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What is Sales Training and Why is it Important?

What is Sales Training and Why is it Important?

When your sales team receive an email inviting them to attend a sales training course, you can bet that they are going to sigh, roll their eyes, and try to do everything they can to get out of it. Why? Because your sales team want to spend their time doing their job – making sales and forming relationships with your prospects.

Unfortunately, some sales representatives have the view that sales training is a complete and utter waste of time, and that their time would be better spent on actually doing their jobs, rather than being told how to. Many sales representatives will try and get out of training by saying that they have done it all before and that they have nothing else to learn.

This is far from the case. Several studies have shown that even after the best, most intensive, and most thorough training course, even stellar employees will begin to forget what they have learned and the skills and competencies they took away from the training course will begin to fade. That’s a fact. Although your sales team may try to resist undergoing initial or further sales training, it is extremely important that you make them do it. They may not seem happy to be doing it at first, but it is very likely that their attitudes will change once they take the course and realize that they are actually learning new and useful information that can be applied to their work.

Here’s what sales training is all about and why it is so important to your company in the long-term.

What is Sales Training?

Sales training comes in many different forms of substance and delivery. Although we are going to discuss sales training in general, you can find a whole range of sales training initiatives on, a leading provider of professionally-certified training courses. It may be worthwhile looking at a few examples of courses on the list they’ve provided so you can see exactly what they entail.

Why do you want to train your sales force? Perhaps you keep losing prospects or they are not following through on their interests in your product. Perhaps your sales team are struggling to build up strong relationships with your current and potential customers. Maybe your sales team’s prospecting is proving to be ineffective, or you are finding that an increasing number of sales staff are failing to close even the simplest of deals. Maybe your sales team are doing fine but you just want to touch up on a few areas. Whatever your reason for providing further sales training, there are courses made to fit your specific requirements.

The specifics of a sales training course will depend highly on what your objectives are. Generally speaking, sales training involves both theory-based and interactive learning, which exposes your sales team to fictional scenarios and shows them how to respond. A large part of sales training focuses on interactive learning and roleplay, with one person playing the role of a client and another person playing the role of a sales professional. By seeing interactive scenarios first-hand, your sales team can develop and improve core sales competencies, as they find out how to react to common sales scenarios. Other typical components of a sales training course involve theory-based learning where your sales team will read about the latest sales trends and learn how to adopt them so that they are able to deliver better pitches to your prospective clients or customers.

So far as professional development goes, sales training is by far one of the most interactive and entertaining types available and your sales team should be looking forward to a day or two away from their typical duties.

How You Can Help Deliver Effective Sales Training

Although initial sales training should be delivered by an external provider, there are plenty of ways you can help your sales team prepare for it in order to ensure maximum benefit.

You should choose sales training that aligns with your goals. What’s the point of embarking upon a sales course which, while providing value, will do little to help your sales team achieve the goals of your company? What is your company’s long-term strategy and desire for growth, and how can sales training help support this? Only you can answer this question, and in doing so you will be able to decide on a course that will deliver maximum value and benefits for your sales staff.

It is also important that your team understand the company. If any department within your company needs to understand it and what you are selling inside-out, it is the sales team. The people who form part of this team should, while at work, live and breathe your company. They need to know the ins and outs of it, its history, what you are selling and the value that it can provide to prospective customers and clients. If your sales team are unable to efficiently and concisely explain to a prospective buyer how your product or service can benefit them, how are they going to be able to sell your product? Before you embark on any sales training with your team, make sure their knowledge of your company and products is comprehensive.

Sure, your sales team aren’t going to be overly-enthusiastic about embarking upon training, but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try and get everybody in the right mindset for it.

What Benefits Does Sales Training Deliver?

In short, lots of them. Most importantly, good and continued sales training can help teach your employees how to build better relationships with your customers. More and more consumers are demanding an increased level of services from all the brands and companies with whom they communicate and transact, and that includes yours. Your sales team, especially if you are selling modern technological solutions, are often the first point of contact for any customer, so it is important that the employees within this team are able to instantly make a good impression, build a positive relationship, and turn people into prospects.

Not only this, but sales training teaches your employees to reflect on their past experiences and learn from the negatives in order to boost prospects. Your employees aren’t always going to be able to close their sales and having employees who can appreciate and learn from that is much better than having an employee who simply writes off a failed sale and forgets about it. Which employee is more likely to deliver more value—one who learns from their failed sales, or one who just views them as part of their job? While it is part of the job, it’s certainly not something to be ignored.

There aren’t many employees out there who can honestly say that they enjoy training. For many, it’s a tedious and seemingly repetitive process that delivers little value. This is hardly ever the case, however, especially if it’s the first time you are delivering a certain training course, or if it has been a while since the last one. Skills and knowledge fade, and the purpose of any training course is to ensure that your staff can perform their jobs properly. With sales staff, continuous sales training is the key to your long-term growth and success.

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by Brian Perry // Brian Perry is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.