Productivity was poor on the sales calls and we were asked for advice on how to get the team up and running.
Here are our thoughts:
I seem to recall a statistic that stated that 73% of companies believe their most valuable learning approaches are informal, yet only 30% of resources are focused there. How accurate that is I am not sure but I would certainly agree that informal on-the-job sales training can sometimes suffer from a lack of focus and structure.
Here is our advice on how to develop on-the-job training that will lead to the most likelihood for success:
- Focus on product/service knowledge first to make sure the new team know what they are talking about and can answer questions comprehensively. Nothing undermines credibility more than waffling or not answering a questions directly because you aren’t sure of the answer. Also ensure that the benefits of the product/service are clear to the new salesperson. It is natural to focus on features but remember no-one buys a drill because they want a drill … they buy it because they want a hole!
- Products/service knowledge can be embedded through some shadowing with experienced sales people, and some observation of sales calls. This also helps the new hires to get a sense of how to handle themselves with the customers
- If possible, get them into a smaller part of the sales process quickly, for instance prospecting, so that when they move into the whole process it is less daunting. Gradually build up their involvement as they develop their sales skills and understand the process
- If possible start on the easy sells. Early quick sales will build confidence and also give new hires the chance to find their feet in building relationships with the customer
- Assign someone more experienced to take them under their wing and show them the ropes. The first 90 days are crucial for someone new to sales, and unless you can help them to feel comfortable and supported they may well become discouraged and leave. The company has invested time and money into them so this is the last thing you want to happen. Ask the more experienced salesperson to keep an open dialogue with them so that they have someone to come to with questions or concerns.
- Share success stories across the team as these are a great way for new hires to learn on the job, and they also motivate the existing team. This can be done in weekly meetings, or in just sending out a weekly email to highlight successes and share sales tips
- Do a weekly check-in for the induction period. This shows the new salesperson that you care about them and you want them to succeed. It can be as simple as a quick phone call to see how they are getting on and whether there is anything you can do to help. But it is a powerful message that their success is important to you.
- If you haven’t already, start to document every part of your sales process. For new hires retaining the amount of information needed to do the job is impossible. If you can carefully documenting every part of your sales process such as scripts, frequently asked questions, CRM processes, etc, then they can easily look up the basic information they need (and that they may have forgotten) and it will save you having to answer the same questions over and over again. It also means they don’t feel they are constantly asking about everything and can just seek advice for the more detailed queries
- Encourage your experienced sales team to contribute to the documentation too as they learn new tips and tricks on how to sell your product, to ensure new information is shared with everyone.
- Celebrate big successes with the whole team to create a sense of a unified team and to motivate all members.
And it should lead to increased sales too!
Do you have anything to add from your experience? If so, please let us know by commenting below.
Few people like being sold to …. but everyone is open to influence. This statement means a lot to us as we not only believe it is entirely true but we also feel everyone can relate to it. And it illustrates how key influence is to everything about sales and how it underpins everything that we do around selling. If we can become more influential then the sales will follow.
If you, like us, are always ready to pick up new ideas that will allow you to be even more influential, then you may be interested to know that we are taking part in one of the top sales events this year. The event is the Sales Innovation Expo 2014 and it is being held on 15/16th May at ExCeL, London, and its completely FREE.
It is shaping up to be a really fantastic event with some of the industry’s best known names, thought leaders and industry experts. Guests already confirmed are Clive Rich (the £10 billion negotiator), Doug Richard (ex-dragon and serial entrepreneur) and social media mogul LinkedIn. This is going to be a great opportunity to be inspired by the best in the business, to meet some of the leading experts and to get free expert advice on some of the hot topics that are impacting the sales industry right now.
There are around 60 free seminars over the two days delivered by industry leaders, as well as hands-on workshops. You can network with over 3,000 other delegates and even gain access to the UK’s largest business event – The Business Show running at the same time in the hall next door.
We are delighted to be giving two keynotes on “The C3 Model of Influencing – the secrets of successful salespeople” and “How to guarantee the positive impact of investing in sales training”. We will also be on our Brilliant Selling stand 1112. There is so much going on at the show and it’s a great opportunity to increase your knowledge, improve your skills and get to see and meet innovators that will help to stretch your thinking.
You can find out more and book your free tickets by clicking the link below:
Register for free
We are very excited to have been profiled in the Financial Times. The article takes a look at our views on business training and why its important to not just look at developing a skill but think about the underlying need.
We give the example of sales training often being focussed around pitching or presentation skills, when in fact the issue could be that the sales team are presenting to the wrong people and perhaps don’t have the confidence to aim higher in the organisation.
If you would like to find out more you can read the full article here. Click here to read the full article (PDF).