A sales training program is crucially important to the success of your sales team. Every individual needs the right introduction into the sales environment. No matter how naturally talented a person is, he or she requires the polishing that comes from good instruction.
When it comes time to choose a sales training program for your team, be very careful and thorough with the process. This program is going to mold your team as well as provide them with continuing refreshers over the course of their careers. A mistake at this stage could prove highly detrimental to the success of your enterprise.
It is best to take a systematic approach. With a plan in hand for how you are going to approach the process, you will be able to find and even tailor the sales training program that is right for your industry and for your team’s needs. Here are some important factors to consider when choosing your program.
Before you start looking at sales training programs, you need to understand your own sales team. Some programs maybe great programs but they aren’t for every team in every environment. Look at yourself and evaluate where you are and where you want to be so you can be in the best position to evaluate the training programs you will choose from.
- What are your team’s needs? Not every product is the same. Some approaches need to be different. Not every clientele is the same. What are the needs of your team? This is the core concept in determining which sales training program will work for you.
- What areas do you want to focus on? Is there a specific weakness in your team? Do you feel you could spend a little less time going over things they already have mastered? A sales training program can cover a wide variety of topics. You need to decide the best way to apportion this time.
- How long should the training be? More training can always help, but there comes a saturation point when it loses its benefit and the trainees start to get bored with it. What is the appropriate amount of time to spend on training?
- What about continuing education? As time goes by, we forget more and more of the specifics of what we learned. It is always a good idea to give refresher courses, even to experienced veterans. What sort of continuing education goals do you have for your team?
Finding the Right Program
Once you know what your goal is for your sales team and know what you want out of a training program, you are ready to see what’s available. Some of the metrics, such as course length and follow up, are easy to gauge. There are, however, other considerations to make during the selection process. There are several considerations when determining how effective a sales training program will be for your specific sales team.
- Consider location. Sales training can consist of in-person training as well as e-learning. Most will make use of both. Do you prefer more of one than the other?
- What is their selling philosophy? No amount of tinkering with the program will solve the problem of differing philosophies when it comes to sales training. If your core philosophy is at odds with that of the training program, it’s not going to be a good fit.
- Look at the sales management section. Your sales management needs to reinforce the principles taught in the training program for salesmen and women. The training program should have a component for sales management as well.
- Do you need an assessment? If you already have an assessment process you trust, this probably won’t be necessary. However, you may want to investigate whether the training program provides assessments as well.
- Does the program have all the desired formats? Some people learn better by reading; others by watching a video. Make sure the training comes in a variety of formats to reach every representative on your team.
- What is the ratio of showing to doing? Some training programs are mostly show with only a little do. Most people learn better by doing, so be sure to check the ratio in any potential training program.
- Can they tailor course content? No sales training program is worth it if they can’t modify their content according to your needs.
When you find a program that you believe will serve your needs, you will need to ask a few more questions. There are some other aspects you should ask about to be sure you are getting the best version of the program that you can. You can further verify effectiveness or the appropriateness of the fit, or even improve the offer on the table. Here are some suggestions for what you should look at.
- Get a sample of the curriculum. This is the best way to evaluate the quality of the program you are considering. Many programs can be discarded with this step.
- Ask about return on investment. How does the sales training program measure results? Is this in accordance with your philosophy and goals?
- Look at the client list. Different sales industries require different approaches. Look at the client list of a prospective program to see if they have experience working with sales teams in your specific field.
- Ask for a money-back guarantee. If a sales training team makes claims about the quality of their product, they should back it up with a guarantee of some sort. If they don’t offer it, see if you can bargain for one. You will be investing a lot of time and money into a program and you need to make sure you see results.
When you know how to approach the process, you can confidently find the best program for your company. Though many sales programs seem to be made from the same cast, there are some that stand out. With these tools, you will be able to separate the imitators from the truly high-quality programs and make sure your team has all they need to be the most successful sales representatives possible.