Sales training will improve the sales skill set within your sales team.
That’s a given.
But how do you make sure you really max out the value of your sales training budget before you kick-off your training??
How do you get absolute clarity between you, the sales team, the sales leadership team and the training provider in terms of results, outputs, skills and behavioural changes?
And, how do you de-risk your sales training partner selection?
Critical points to consider if you’re just about to commit to a sales training course that will:
- Take your team away from selling.
- Use your precious budget and
- Lead to higher sales expectations all round.
Over the last 25 years we’ve run enough sales training courses to really understand what works and what doesn’t.
We can often see what organisations will benefit the most from the traing, versus those we have to walk away from because they won’t see value.
And, we know what the pre-work needs to be to not just ensure success post sales training, but maximise it.
We call it our Best Practice Model and I want to share it with you today so you can see just how you can get the best sales training and business development solution for your organisation.
What is Sales Training Best Practice?
This falls into two sections: both focused on making sure you know exactly what you want, and what you’ll get from your sales training partner before you commit to spend your budget.
Section One : Sales Training Best Practice: Basic Requirements
Any sales training should fulfil the following:
- Be owned by the whole team, from manager to seller, from coach to analyst, seller to training provider
- Have a committed coaching plan to maximise the longevity of the sales training during and post delivery
- Cover skill sets, expectations, buyer psychology, sales mindset and sales success habits
- Be up to date, logical and relevant
- Deliver energy and aspiration to all involved
- Work as a change management project to measure, monitor and celebrate at every opportunity
Section Two : Sales Training Best Practice: Basic Sales Improvement Requirements
Your sales training should have:
- Inbuilt measurement and sales improvement metrics set in the program that are agreed by the sales function and the sales trainer
- Sales improvement metrics around activity, inputs, outputs, conversion rate
- Those metrics should also be financial – maybe average spend, average order value, revenue, life-time value
- They might also be scale-able, starting small and increasing over the following months
Get Agreement with Your Sales Function
In terms of Sales Training Best Practice standards it’s critical that you and your sales team have parity on thinking around what expect to get as a result of your time and budget investment in sales training.
So engaging the sales leadership team, team leaders, sellers, coaches, CRM people, data analysts in actually deciding what you’re going to be tracking going into, and coming out of the training is definitely time well spent.
The questions you’ll ask your training provider short list are further down this post, but before you get to that, lets cover the questions you’ll want to ask the sales function…so everyone knows what’s at stake, what’s expected, and how they can benefit from training that work, hits the bottom line, and makes the investment worth the effort…
My Five Favourite Questions Are:
Ask the sellers –
- What sales training do you think you need….and if you had that sales training, what difference do you think it would make to your results? This is a great question for forcing genuine reflection and consideration…even better if you make the sales team aware that this is the start of target review and positive performance management / accountability based sales coaching
- Ask the sales leaders and sales team leaders, coaches the same question based on their observations for each individual….Ask – based on what you have seen in each of the sellers – what skills do they need to improve or master, and if they did this, what impact would it have on their sales skills? Now you need to get both parties talking so they get parity of thought and expectation…this is a great way to stimulate some great performance based conversation
- Now, move on to…What would good look like for you in terms of this sales training – a. during the sessions? b, One week after? C. one month after? d. three months after e. 6 moths after?
- What should be the reward for you hitting these agreed uplifts?
- What should be the consequence of not hitting the agreed uplift?
As an aside – questions 4 and 5 really do showcase their powers of persuasion and negotiation!
The value is in the discussion!
As in any exchange of this nature – the answers often have a lesser value than simply having the discussion. It changes and focuses the mind in such a way as the training has traction even before it starts. Engagement levels are higher, commitment to adopt and adapt is higher, and fundamentally the training sessions are a higher level of commitment and potency…making it easier for the sales training to get embeeded faster.
How Do You Ensure Your Sales Team Get Sales Training that Works?
Now, after covering all of the above, you might well have a really clear idea of what it is you want your sales team to do that they can’t do now – great.
If not, then at least you have a starting point…and maybe you need to keep talking until you get a higher level of clarity. Also, at this point (if you chose to partner with Morton Kyle, then we’ll be taking a dive into your sales results before you start working with Morton Kyle – so check out the free sales training needs analysis
Using what you pick up from the exercise above, you can use the following to plan to plot your journey with your training provider.
That way, you ensure you get the best sales results for all.
Critical Success Factor Questions You Need To Have Answers To Before You Book Your Next Sales Training Course
1. How will the sales training course be constructed and delivered?
You might be looking for a generic course, but not all generic courses are created equal.
Generic maybe great value but not what you need…how about a slightly tailored generic course? Or maybe 70% of the generic course is covering stuff your team are already fab at? In that case maybe you need a paired down modular course that just addresses the weaker areas in the sales team?
Or maybe you need a full on tailored course that upgrades all the skill sets – BUT, either way, know this…
Few course need to be fully written from scratch – the contents are usually the same, unchanged.
What does change though is the CONTEXT.
Keep this in mind when you consider the price difference between bespoke and generic sales training courses!
Of course, with bespoke training you get to dictate exactly what you want.
So whether you are looking for something that’s a bit more off the shelf, either bespoke or slightly amended generic course then it’s worth asking:
- What sales methodologies and sales models are being used?
- Are those methodologies being used as the only method or is it a hybrid sales model?
- What those sales methodologies?
- Is the course delivered by sales practitioners, subject matter experts or multi-trainers (who deliver sales one day and SEO skills the next and excel the next)?
- Is the sales trainer a sales person too (or have they just read the book/got the notes and slides the day before you did)?
Why are these questions important for you and your sales trainer so you can both adopt sales training best practice?
Empathy, experience, confidence, credibility and connection.
Your sales team deserve to be in a room with someone who does what they do every single day! Not a sales cut out delivering a course by rote.
Attendees at sales training are cutting into their very precious selling time. The cost of them not being out selling is high.
Just don’t make it even higher by having a sales trainer that doesn’t engage in selling every single day, who doesn’t understand what’s required to sell at a higher level, smash targets or fight when the chips are down!
Asking about the sales model is interesting because….
Sales and business development has changed such a lot recently….currently the rate of change is off the charts
It will not slow down or stop.
Old training models don’t always work with new buyers.
Also, not all sales models fit every industry.
So, it’s critical to ask about the sales model/s and why the trainer has selected to use those models for your sales team. This is always a good conversation so you can understand the depth of experience and commitment of the trainer to your success
Personally – I’m not a fan of any one specific sales model or sales method and here’s why.
You sales team are all different.
Your buyers are all different.
Different people behave in different ways, and not consistently different ways, just different ways.
Maybe just because it’s a Tuesday or because they skipped breakfast or they got cut up in traffic on their way to work.
Either way – it matters.
It matters because you will be selling in a unpredictable world (the last few years have taught us that much)
In such an unpredictable world, it’s important that your sales team have mental flexibility to respond to your buyers however they find them.
Your sales team need the mental agility to flip sales methods, combine sales methods and in some situations ditch all the sales methods and simply listen!
Sales methods typically are like cake recipes – add this and then add that.
But what happens when your buyer wants to mix the ingredients up a bit?
When he wants to ask questions out of sync?
If he wants to talk about price first off?
When he doesn’t want to see the demo but wants you to look at his existing system and do a compare and contrast against your solution.
Or wants to talk about your fix versus the competitors?
You want to bet that scrambles even the best of sales methodologies?
It can scramble the best of your sales team too.
Especially if they’ve been taught a strict and by-rote process.
And here’s another clue –
Can you tell when you’re being sold to by a sales guy who’s been trained on one single sales method?
I bet you can!
He’ll sound slightly scripted…and that’s maybe understandable, a little
You sense he’s got a list of questions he has to ask you, just questions to get through….not so great.
But the real tell-tale sign you’ve got a sales robot who knows one method is that he won’t listen.
And that’s not ok.
That’s just bad.
You see singular sales methods are great – until they’re not!
Get a hybrid sales method that brings in the very best sales understanding and insight to your team.
Over and above anything else – you want the sales team to have to THINK through every single minute of the sales pitches they do…not sleep walk!
2. What Training Needs Analysis does your sales training provider do pre-course construction?
- Do they interview the sales team?
- Maybe watch them in action / review their sales calls?
- And engage with the sales team leaders and sales managers?
- Deep dive into how the sales team are managed, measured and monitored?
- Review the sales pipeline, as a team / per individual?
- Explore the last 6 months of sales results, discuss the likely up lift in sales results will be post training, and by when?
- How will they work to really understand your business, your sales challenges, your selling space, competitors and market conditions?
- Are they able to realistically challenge your beliefs about what you want from the sales training from an independently informed position?
- How much of the course is non-specific to your business?
(Did you know that Morton Kyle include a free sales training needs analysis in all their sales training courses?)
Why are these questions important for you and your sales trainer?
You need a benchmark before you start.
Then you need to understand the Gap Analysis to understand the critical bones of the sales course.
You need also to agree the landing point post training…just so you get what you want and there are no surprises.
This section is a critical conversation point…for you and your trainer.
Secondly, your sales team need to see the sales trainer knows their business.
That the trainer is speaking with understanding and delivering skills, insights and wisdom that will change the sales team outcomes for the best.
Thirdly, you can remove heaps of ‘padding’ in lots of sales courses. Do this by simply training to the specific skills, habits, behaviours and activities that boost sales results.
No-one needs another course section on ‘listening skills’ do they?
3. How will the training provider ensure the new skills and knowledge is effectively embedded in the sales function and the business?
- How will the trainer embed the sales training in the team?
- As much as 90% of training skills and new information doesn’t make it out of the training session to the workplace, so…how is your training course/sales trainer going to prevent this?
- What will the knowledge transfer process be?
- How will the knowledge transfer process work?
- Will skills matrix and coaching templates be used as part on ongoing development?
- What is the diagnostic behind the skills matrix?
- What does the training follow up assessment look like?
- How will they measure behavioural changes in the team?
- Who will be responsible for the success of the sales training?
- Who is the internal champion?
Why are these questions important for you and your sales trainer?
By failing to observe sales training best practice, fortunes, kingdom’s worth of cash is wasted every week on sales training that doesn’t stick.
You might think it’s expensive to have a training course with a solid follow up, coaching, review plan in place.
Whatever the cost, it will be nothing compared to the wasted cash and opportunity you’ll experience if you run a good training course with no follow on plan.
You’d be better donating your training budget to a night on the town for the team or Pizza Fridays for a month!
4. How will the sales training provider get to know your industry?
- What competitor research with they do?
- What will that consist of?
- How will they use that to inform/improve the training?
Why are these questions important for you and your sales trainer?
You might not care about this – I do.
Everyone has the one (or maybe 2 competitors) who you absolutely hate going up against.
Those competitors are the guys we take into the sales training room.
Let’s build sales pitches so strong, so compelling so laden with value that these competitors don’t stand a chance.
Let’s give your sales team so much ammo, skill, confidence and passion that they relish meeting these competitors so they KNOW without a question we can take them down.
Competitors exist – for sure – but we should make it as tough as we can. We should make the battle bloody. We should design the training so that competitors don’t set the rules of the game anymore!
The questions you ask your training provider will make sure the sales training course gives your sales competitors a good run for the money.
Every competitor has a weak point.
We need the sales team to exploit that post sales training.
It’s probably one of the easiest wins for you and your sales trainer to focus on – and sales training best practice should be that your sales trainer is definitely looking for the easy wins to help your sales team succeed!
Making sure your sales team feel, act and execute like the biggest player in your market space.
Flipping the switch on competitors.
Pre-empting and welcoming sales resistance from buyers.
Having water tights references, case studies, testimonials, ROI outlines and enough compelling reasons to encourage the prospect to buy.
Powerful beyond measure.
Powerful so your sales team feel that selling is a joyous celebration.
Selling becomes simply spreading the word, solving problems and delivering oooooodles and oooooodles of value.
5. How will your trainer help you define and refine your Value Added Sales Proposition?
This is critical because it’s probably the NUMBER ONE FAILING of lots of sales teams – in fact, I’d say, if you can fix this alone, you might not actually need to invest in any sales training at all!
Here’s what I see time and time again. Let’s imagine it’s a company that’s selling drill bits – they sales team think they’re selling drill bits! But what they are actually selling is holes.
The person selling eye glasses things they sell eye glasses – nope, they’re welling face furniture that stops the buyer getting run over, scalded or lost on their way to work, unable to watch a film or read a book! That eye glass person is selling a cure for blindness!
The toothpaste sales person – not selling tooth paste at all! Is selling minty kisses, sparkling gnashers and maybe a dating and friendship aid!
Ok. I get it…very silly examples but the difference between what a sales person actually sells versus what they think the sell is a very big, expensive money pit if they get it wrong.
Why are these questions important for you and your sales trainer?
Because they make sure a difference – plus….
In today’s sales world proving ROI in terms on money is not enough, you have to bring something else to the pitch and embed that value at the very heart of what the prospect is seeking to achieve, and that is just a very small part of changing how your sales team thing, feel and emote about your products and services.
Positioning is everything (nearly)!
Sales Training Best Practice | Summary
All the above are valid questions.
Especially if you’re expecting your training to stick.
And you want your training to deliver long term sales improvement.
If you want to change behaviours and results forever.
And you want your sales team exit the training feeling enthused, inspired, motivated, confident…and up for the challenge.
Primed to knock competitors out of the park, wow prospects and rightfully claim their place as kinds and queens of their own destiny!
Make sure the training course works, that it energises the sales team so they know they are unstoppable.
Because here’s the truth…
Selling is getting harder.
Today, HOW you sell is as important as WHAT you sell.
In highly competitive and discount driven markets this is even more so.
So, whether you’re selling a heavily commoditised product/service or a niche product/service, the facts are clear.
Great sales training is the difference between being seen in a crowded market place or being ignored.
Seen by your prospects for the right reasons as opposed to being lost in a sea of competitors who are all discounting their way to the bottom.
At Morton Kyle…Sales Training Best Practice is Standard
We deliver extensive sales training programs, covering cold calling, new business generation, account management, strategic selling, both in a full cycle sales team and in a role-function specific style.
You can use our sales and business development courses in the full confidence that they have been successfully used to grow, challenge and empower B2B sales teams in the following sectors.
Typical sectors being: SaaS, Manufacturing, IT, Professional Services, Legal, Insurance, Call Centres/Contact Centres, Engineering in both domestic and international settings.
If you’re looking for results driven sales training, call us.
Let’s talk about how you can create clear competitive advantages in your sales team.
You can get me on 0779 002 1885 – call or text to start the conversation today!
For more insights into how we work check out the Morton Kyle Sales Training Charter here
Whatever your sales training and sales improvement challenges are, we can help you get the sales results you need. Our sales training best practice will ensure you get the results changing sales training and sales improvement interventions that will work for you!
Hi, thanks for visiting….if you’re looking to increase or optimise your sales results, then please book a call to discuss how I can help you (use the links at the end of this box for direct message options) If you need a few more details, then here you go…. I’m an experienced data-driven, analytical sales trainer and sales improvement specialist. Proud to design sales training and sales improvement solutions that stick! Happy to share some insights if you want a quick steer – just book a call, especially if you’re not seeing the sales results you’d like, you’re struggling to know what to do next, or you’d really like to give your competitors something to worry about!
What’s you sales challenge?