Whether you are a battle-scarred leader or new at your post, one of the things that you will always have to figure out is how to manage a sales team efficiently, and it mostly revolves around an effective sales team training strategy.
However, it is hard to draw up and even harder to implement. It would take a lot of patience and dedication, and there is no single formula that you can apply to all teams.
Nevertheless, there are several sales team training ideas that, if done right, can help you nurture a fragmented group of people into rockstar sales agents and make you a better manager.
Here are some of them.
Hiring the Right People
If you are still in the hiring process, make sure that you get the best talent available. Having the right workers will make things much easier for you moving forward and allow you to focus better on creating a sales team training program that works.
There are five essential qualities that you need to look out for when evaluating sales candidates.
First, they must be able to connect to customers at a meaningful level and show empathy. It will make clients feel valued and respected, giving them every reason to trust your sales team.
Next, you need someone who can focus on the task at hand. Sales is a tough job that sometimes requires long hours, and you have to be able to depend on your team to see the task through.
Another characteristic of a good sales agent is a strong sense of ownership. They must take responsibility and accept mistakes if necessary to move past obstacles more quickly. Effective sales agents are also optimistic and able to see the possibility in every adversity. But while they do not accept defeat easily, they know how to handle failure.
Finally, your sales agent must have a healthy sense of competition as sales is a zero-sum game. You are competing for the attention and loyalty of the same customers, which means that one person’s gain is another person’s loss. Once you have your team in place, you can start thinking about its structure.
Choosing the Appropriate Team Setup
Choosing the team structure is a big decision. With the right setup, your team can be more dynamic and efficient. It also provides a certain level of consistency, which is crucial if you are managing multiple teams.
There are three main models to follow: the island, the pod, and the assembly line. The island is the traditional model where all sales agents are generalists. It means that each one of them will manage the customers throughout the sales funnel, from prospecting to onboarding. This setup provides a high level of autonomy to your sales agents but will also put them under a lot of pressure to perform.
The assembly line, also known as the hunter-farmer model, involves several individuals with specialized tasks working together as a unit. Some can focus on lead generation, and others can qualify those leads. After the sales development, the closers can come in with a call, a meeting, a demo, or whatever is needed to finalize the transaction.
Once the sale is closed, another member can ensure that the customers are satisfied to maintain the relationship. The pod is somewhat of a hybrid of the two previous models. Each pod is like a laser-focused assembly line with specialized members who will be in charge of different stages of the customer journey.
Each structure comes with its own set of advantages and limitations, and your choice will ultimately depend on your unique situation. Once you have made your choice, you can set up a sales process for your team to follow.
Training a Sales Team the Right Way
Once the right people are in place, and you have decided which sales structures to implement, you can move on to sales team training activities.
Most of your new agents will come with basic sales knowledge, and you should work together to build on this foundation. It is best to start early with a comprehensive but systematic onboarding program that will set the tone early for you and your newly hired sales agents.
This approach is very effective in minimizing staff turnover and reducing the cost of losing an employee that you will spend much time and effort to train.
The best training for sales team members comes in the form of online videos and modules from today’s industry experts. Trainees can access these materials on the go, which is helpful if they are working remotely.
Note that sales techniques and strategies are constantly evolving, so you should keep this training program up to date. Also, make sure that you incorporate training for product knowledge and the sales process.
Setting Clear Goals
When setting your business goals, be as specific as possible. Having clear goals will motivate your team as it will give the members a good idea of what they are shooting for and what they have to do to get it done.
For instance, let them know what the sales target is and what number each team member has to hit to achieve the overall revenue target. Aside from being clear about your goals, try your best to find the right balance. Setting the bar too high will set your team up for failure, potentially damaging their morale. On the flip side, if the goal is too easy, it will stifle your sales team’s growth. They will also find it hard to feel motivated.
Incentivizing Your Team
Remember that sales is a marathon and not a sprint. It is easy to lose your sense of purpose along the way. So while it is important to keep track of the ultimate goal, you must learn to celebrate the small victories along the way.
Set small milestones leading up to your business goal and make sure that your team feels appreciated every time they hit one. Give them rewards in the form of cash or recognition. Doing this will make your team feel valued and keep them motivated.
There is Always Room to Grow
With these simple tips, you can put your team in the best position to succeed, but as you watch them grow into a cohesive unit, take note that there is always room for improvement. Sales team training techniques constantly evolve, so you must stay updated with the current best industry practices.