One of the challenges sales trainers face is getting clients to buy
into what really must be done to improve a situation. To be
effective at this, we must engage all levels of an organization to
learn about its culture and mission, which in turn helps us better
comprehend a client's goals. People want to hire a sales trainer
who listens to - and hears - what they have to say. To come up with
the right plan of action, you must interview not only the person
hiring you but also the sales manager and some, if not all, of the
sales team. Make sure you do not shy away from difficult topics.
We must get a broad perspective of where weaknesses lie and how
managers and team members have tried to correct their issues.
The basic information you need includes
- the specific products this company sells and to whom
- what their sales cycle is like
- what the company's competitors are like and how they do
- the kinds of sales training the staff has had in the past
- what the sales staff is seeing and hearing in their marketplace
and the particular barriers they are running into
- what, if any, internal roadblocks salespeople face on a regular
- why the staff feel sales are down
- what reinforcement measures are being used to support the
training from the past
- what measurements are being used
- how pipelines are being managed by the sales team and sales
- what pre-assessment tools are used prior to onboarding
- how much time is spent by sales managers and team leaders
sitting with the phone reps and out in the field with the hunters
- what internal sales processes are in place and are they being
used and managed.
The answers to these questions will help you begin to customize the
right program for a team's needs.
Make sure all bases are covered
A solid sales training program will be broad in scope. Here are
some things to consider:
- It's crucial that sales managers (or business leaders if it's a
small company) participate in all of the training with the sales
team and to be fully present, with cell phones and laptops turned
off. Managers must understand what the team is being taught so they
can reinforce training once the trainer is gone.
- Training should take place in the classroom, in the field, and
on the telephone, making calls with sales staff.
- Review all internal sales processes, and when necessary offer
suggestions for revisions and additions. If nothing is documented,
help management create a sustainable process in writing.
- Part of your proposal should include following up with the
company on a 90-, 180-, 270-, and 300-day basis. Also, you should
be available to management and the sales team to answer any
questions or to provide advice as needed.
If a potential client has approached you, they obviously want your
assistance. As an outsider, you will like get a broader, clearer
perspective of what's going on. Through detailed questioning and
frank talk, you can gain an understanding of the problems from
multiple angles, then deliver a proposal for meeting needs your
client might not have known existed.