Use this proven FRAMEWORK when Building a Sales Training Program
Sales is nothing short of art. Magic of sorts where you penetrate the minds of your customers, navigate through all the competition, disseminate your critical market intelligence and etch your idea deep within just by perfecting your conversation mechanisms. While sales in itself bring a huge task to take a deep dive into, the responsibility is just sky-high as you begin to curate a sales training program that will prove effective in meeting the desired impact and outcomes.
Be it the molding of a process flow for anything including inside sales, field sales, service sales, or sales management, you need to map the progression pathway before beginning to comprehend and later putting together all the chartered territories.
Know the product/service inside out
Anything that you’re about to sell was once just an idea that took its shape into a finished product with a solution to offer and a story to tell. Becoming a ‘trusted expert’ in this profession cannot happen unless you polish yourself with superior and deep product & service knowledge.
Product knowledge is a wide term that comprises the complete understanding of the features, uses, benefits, drawbacks, origin, shortcomings, and all else with respect to the product/ service in question. And this knowledge can be gained by simply paying more attention to the details and reading between the lines. You can ideally dwell deep into the understanding of the product or service through the blogs of the industry, reviews on neutral platforms, listening to podcasts, interacting with the developers, or by watching videos online.
Product & service knowledge can be broken down into two categories
1. General product & service knowledge
2. Domain-specific knowledge
General product & service knowledge covers all the in-depth information about the given product or service. Whereas, domain-specific skills are a little more niche and are focused on the specific area of expertise.
The learning, mastery, and the ability to provide an accurate sales-worthy description of the product or service is an ongoing process. It requires continuous learning to keep up with changes in technology or market trends for capitalizing on all the sweet spots that others tend to overlook. It is important for organizations to provide their employees with opportunities for continuous learning to keep them up to date to such an extent that they can even draft out the differences and make their products stand out in the minds of the customer.
In order to better your sales prospects, you need to go the extra mile than just the product/service knowledge. The pen and paper understanding of the features and benefits is not just going to be enough. The sales rep need to deploy street smart tactics based on the specific ‘Talk Tracks & Stories’ that will resonate with the buyer’s momentum and interest towards the broader solutions they offer. Nailing the buyers’ pain points through the quick fixes that our product or service delivers is how to shake on the deal. Building an urgency by focusing on the key point indicators like the economic benefits, revenue acceleration, bettering the efficiency of existing processes, or scaling up prospects can influence the purchase decision a long way.
A game-changing coaching methodology
Develop a coaching methodology that enforces the skills and competencies you expect the players to embrace. But it doesn’t come easy and effective at the same time.
Always bear in mind that the coaching methodology is not just something where you deliver the theoretical depth of things. But it should rather be streamlined with a set of steps and a process flow that the coaches can make the best use of to help their team members to develop, improve, and reach their potential. It is important for coaches to create a coaching methodology that will enforce the skills and competencies they expect the player to embrace. If there is no clear goal in mind, it can be difficult for the coach to provide feedback and advice on how the team member should improve.
Perfecting your coaching methodologies can happen if you…
- Identify what your desired outcome of the coaching session is
- Create a list of questions or topics you want to cover with your team member
- Plan what kind of feedback you want to give your team member about their performance
- Plan how you will provide feedback
Servant leadership models support a coaching mindset.
The coaching methodology is a system of constant assessment and feedback. It is a process of understanding where your team is at today and where they need to be. Once you know that, you can set goals and create a plan for the team to work through.
The first step in this process is to take an assessment of your team's skills and competencies. This will show you a clear picture of your teams’ market standings in terms of skills.
The second step would be to set goals for the team as well as create a plan for them to work through.
Stalking the competitor troops
The world of sales is warfare and the more you keep your eyes open, the better will be your pitch with the customers. And this does not just mention the products and services that operate in the same competitive segment as you, but rather about the complete understanding of the company’s tactics, culture, and market penetration strategies. You can use different tools such as Google alerts, web analytics, and social media background research to find out what people are saying about your competition and their product or services online. You will be able to see what they like and dislike about it and also about how they engage with it on various social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, & Instagram.
This in-depth knowledge can be gained by researching the following
o their sales teams
o products & services campaigns
o marketing collaterals
o value propositions
o the stories they sell with
o user-generated content from their competition’s online reviews
o blog forums of the competitors’
o keeping an eye out on their content, whitepapers, case studies, or definitive guides
o secret shop them to understand their sales pitch and stories
Be ready to deploy a talk track when speaking about your competitors, show that you understand how your solution stacks up against them. For each competitor, you should have one of these skeletal frameworks developed to deal with each one with ease.
But do it like a brush-off when asked, do a pretends’ sake that you don’t usually let them in on this unless asked. I find reps rush to speak about competitors and dissect them in detail, and in doing so you give your competition the “airtime” in your discussion with “your” prospect, rather than doing it the other way around.
Down to the last brick customer knowledge
Many of the tactics we use to monitor and understand our competitors could also be something bigger. You can deploy them in action to get a clear understanding of our potential prospects and customers.
For example, as you dig deep into your competition, you’ll be able to:
o understand the way your customer goes to market
o what are the current product & service offerings in the sector?
o research their marketing material
o investigate their value propositions
o Get a fair picture of the stories they sell with
o learn how their customers perceive them, find a niche whose solutions has not yet been tapped, and monetize in by introducing it at just the right timing
Getting down to action now…
Building Superior Presentation Skills
Any sales training framework should include “roadwork”. I am referring to honing one’s presentation skills with a few simple exercises.
“All the world is a stage.” Whenever you are speaking about your products and services or about the problems they solve, you are making a presentation.
The word ‘presentation’ needs a much broader and true-to-the-sense understanding.
1. The giving of something to someone, especially as a part of a formal ceremony
“The presentation of certificates to new members”
2. A speech or talk in which a product, idea, or piece of work is shown and explained to an audience
“A sales presentation”
So according to this definition, a Presentation is special. It has some gravitas; it uses stories to establish trust and delivers proof points.
Therefore, any sales training program MUST address this all-important skill of selling - The Presentation.
While these might be a guiding light at the end of the tunnel, there is no better teacher than passion, practice, patience, and persistence. As you being the process of a sales training program, look at the world outside your business and everything that happens in the universe of selling. There are a lot of examples laid out for you to explore if only you watch a little more closely.
Although the famous quotations that are as old as time like “Stop selling. Start helping.” or “Make a customer. Not a sale” might sound corny now, they are not an exaggeration as well. Focus on all these pointers as you prepare that perfect program that can take your venture to the next promising levels. Groom your salespeople first and everything else will follow.