Sales Training

Sales Training

Many businesses make the mistake of using marketing and sales interchangeably. Hiring managers often make the assumption that if someone has a degree in marketing or worked in a marketing department that one must have sales experience, and therefore, sales training. Sales is only a piece of the marketing pie.

The principles of marketing, sometimes referred to as the four P's, are price, product, place and promotion. Someone with marketing experience could have been involved with product development; logistical aspects of where the product will be brought to market; cost to make the product and profitability expectations; and finally, promotion, whether television ads, telemarketing, internet advertising, sales personnel, etc. will be involved. Many marketing departments use some combination of all promotional methods.

If a salesperson is involved, than past positions as 'salesperson' would mean sales experience. Most likely, formal training programs had been attended while employed elsewhere. Historically, how high performance levels were set and attained, and what amount and type of sales training individuals acquired must be assessed when choosing the best methods of sales training for a team. Members may be channel sales people, territory sales personnel, major account managers or inside telemarketing staff, but all should be exposed to the same training. Each individual makes up the team and needs to be on the same page.

Therefore, when choosing a sales training program, a sales director must assess the skill-sets that the team has on average based on maturity of best practice competencies; how often skills were reinforced, managed and integrated; whether delivery methods were skills or process oriented; and how training was administered. The last point in the assessment process is especially important because until recently, sales training for the most part was event-based.

Event-based training is usually a one size fits all approach, scheduled for a specific period of time, and with little follow-up, if any at all. Basically, reinforcement, repetition, on-going learning or access to self help materials ends shortly after the 'event.' According to annual research studies done by Sales Performance international, less than 15 percent of companies bring their teams up to that mature level of best practices using event-based training. This is not a good return on investment.

A more holistic approach is now being used more often as technology has made it easier to access on-going learning and reinforcement. A salesperson has access to tools on demand via software downloads, recorded videos or webinars when he or she feels the need to brush up on a skill-set. Live forums and chat sessions allow for team members to interact at any time to ask for sales advice, specific product information or company information. More importantly, with the world being so mobile and virtually connected, the online or e-learning method allows team members to get together for company-specific training sessions or role-playing to maintain the team personality, spirit, and objectives.

Sales directors can schedule quick online quizzes at weekly sales meetings to keep training an ongoing process. Managers can use software integrated with a salesperson's computer-based dashboard reports and pipeline information to track performance. Assessments can be done instantly so that additional training can be accessed to help turn a certain set of skills up a notch without losing momentum. Most sales departments are already using automated customer relationship management (CRM). Software can be integrated into CRM systems to give salespeople refreshers or resource look-ups at every step of the sales process.

Though on the decline, most organizations still use some form of instructor-led classroom training. This allows for a fuller experience providing instructor and class interaction, collaborative exercises with team members and role playing. But, with the addition of online training, CRM integrated training, e-learning resources and so much more, the sales training process can be continuous and dynamic making the team reach objectives and goals with mature competency.

Sales directors looking for training facilities will find an extensive selection of fully furnished and serviced office centers, temporary office space, and other flexible business accommodation here.

'With the addition of online training, CRM integrated training, e-learning resources and so much more, the sales training process can be continuous and dynamic making the team reach objectives and goals with mature competency.'