6 Powerful Sales Training Ideas to Revitalize Your Sales Team
Even the best sales teams can use a little shaking up now and then. Markets shift, best practices evolve, and at companies that maintain a leg up on their competitors, sales training adapts.
Revitalizing your sales team with powerful training can benefit any company by supercharging sales efforts to drive revenue and profits.
The Three Types of Sales Training
1. Sales Skill Training
Sales skills should serve as your sales training revamp’s foundation. Sales skill training covers sales ‘how-to’ and typically includes exercises like:
- One-on-one and small group coaching
- Effective communication and active listening exercises
- Similar applicable activities
For the best results, companies fine-tune their sales skills training to align with their specific markets, products, and overarching strategies.
Sales leaders should take a central role in sales skill training, providing constructive criticism, supportive feedback, and valuable insight from their experienced perspective.
2. Sales Methodology Training
Sales methodology training is about establishing a series of methods that consistently enhance the odds of closing sales. These methodologies can apply to a variety of shared sales experiences and activities, including:
- Overcoming objections
- Verifying leads
- Making sales calls
- Account management
- CRM techniques and strategies
The purpose of creating and working on sales methodologies is to provide a common language for approaching essential sales activities.
3. Product Training
Product training varies the most because it focuses on educating your sales force on your company’s unique products and services.
This training type is essential when onboarding new hires and prepares your entire sales team before rolling out major updates or launching new products.
Product training is important but should never dominate your training process. High-performing sales reps know to focus more on the customer and less on the product to close sales effectively.
Before progressing to product training, sales reps should master your company’s sales skills and methodology training to ensure a strong sales skill foundation.
Six Sales Training Ideas to Drive Sales Performance
If you need to revitalize your sales team to drive exceptional performance, implement these six ideas in your training program.
1. Have the team do objection-handling training exercises.
Taking an objection in stride and overcoming it with ease is a mark of a seasoned sales rep.
But this steady confidence takes practice to master. Fortunately, this practice doesn’t have to happen in the field.
Have your sales teams commit to a short brainstorming session and name every objection they have heard or can imagine. Then, roleplay as sales reps and customers while working through your list of objections. Developing shared strategies and individual confidence to overcome similar objections in the field
2. Host success (and failure) panels.
Panels offer an exciting opportunity for sales reps to analyze peers’ performance collaboratively.
Sharing success stories provides a chance for sales reps to share successful strategies with the entire team. And failures are excellent opportunities to discuss approaches, strategies, or techniques that may have altered the sale outcome.
Create a constructive and low-pressure environment for these panels. Your sales rep panelists should never feel attacked or judged for successes or failures. Instead, foster a feeling of mutual education to maintain morale during this practice.
3. Listen to and assess call recordings.
Recorded sales calls facilitate play-by-play training. This strategy works best in one-on-one situations between sales managers or team leads and individual sales reps.
Remember to highlight things your sales rep did well on the call and keep criticisms constructive. It can also help to have sales reps review their own calls and provide feedback on what they feel they did well and what they could improve.
This sales training strategy improves sales reps' confidence, sales and methodology skills, and product knowledge, creating an all-around enriching experience.
4. Do demo and presentation training.
Sometimes the best example is... an example.
Sales demos and presentation training let sales management share clear examples of what a successful sales pitch looks like and enable sales reps to practice emulating the demo before going into the field.
Presentation training is like hitting the gym for sales reps. They can build up their pitch muscles and approach clients with renewed confidence.
5. Bring in outsiders.
Sales don’t happen in a vacuum anymore, and they certainly aren’t getting easier. 61% of sales reps believe selling is harder now than it was a decade ago.
To bridge this gap, companies have begun contracting outside firms, freelancers, and consultants to train sales reps on the best sales skills and practices to increase performance and streamline operations.
Outside help also comes in the form of valuable advice and training from guest speakers or at conferences. Consider retaining an outside specialist to train your sales reps on topics like:
- Email optimization and automation
- Improving productivity with SaaS tools
- Social media outreach
- Digital prospecting techniques
6. Make Assessments Part of Your Sales Training
As the old saying goes, you must inspect what you expect. Include regular assessments in your training program to increase knowledge retention and create a more engaging training program.
There are a variety of ways to implement assessments as part of your sales training. Consider a combination of assessment methods to ensure comprehensive training retention. A few methods to try are:
- Quizzes or tests centered on key concepts
- ‘Graded’ role-playing assessment modules
- KPI alignment tests
Six Sales Training Topics to Touch On
For a comprehensive sales revitalization, be sure to touch on these training topics with your sales teams.
1. Sales Training and Enablement Platform
Sales enablement has gone digital, and so has training.
The rise of SaaS companies has led to an explosion of sales enablement and training platforms that provide user-friendly and customizable features for businesses in every industry.
2. Virtual Soft Skills
Soft skills have always been crucial to developing new sales reps.
But with increasingly digital sales, an old-fashioned handshake and a charming smile aren’t enough to win over clients through email, social media, and other modern prospecting and negotiation channels.
That’s not to say that exceptional interpersonal skills, effective communication, and outside-the-box thinking aren’t valuable anymore. On the contrary, these hallmarks of well-developed soft skills are as relevant as ever, but the methods and manner in which sales reps implement these skills have changed dramatically.
To modernize your sales training, practice internet etiquette that aligns with the soft skills your company prioritizes. It’s also beneficial to ensure sales reps are comfortable interfacing with clients and customers via various devices and tools.
A pipeline full of inbound leads is a beautiful thing, but the best training programs emphasize the importance of effective prospecting.
Sales managers should cover cold calling and email best practices and techniques to utilize modern prospecting platforms, like LinkedIn and other social media sites.
You can also loop top-performing sales reps into this training module’s design phase. Ask them about how they generate high-quality leads to identify potential methodologies for across the board.
4. Analyzing Customer Needs
Customers' needs vary. The best training programs prepare sales reps to recognize clients’ motivations and desires, tailoring their sales approach accordingly.
Active listening can be an extremely effective technique to discern customer needs and should be a pivotal part of any successful sales training program.
5. Time Management
Did you know, in a 40 hour week, the average sales rep spends less than 16 hours selling or prospecting?
Analyze your sales team's productivity and time management and develop a more reasonable and profitable workflow. If you find your sales reps' time management isn’t up to par, improve your sales enablement.
Sales enablement equips sales reps with the best tools and strategies to close sales and supports effective time management.
6. Closing a Deal
Finally, we get to the root of it all. The primary responsibility of every sales rep and team is to close deals effectively.
To revitalize your sales team’s closing ability, analyze sales funnel data and identify areas with noticeable fall through rates. After sales management locates bottle-necks in the sales cycle, they can develop strategies that specifically target these issues, dramatically reducing last-minute losses and increasing the entire team’s close rates.
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To learn more about how predictive analytics can predict sales performance, book a demo.