You have probably invested a lot of time and money training your sales teams and are frustrated with how little impact it has had. While the problem could be your sales team, it’s more likely that the sales training techniques you are using are the problem.
You are using a training approach of some sort, right?
One of my responsibilities as the head of Revenue Enablement at Bigtincan is to train every member of our revenue team to ensure that every step of the buyer journey we:
- Provide the buyer with the information they need to continue taking that journey with us.
- Deliver a fantastic customer experience that is in line with who we are as a business.
- Provide the buyer with consistent, and accurate, information as to how we can, or cannot, meet their needs.
While sales training has long been a critical component of Sales Enablement, there are a lot of ways to do it well, and an equal number of ways to do it poorly. Here are a few of the sales training techniques we use to meet the needs of our business.
#1 – Be Inclusive
We train every single member of the revenue team. We also invite people from other groups who are interested in sharing, collaborating, and learning. Each week, our marketing, sales, presales, customer success, customer support, and members of our product and executive teams come together, and we all learn something new.
Key leaders across the business always review the training information before the sessions. This review is critical as it provides an opportunity for each business function to help craft the training to maximize its impact on their teams.
Everyone must understand how that training impacts them in performing their jobs.
#2 – Create a Schedule
You need to create a schedule to ensure you cover strategic themes, new product updates, changes to the market, selling tips, and all the other things that you are trying to get across as part of your ongoing training.
However, your training schedule must remain flexible. New priorities will arise, you will identify pain points in processes you use, new sales tips to share, bring in new software. Build the plan, but expect the unexpected.
#3 – Train Often
As noted previously, we provide training to the entire go-to-market team every week. Regular practice is an integral part of our culture and essential for any business living in a fast-changing world (aka all of us).
#4 – Record and Share
Training and Coaching are a part of our DNA. Team members are expected to make one of the two weekly sessions, and failing to do so will lead to people asking you why you missed the training.
However, the reality is that sometimes people have to miss sessions. Sometimes people can benefit by going back and listening to that section about how XINN delivers on document automation.
Record EVERY session and publish every session to your Sales Enablement system.
#5 – Reinforcement
We have all seen the statistics, according to a study by Xerox, people forget 87% of their sales training in the first 30 days after the training takes place.
“Ebbinghaus’s formula calls for you to spend 10 minutes reviewing the material within 24 hours of having received it (that will raise the curve back up to almost 100 percent retained again). Seven days later, spend five minutes to “reactivate” the same material and raise the curve up again. By day 30, your brain needs only two to four minutes to completely “reactivate” the same material, again raising the curve back up.”
Reinforcement is critical to memory. It is this simple fact that drives our use of quizzes that force this reinforcement at regular intervals. We are not in perfect alignment with the formula, but we are aware of it and use techniques, supported with tools, to reduce this knowledge loss.
Reinforcement is one of the key sales training techniques. Without it, the rest of your efforts will have minimal impact.
#6 – Go small with microlearning
Remember why you are training the team. Your teammates have jobs to do, and your role in teaching them is to help them, and your entire business, better support your customers.
Your training should be as brief and targeted as possible. Our weekly training sessions are done via web meetings and are a maximum of one hour in length.
After the training is delivered, we chunk up the videos and other supporting content (where possible) into smaller chunks of microlearning. Our teammates are busy, so we keep these to no more than 5 minutes long.
Quizzes generally only have five or six questions and designed to take no more than five minutes to complete.
Of course, if people cannot remember the information, or need to find the details, it’s all there, searchable, easy to find. But the expectation is that the live sessions, combined with regular reinforcement, reduces the need for spending time hunting for information.
#7 – Use data to stay on track
Why do we provide training in the first place?
We are trying to achieve specific business outcomes, such as:
- Improving win rates
- Increasing ACV
- Improving NPS scores
- Reducing Churn
And many others.
In our weekly training, we measure who attends the sessions.
In the reinforcement quizzes, we measure how people score.
We ask for feedback on the training and for input on what topics people need us to cover in training.
All of this data goes towards refining our approach and our focus on areas that will positively impact key business metrics.
Don’t fall in love with the content you create, or the magical way you weave demos. All of those tactics are a means of achieving business outcomes. Use the data, stay focused, and remain strategic.
A closing thought
Look, training your teams is not easy. It requires a mix of delivery methods, various types of content, an assortment of information from multiple teams. It’s hard work.
However, by leveraging best-of-breed sales training techniques you can create an environment for learning that separates you from your competition. This hard work will ensure that the buyers you work with have great customer experiences, can find solutions to their business challenges, and that ultimately ensure your business is successful for years to come.
To learn more about how sales enablement supports your entire organization, download our Essential Guide to Sales Enablement for 2019.