A well-trained, cohesive sales team is the backbone of most B2B and B2C companies. Without the right kind of training, your sales team won’t show the kind of results they’re capable of and your business growth will suffer.

Thoughtful, structured sales training programs are the best way to improve sales results. But how much training is enough? What kind of training is really needed? How frequently should sales managers schedule training events?

While seminars and conferences are still staple training tools, many companies are rethinking their sales training efforts to focus on more personalized, easier-to-manage approaches. We’ve compiled 5 effective training methods for sales teams that are low effort and high impact:

1. Take advantage of e-learning and online seminars

The 3-day sales seminar will probably never go the way of the dinosaur. It gives teams a chance to be under one roof together and, in addition to the training, can provide valuable team building opportunities.

However, seminars and conferences aren’t practical for most day-to-day training needs. Sending your entire sales team away at once means that your sales process stops during this time. Plus, very few conferences are varied enough to meet the learning needs of every attendee.

Instead, more companies are discovering the value of online training—convenient access and customized content at the trainee’s own pace. To make online learning most effective, sales team leaders should take the time to sit with each team member to create a personalized training schedule based on their needs and knowledge gaps. In addition, online learning can save your company thousands in travel costs each year while providing top-level training.

5 Best Online Training Courses for Sales Teams

If you’re unsure of where to start, explore some of the top-rated online training courses for sales teams. Here are 5 options that consistently get high marks from online learners and experts in the field:

To take this strategy up a notch, plan one day a month where each team member presents the most valuable knowledge they’ve gained in their recent training.

2. Slow and steady—no crash courses

Keep in mind how the best students learned in school or how the best musicians and athletes train. Systematic, regular study followed by practice to reinforce the learning.

There’s good reason why this model is successful across many fields. Research shows that without a regular approach to learning and reinforcement, people forget approximately 70% of what they learn within 24 hours.

Again, while there’s a place for the intensive, 3-day sales seminar, it shouldn’t be the backbone of your training program (or the only training you offer all year!) Instead, focus on regular training that gets reinforced on the field. Your team will profit much more from 30 minutes of regular training every week than from one all-day session.

3. Use mentorship and other collaborative models

Take a cue from the restaurant industry, where it’s common for more senior servers to train new hires on the job for a few nights.

Using a mentor/mentee model for training your sales staff has several benefits over traditional training methods. First, it takes some of the burden off of your senior leadership to provide all sales training. More importantly, it helps your business scale more quickly by training both participants at the same time: your newest salespeople get to learn from their colleagues, while your most tenured salespeople get training in management and leadership.

Other collaborative models may include peer-led meetings or learning circles and pairing sales reps in the field.

4. There’s no substitute for field training

Don’t get too bogged down in the abstract. Your business has a unique sales process, professional sales tools, and specific products or services, so any training you offer your team should have a grounded, practical side as well.

You’ll often experience the best ROI by offering regular training on the systems and processes you already have in place. If your team understands and enjoys using the tools they have, they’ll become more efficient and productive. Plus, when your team members see an immediate improvement in their daily work life, they’ll be more motivated to continue training.

5. Keep an eye on your data

Perhaps more than any other department, your sales department is results-driven. Looking at the data should go hand-in-hand with developing your sales team. If you aren’t already, be sure to bring the numbers into the discussion regularly.

Continually monitor progress and use data to track everything from open rates on various email templates to the close rate on phone scripts—then adjust as necessary.

Subjective feedback about your training program is valuable; it’s important to know that team members are enjoying the training and feel like they are growing professionally. However, you should always look at the results, too. Your sales team may love their training sessions on the importance of vocal quality during cold calls, but if their close rate isn’t increasing as a result the sessions could still be a waste of time.

Subjective feedback about your training program is valuable; it’s important to know that team members are enjoying the training and feel like they are growing professionally. However, you should always look at the results, too. Your sales team may love their training sessions on the importance of vocal quality during cold calls, but if their close rate isn’t increasing as a result the sessions could still be a waste of time.

By keeping these strategies in mind, you can develop a deep bench of sales expertise at your company and create a cohesive team in the process.

September 13, 2019

Clear Touch Team

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