps who thrive in different areas to foster a culture of continued support and cross-training.
But encouraging specialization and promoting those talents are just the first steps.
Your team also needs the training to develop those skills further and ensure their weaker areas are still being addressed.
9. Assign a mentor
Assigning a mentor can make a big impact on your sales team and improve retention rates. What’s more, nine out of 10 workers with a career mentor say they’re happy in their job.
There’s no need to assign all of your junior staff looking for a mentor to their baby boomer counterparts.
Today’s mentors come from different generations and can be allocated to mentees based on capability and talents.
A mentorship can also apply to a particular area, like mastering social media messaging, and not necessarily to a mentee’s entire career.
Your seasoned sales team can offer their younger counterparts wisdom and experience, but don’t dismiss what your new talent has to offer.
Millennials can bring their fluency in social media and crowdfunding to your team to give insights on trends in the marketplace.
However, a great mentor on paper may need to refine their coaching and teaching capabilities before helping guide someone else.
Ensure the mentors in your company are well-equipped with their own separate sales training process.
10. Offer more constructive criticism
Training isn’t just about going through systems and processes to establish best practices.
A sales team that can handle constructive criticism is more willing to learn and improve on an ongoing basis.
The added side benefit is helping your team develop a thicker skin while strengthening their resolve to be better salespeople.
Make ongoing feedback a consistent, reliable part of the training process that’s focused on improving your sales team’s success.
Learning is an ongoing process
In conclusion, there’s no one way to train your sales team for success. But the underlying foundation should point towards a culture of learning and training.
Ask yourself what type of post-training reinforcements you’ll give your team to continue their journey, and empower your sales team to succeed by fostering continued growth.
Make it your sales team’s real goal to learn how to absorb and apply new techniques, make changes and measure their results.
To make your sales training techniques even more effective, you also need to give your salespeople the best tools.
PandaDoc for Sales can help streamline the sales process and allow your team to concentrate on honing their skills.
Sign up for a free 14-day trial today to learn more about how PandaDoc can help support your sales training.
Originally published August 29, 2017, updated April 3, 2023