Sales training has a direct connection to profit. How? Revenue is the primary measure of your company’s success. Your revenue is directly related to your sales. Your sales team performs as well as they're trained.
If you want to drive results for your reps, team, and company - sales training is the most important investment you’ll make.
Companies in the U.S. feel the same way. They spend $20 billion a year training their sales reps.
The problem is that sales training is a broad and complex topic. This guide is designed to be your complete sales training resource. Inside, you’ll find information on sales training types, programs, strategies, and more.
Proper sales training reinvigorates your team and revenue. Study this guide to make your investment sales training as valuable as possible.
What Is Sales Training?
It sounds self-explanatory. Sales training is the act of training your sales team. The definition gets complex when you consider how many types of sales there are. A sales rep trained in telemarketing might not do well in field sales.
Not to mention the techniques, product knowledge, and mindset that create the core of a successful salesperson.
Sales training that works is an investment that reinvigorates your team and revenue. It will be suited toward your industry and personalized for your business.
The training itself can be a motivational seminar or an in-depth workshop. Sales reps can be trained one-on-one or in a group. Your reps can even use sales exercises to train each other for practically nothing.
Why Should You Consider Sales Training?
A lot of sales reps start their career without any training at all. The sink-or-swim nature of sales creates the idea that good performance is intuitive. You either swim (and sell) or sink (and fail).
It’s true, sales is a difficult career. That being said, you don’t need natural talent to succeed. Like all difficult things, salesmanship can be learned - even mastered - with the right training.
Considering the fact that is costs an average of $114,957 to replace a sales rep, throwing your sales team a life preserver can benefit your entire organization. When you’ve come up with a perfect job ad, it’s time to put it out there for the candidates to see. However, placing a job ad does not come for free, and it adds up to the total cost of hiring an employee.
Investing in sales training sends a positive message to your sales team. It shows interest in their performance, results, and careers. It also happens to be the perfect recipe to bring out the top-performers on your team.
Before we dive into the fundamentals of proper sales training, we need to cover how to choose the right program for your team. Defining your sales process is the best way to understand how to improve it.
Choosing your Sales Training Program
Choosing the sales training program that’s right for your company depends entirely on your sales process. Your sales process is the customer-facing side of your business. Everything leading up to (and resulting in) a sale is considered part of the process.
What type of business are you? The sales process for a b2b company is different than that of a consumer-facing business. Leads are gathered differently, there are more decision makers, and a distinct form of product knowledge is required.
Choosing a sales training program that isn’t the right fit for your business is like throwing money away. Here’s a brief overview on how to define your sales process to make sure your training investment is well-spent.
Types of Sales
There are generally two types of sales. Your sales process might involve a bit of both. Narrowing down the elements you rely on from each will show you what your sales training should focus on.
Transactional - a sale that is simple and short-term. These types of sales require less trust from the consumer. The buying decision is heavily influenced by impulse. The elements of a transactional sale to keep in mind:
-Sale based on price, features, and availability
-Buyer’s enjoy comparing and negotiating, price shopping
-Sell in high volume at low price
-Requires customers ready to buy now
Transactional sales are less complex. They involve commodities and impulse buys. Salespeople who thrive in transactional sales are able to quickly recall product knowledge and competitor pricing while maintaining an upbeat attitude.
Consultative - these are complex and long-term sales. They are often service or solution based and require trust between buyer and seller.
-Sale based on value and benefits
-Buyer’s often afraid of making the wrong choice
-Sell in low volume at high price.
-Requires educated customers
Consultative sales are high pressure. They require reps who can understand and educate consumers while building a strong sales relationship.
Defining Your Sales Process
Defining your sales process with the above sales knowledge in mind is essential. Any one area of your sales process might be based in transactional or consultative sales. Examining what’s working and what isn’t shows you on the type of sales training you’ll need.
Look for improvements that can be made in these areas of your sales process:
Lead Generation - Finding your customers, or helping them find you. This might be accomplished through cold calling, advertisements, inbound marketing, or other forms of lead generation.
Lead generation is the most essential part of the sales process. If you don’t have customers coming in you’ll have a tough time selling anything.
There are two types of leads:
Cold - These are people you’ve either cold called, emailed, or approached blindly. These are leads who haven’t shown any interest in what you sell.
Warm - These are prospects that have shown interest. They might find you your company naturally or be a cold lead that you’ve built a relationship with.
Your sales team needs to interact with leads with a strategy based on how they’re collected.
Qualifying - Reaching out to the list you’ve created. This is the part of your process where your leads are contacted.
Qualifying your customers is just confirming their interest. You’re making sure that your business fits their needs so that neither of you wastes any time. Some transactional sales might end here.
Demonstrating Value - Communicating the value of your product to your buyer. Value demonstration becomes more effective as your sales rep learns about your buyer.
This is where sales skills come into play. Your buyer needs to be educated on how your product will improve their life. Communicating the value of the product is a sales reps primary job.
Convincing - Getting a decision from your buyer. Conquering objections is a key part of the convince phase.
Your prospect will have doubts or fears about their decision. Convincing your buyer requires building trust and communicating value to them.
Closing - The actual sale. This will vary depending on the complexity of your sale. Contracts might be finalized or new terms agreed on.
A sale doesn’t end when it’s closed. Relationship management is an important part of keeping your customers happy and coming back.
Types of Sales Training
Public vs Private Sales Training
Public sales training programs are events or seminars that involve a presenter and an audience. They can be motivational or cover a general sales system focused on improving revenue. A presentation can be a great motivational tool for transactional salespeople.
Private sales training is much more in-depth. Your team will receive personal instruction on the sales skills and methodology suited to your industry. Private training is a good idea if long-term core improvement is needed.
Product Sales Training
Product sales training is your sales team’s knowledge of the product they sell and how it fits into the lives of your customers. Any sales rep can benefit from greater product knowledge.
Sales Methodology Training
Sales methodology training improves the approach your sales team is taking throughout the process.
Your methodology is how you collect, handle, and retain customers.
Sales Skill Training
Sales skills can be thought of as how well your team is carrying out their sales methodology.
Sales skill training focuses on the nitty-gritty of sales. Communication skills and selling techniques are personally taught and usually supported by live practice.
Sales Automation Training
Sales automation training involves making your reps more knowledgeable about the tools they use. Lead generation and CRM software are necessary components of any sales process.
Learning how to use them effectively is an important part of sales training that is often passed over.
Each type of sales training is catered toward a specific stage of your sales process. If you’ve analyzed your sales operations you probably have a good idea about which area could use improvement.
The rest of this guide will cover the types of sales training in detail; including fundamentals, popular programs, and strategies of each.
Product Sales Training
Educating your sales team on what you sell and how it helps your market is essential. It might seem like common sense, but you shouldn’t underestimate the power of product knowledge.
A strong understanding of product knowledge benefits a consultative team and enables sales efforts.
This section will cover various strategies that use product knowledge to close deals.
Product Sales Training Overview
Product sales training is an all-around study of what you sell and how it fits into the marketplace. Generally, this training covers:
Your Customer’s Needs
Your customer isn’t buying your product out of the kindness of their heart. Product training covers why your customer buys from you - including their problems and frustrations.
Your Product as a Solution
Your product is solving a problem for your buyer. Connecting your sales team to this reality sets the tone for customer interactions, making them beneficial for the rep and the customer.
Each rep has to act in accordance with industry standards and regulations. This material is often dry and overlooked, making it all the more important.
Understanding the ecosystem your product lives in gives your sales team a broader perspective. Your product is one of many your customer might use in their daily life.
Your Value Proposition
What is your company's mission? Why do you exist and interact with customers? Answering these questions will provide your value proposition, the leading benefit of what you sell.
Your Competition (and how you win)
Your competitive advantage relative to your competition. This is the unique selling point you have in your market. Your customer service, support, or the superior quality of your product are all potential advantages.
Common Challenges of Product Sales Training
Product sales training is obviously important, why isn’t it more common? When it does occur, why isn’t it more effective?
There are 3 common problems with this type of training:
Information overload describes situations where there's a massive amount to learn without the proper time to learn it.
Product sales training is filled with information that’s only applicable in unique situations.
The sad truth is product knowledge without context isn't remembered as well as relevant information with a basis in daily life. Overwhelming your sales team with information that doesn’t have immediate relevance results in very little of it being retained
Customer needs are varied and complex. A sales team’s effectiveness is based on their ability to understand these needs without relying on scripts. Balancing product knowledge with real-world application is necessary for sales effectiveness, but also very difficult.
Sales teams must remain competitive and reach full-productivity as quickly as possible. That means sales team training is becoming an increasingly time-sensitive investment.
There’s constant pressure for reps to become competent quickly. That often leaves little time for the sales team to understand as much product knowledge as they should.
Product Sales Training Solution Strategies
The common problems of product sales training can be avoided altogether. Incorporate these strategies into your training program to ensure your team absorbs the information.
Case-based learning involves training reps in the situations they’ll actually encounter. Creating relevant scenarios for your reps to learn from will avoid information overload.
How to create case-based Product Sales Training:
- Get your most experienced reps, managers, and training developers to create the training material using as much product knowledge as possible.
- Use their knowledge to define the most commonly encountered sales situations. Categorize them by types that are relevant to your business (high value sale, cold call, consultative appointment, transactional sale, etc)
3.Work through these sales situations to discover the thought process behind each. Really digging into each type of sales situation will let you know what kind of product knowledge is required for each situation.
- Any non-essential product information can be compiled into a reference guide for less-common situations.
- Incorporate the sales methodology and skills your top reps use in each scenario.
- Now that your sales scenarios involve relevant product knowledge you’ll always have engaging product sales training material.
Read more about this training here.
Point-Of-Need Information is product knowledge that can be accessed at critical moments of the sales process. Providing your sales reps with all of the material a customer may require is a cornerstone of efficient sales enablement.
Paper manuals for the field or an online knowledge base that reps can refer customers to are excellent examples of quality point-of-need information.
Knowledge sharing involves encouraging your reps to learn from each other. Meetings that encourage reps to express their victories, losses, and methods of improvement are engaging and beneficial team-wide.
A strategic approach to sales product training will improve team-efficiency immediately. It's a great investment that can (and should) be done in-house. Product knowledge has the added benefit of making sales methodology and skill training more relevant and effective.
Sales Methodology Training
Sales Methodology is the approach your team takes during the sales process. It focuses on the systematic side of your sales activities; call preparation, sales meeting format, improving overall sales effectiveness, finding high-quality leads, and managing customer relationships.
Sales methodology training supports all of your sales efforts. It can bring massive improvements to your sales process overnight if implemented effectively.
Sales methodology goes hand-in-hand with sales strategy. A good strategy creates an environment for both your sales rep and customer that leads to closed deals much more often.
There are a variety of methodologies designed for different aspects of the sales process.
Studying each one individually is valuable, implementing the one that best fits your business is ideal.
Conceptual selling was developed by Miller Heiman of MHI Global. It focuses on the idea that the consumer does not buy a product, they buy the results of that product.
This is similar to focusing on the benefits of your product over the features it contains. People are looking for a solution, understanding how you provide that to them makes your product more appealing.
Conceptual selling uncovers the decision-making process of the customer instead of leading with a pitch. Being customer-focused is an idea that occurs often in sales training, and for good reason. Buyers have a lot of options, understanding their needs and wants is essential to earning their loyalty.
Conceptual selling breaks the sale down into 3 stages:
Ask questions to determine the making decision-making process of your customer.
-Who are they?
-What are the problems they’re facing?
-Why do they need your product?
This has the added benefit of qualifying your prospect. Questions like these validate the buyer’s need for your product.
Giving information involves tailoring your solution to the needs of your prospect. This stage is about connecting their problem to your solution.
-How your solution fits their concept
-How your solution is a better fit than competitive solutions
-The unique strength of your offer, custom-fit to your prospect's concept
The information you give should be only what your customer needs. Don’t waste time by focusing on irrelevant details.
Getting commitment from your prospect is extremely important. You want them to commit to another interaction at the very least, and an agreement to purchase as the relationship progresses.
-Get a commitment of further engagement after every interaction
-Get greater commitments as the sales relationship progresses
-If your customer refuses a commitment they are doubting your solution. Discover the reason behind their hesitation and provide more information on how your solution solves their specific problem
Your entire interaction with your customer should be based around their concept of the solution they need. That means listening is more important than speaking. If you can understand their problem you'll be the best fit for their solution.
Spin Selling is a sales model and book by Neil Rackham. He and his company, Huthwaite, analyzed 35,000 sales calls to dissect the essentials of closing sales.
Rackham learned that asking questions was much more efficient than making statements.
There were 4 types of commonly asked questions:
Situation questions - Understanding buyer’s reasoning for purchase
Problem questions - Involving the buyer's challenges and pain points. Keeps the conversation focused on the need they have for what you're selling.
Implication questions - Concerning the negative effects of the problem. These questions put the results of the problem (and your solution) at the forefront of the customer's mind.
Need-Payoff questions - What your solution does for the buyer. “How much money would this solution save you a year?” Getting the buyer to explain the value of your product is more effective than explaining it yourself.
The SPIN selling methodology focuses on problem-based questions to increase the chance of success. Planning the exact questions you'll ask in advance is even more effective.
The Challenger Sale is an extremely popular sales book by Matt Dixson and Brent Adamson. The Challenger model takes a different approach than others. It suggests that customers are tired of answering questions and want more value from their sales reps.
The challenger approach categorizes every sales rep as one of five types:
The Hard Worker
-Persistent, interested in self-development
The Lone Wolf
-Delivers results, difficult to manage
The Relationship Builder
-Creates relationships, classic consultative rep
The Problem Solver
-detail-oriented, ensures all problems are solved
-Loves to debate, pushes the customer. Strong understanding of the customer's business
The relationship builder, a classic methodology, was the least efficient model for sales reps.
The Challenger model was the most successful in every study done. 40% of top-performers use a challenger approach instead of the other four.
In complex sales, that number rises to 50%. Customers making complex decisions appreciate a sales rep who understand their business and can simplify the decision by being sure of their solution.
Sales Skill Training
Sales skill training increases the efficiency of sales skills and techniques. It covers the "how" of sales, the nitty-gritty and personal aspects of closing deals. Sales skill training is typically in-person and physical.
Sales skill training depends on regular practice. The training program will generally provide a regimen for each rep to follow designed to improve selling skills. Live coaching, practice calls, and peer-review of technique are essential aspect of sales skill training.
The sales skills your team requires depends on your sales process. An inside sales team should focus on tonality more than body language, for example.
That being said, there are fundamental sales skills that every salesperson should know. These skills are basic aspects of communication and persuasion and should be covered by any sales skill training program you invest in.
The most fundamental sales skills are also useful in everyday life. Suprise, communication and persuasion are daily activities. This section is written directly to your sales rep to help convey all of the different skills that go into sales.
Conversation creates sales. Communication has been the basis of every sale since the dawn of time. How well the value of your solution is communicated decides if it’s sold or not. That’s not changing anytime soon.
Conversational skill is a priority in any sales skill training program. Time magazine studied “The Art of Conversation” and found 5 fundamental rules:
- Put others at ease
- Put yourself at ease
- Weave in all parties
- Establish shared interests
- Actively pursue your own
In sales, the conversation is between you and your (potential) customer, which creates a unique dynamic. Both of you are trying to get something from the conversation. You want a sale and your customer wants a solution, both of you want the best deal possible.
With that in mind, let’s look at the rules of conversation from a sales perspective:
- Put yourself at ease – Be calm, cool, and collected. If you seem nervous you’ll make your customer nervous. Speak slowly and with intent to show confidence in the situation and your solution. The success of the conversation (and ultimately, the sale) is completely based on trust. By appearing at ease in the conversation you’re making your customer feel equally confident.
- Put others at ease – Make your buyer feel comfortable. Don’t control the conversation. Listen and make sure they understand they’re being heard. Their time is as valuable as yours, respecting their side of the conversation ensures they’ll respect yours.
- Weave in all parties – Don’t leave anyone out of the conversation. You can never be completely sure about who has influence in a group. Leaving a key decision maker out of the conversation, or ignoring their concerns, is a surefire way to lose the sale.
- Establish shared interests – Connect the conversation to the life of your buyer. They are looking for a solution to their specific problem. You can make your offering much more relevant by connecting it to their life. This also shows that you’re listening, and that you care about more than just the sale.
- Actively pursue your own – Don’t be afraid to actually sell. You aren’t doing anyone any favors by ignoring the purpose of the conversation. Balancing the sale with genuine interest in your customer will help you stand out as an excellent salesperson.
These rules help ensure that the sales conversation develops in a mutually beneficial way for your rep and your buyer. Make your sales team memorize them and watch the revenue flow.
The following skills are based in conversational ability. Improving them should be daily practice for your sales team.
Presentation skills help you get your message across. You never know when you'll need to present your product to one person or when a group will need a demonstration.
Present confidently with appropriate body language. Speak slowly to help your audience absorb the information.
Your presentation (along with your sales pitch) should actively guide your prospect into being a customer, not ignore them so that you can get your message across.
Listening to your prospect is the most effective way of getting the sale. Active listening involves hearing what your customer is saying while also understanding what they mean.
The questions you ask your prospect should be based on the details they give you. Your job, as a sales rep, is to weave together your prospect’s problems and the solution you’re selling.
What better way to weave ideas together than storytelling? Salespeople must be good storytellers. You need to communicate the value of your solution to your customer’s life, telling a story to your prospect about how your product helped someone just like them is the best way to do that.
Practice speaking with a narrative structure. Provide a setting, characters, and conflict with a satisfying resolution (involving your product!) and you’ll capture your prospects attention and close the sale.
Rapport creates relationships. Relationships make sales. Your prospect needs to like you, or at least tolerate you, before they'll buy from you.
Establishing rapport involves connecting with your prospect. Trade opinions, share stories, and bond over common ground. Don’t rush into the sale while ignoring that your prospect is a person, just like you.
Being assertive doesn’t mean being rude. You can be assertive in a friendly, and even passive, manner.
Direct the conversation towards the goal of the meeting. Both you and your prospect know why you're meeting, there’s no shame in bringing the goal of the meeting into focus at the appropriate time.
Overcoming objections is one of the most uncomfortable aspects of sales. You have to disagree with someone, a scary idea for salespeople and non-reps alike.
It helps to understand that you’re not disagreeing with the person, only their idea. If you’re sure that your solution will make their life better than you’re doing them a favor by bringing them to your point of view. People are naturally unsure, it’s your job to give them all of the facts they need to make a decision.
The basic process of overcoming objections is to:
Understand - “What’s preventing you from making a decision today?”
Empathize - “I understand why that might be an issue”
Overcome - “Will this fix ____? If not, what will?”
A good sales skill training program teaches your team to overcome common objections in your industry. Specificity is key when addressing customer concerns.
Closing a deal is getting a decision from your prospect, hopefully turning them into a customer.
There are a variety of ways to improve close rate, but there’s one fundamental thing you’ll need to do:
Ask with confidence - Consider asking for the sale mandatory. If you’ve used your sales skills effectively your prospect will be ready to buy, if not, they would have left already.
Still, a decision is a scary thing for prospects. By asking for the sale (with confidence) you’re taking the pressure off of your customer and placing it on yourself. This is usually appreciated and prevents any delay on the part of your prospect.
Cross-Selling & Up-Selling
Cross-selling and up-selling are advanced skills. They involve selling to your customer even more, either a related product or a more expensive version of what they’re buying.
Getting more from each sale is a hallmark characteristic of a good salesperson.
Cross-selling involves selling related products that your customer can use in addition to the one they've bought. A good way to introduce a cross-sale is to connect the related product with another need of your customer.
Up-selling involves pitching a more expensive version of your product after your prospect has decided to buy the regular version.
A good way to think about up-selling is that you’re giving your customer more options. As long as you know they’ll value the upgraded version more than the regular you’re doing them a favor by mentioning it.
Both cross-selling and up-selling require a deep understanding of your customer's business. Before you ask them for a greater investment of time and money, you need to know how that investment will benefit them.
Cross-selling and up-selling are both best for when a relationship has already been established. That is, when you've already closed a sale with this customer.
Sales skill training exercises can be performed in-house at very little cost. The benefits of even informal sales training more than justify the expense. Regular training will keep your sales team sharp and focused.
Here’s an overview of the types of exercises that will improve sales skills.
Create Call Plans
Call plans are detailed descriptions of your customer, along with their goals, challenges, and any questions you’d like to ask them.
Do this before every call. Compare notes with colleagues. Find the type of plan that works best and make it standard.
Practice asking questions that get to the heart of your customer’s buying decision.
Create a list of questions that find customer’s state, pain commitment, and budget.
Practice Story Sharing
Story sharing is the process of sharing how your solution has helped others. Putting the value of your solution into stories makes it relatable for the listener.
Stories are also excellent ways to pass along information. It’s easier to explain the benefits of your offer by explaining how someone else has already benefitted
Practice Sales Calls & Conversation
This is a fun one. Partner with a team member and go over different sales scenarios. Practice selling to different customer types in different situations, then trade places. Throw your partner some curveball objections to see how well they can recover.
Sales Skill Training Programs
Sales skill training programs are in-depth, usually multi-day, sessions on sales skills. There are a variety of training programs catered toward different industries, products, and styles.
Investing in a program that suits your business is one of the best decisions you can make, Here the most popular sales programs and what they cover.
Dale Carnegie Training
Dale Carnegie's book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" revolutionized the sales industry and relationship building in general.
The Dale Carnegie Training Program continues the novel’s legacy with its approach to sales skill training. There's a heavy emphasis on practicing social skills in live situations.
Their flagship "Dale Carnegie Course" teaches all of the essential sales skills for nurturing relationships and closing deals. It covers:
- Applying a proven process to recall names and facts
- Utilizing a proven process to strengthen relationships
- Using your experiences to communicate more confidently
- Persuasively communicating in a way so people are moved to action
- Becoming more animated to energize and engage listeners
- Communicating clearly and concisely
- Creating an “all-win” environment
- Giving positive feedback on the strengths in others
- Dealing with challenging interpersonal situations more effectively
- Using flexibility to create positive change
- Increasing your ability to manage worry and stress
The entire course is taught over a 3 day seminar designed to transform reps into charismatic sales machines.
RAIN Sales training focuses on advanced sales skills. Sales techniques, including overcoming objections and closing deals, are taught over a varied amount of sessions.
RAIN has multiple programs covering essential techniques like negotiation:
- Sell the value of your solutions and reduce price pushback
- Lead masterful sales negotiations that lead to win-win solutions for you and your customers
- Respond to objections in a way that gets the prospect closer to the close
- Anticipate and address buyer objections before they come up
- Win against lower-priced competitors
- Deal with customers who are just trying to get concessions
- Avoid critical mistakes in the negotiation process that kill credibility and the sale
- Use the 16 Principles of Influence to lead more productive sales conversations
- Combine emotion and justification to make your prospects truly invested in working with you
- Reverse direction in order to keep your conversations on track if you sense the buyer is backing off
- Stand out from the rest of the pack
- Get verbal, written, and public commitment from your buyer
- Make your influence felt
- Convince more prospects to buy from you
RAIN Sales training is a great investment for any sales team that needs a more advanced approach to dealing with customers. If big deals have been slipping away this is an excellent solution.
Richardson is an established sales training company focusing on a variety of sales training. All of their training is specialized to your industry and business needs.
Their consultative selling skills program covers:
- Raising the quality of sales calls with your clients to make them more productive
- Sellers must approach informed buyers with insight that adds value to the conversation
- Discovering client’s needs and linking these needs persuasively with your solutions
- Resolving objections and resistance in a client-focused manner
- Closing effectively in order to move the deal forward
Richardson is known for their sales skill program, but they have several others covering advanced consultative sales. If your team needs complete training in sales efficiency, Richardson is a great option.
Sales Automation Training
Sales Automation training involves any software designed to streamline your sales cycle.
Many tasks that salespeople have had to complete by hand are now easily done with sales automation software. The convenience of automation tools definitely outweighs their learning curve.
Sales automation training may not be the most exciting aspect of onboarding, but it’s an essential part of preparing employees.
These are the tools your sales team uses daily. Your entire sales team should know the sales technology in place like the back of their hand.
There are many different types of sales automation software. Each is designed to maximize efficiency in a different area of your sales process.
The right tool depends on the needs of your business. A CRM might be the solution you need if you’re losing leads or customers. A lead generation tool may be in order if your pipeline is consistently empty.
Here’s an overview of some sales automation tools to supercharge your sales stack:
A CRM is a great way to keep track of customers at every stage of your sales cycle. Different CRM’s specialize in specific aspects of customer relationship management. The key is finding the CRM best suited for your sales team.
Salesforce is the biggest name in the industry. It is all-inclusive, meaning it provides solutions for sales, services, marketing, and even a platform to build apps for your company.
Salesforce has been around since 1999, so they understand a variety of industries and use-cases. Although expensive, Salesforce is an advanced solution for any-size team.
Zoho offers an array of services, including a CRM. Their CRM is popular due to the user-friendly interface and wide-range of integrations it offers.
For example, Zoho easily integrates with Gmail - making appointment scheduling a smooth process for your team.
Zoho is a more affordable option than Salesforce, making it a smart investment for new or small companies.
Agile is a great inexpensive CRM that combines visual data with relationship management.
Agile offers training videos on its website, making the learning process quick and efficient.
Base is the most visual CRM listed so far. Base shows graphs, plots, and other visual depictions of your sales cycle. This is especially helpful if you want to communicate goals or results without the hassle of digging through data.
Base is priced competitively, making it a great option for large teams who love visuals.
If you have more trouble finding leads than you do managing them, lead generation software might be what you’re looking for.
Badger Maps is a map routing software that offers lead generation, CRM integration, and data visualization.
Badger offers complimentary team training and a 21 day free trial. This is a great way to learn and test a valuable solution for your outside sales team.
Watch the demo video here!
Lead Generation Tools
If your company is only looking for lead generation, there are plenty of options that pull leads from different sources. Some scrape the internet for potential customers, others give you email patterns for top companies. Here’s an overview of the main contenders:
Lead generation is the process of getting new customers, aka the most important part of business. Before technology, lead generation was time-intensive and painful. Today, software makes generating leads easier than ever.
Salesloft was one of the first types of prospecting software. It allows you to find leads in your industry and send them cold emails. It also offers Salesforce integration so that new customers can go straight into your CRM. Salesloft offers three pricing structures: group, professional, and enterprise - making it an appropriate solution for any-size company.
Growbots works by scraping LinkedIn to find qualified leads in the industry you want to target. Like Salesloft, you can cold email leads after you gather them. Pricing starts at $500 per month, which is a justifiable expense for a small company looking to grow.
Toofr is helpful if you know the first name, last name, and company of your prospect. All of this information can be found via LinkedIn, but the process can be a burden on team operations. This is a great tool for individual sales reps looking to make specific contacts. Pricing starts at just $29 per month, a worthwhile investment for quality leads.
Zoominfo is a service that supplies lists of employee email addresses from large companies. This may be more appealing than lead generation software depending on your needs.
Finding the right sales automation tool is a valuable process. A tool that is a good fit for your team will greatly improve productivity.
Understanding the best strategies to use for sales automation training will help speed up the learning process.
Best Strategies for Sales Automation Training
Pilot the tool
Let a couple of your more tech-savvy employees learn to love the tool before you roll it out to your whole team. This way, your employees can learn from their coworkers who they know and trust. Many software companies will offer free trials, so have a couple of employees sign up and test the tool.
Let the company do it for you
There are many software companies that will offer demos in either group or one-on-one once you sign up for the software. This is especially true for startups where they will pay you the most attention because your business is just as important to them as their software is to you.
Create Internal Training Materials
Regardless of the solution you use, create a best practices guide around it. This can be distributed internally to cut down training time for new reps. Developing internal training systems is the best way to optimize the learning process.
Sales Automation Training Courses
Training courses are a good investment if you’re looking to get your sales team up-to-speed on a new tool quickly. The right course will cover basic and advanced applications for your sales team, quickly turning your team into experts.
This is one of the most popular sales automation training programs. They cover Salesforce, Box, Linkedin and more. The lite version is free and the premium version is $50 a month. Depending on your needs and the size of your sales team, this is a great option.
SalesHood is a sales automation training program that automates a variety of sales processes and software, including; onboarding, CRM usage, and employee training.
Sales automation training is very dependent on the needs of the company. The size, industry, and budget of the company are all factors when deciding which software to use for the business. Any sales automation software will pay for itself if used correctly.
Benefits of Sales Training
Sales Training has numerous benefits, both for your sales team and company-wide. The importance of sales training is well-documented. Recent statistics show how essential a well-trained sales team can be for the bottom-line of your organization.
50% of reps give up the 1st time a prospect objects, without attempting to build a relationship or keep in touch.
66% of all salespeople miss their quota
Over half of all salespeople close at less than 40%
40% of salespeople don’t understand their customer needs
It takes an average of 8 cold call attempts to set a meeting with a prospect
Continuous training gives 50% higher net sales per employee
77% of executive buyers claim salespeople don’t understand their issues and where they can help, and 78% claim salespeople do not have relevant examples or case studies to share with them.
A well-trained sales team has a dramatic impact on company performance, not to mention the individual benefits. After receiving sales training, the sales activity of a rep increases drastically.
Sales training inspires and motivates your team, making them eager to practice their new skills and engage customers. Increased customer engagement equals more overall sales, an effect that compounds over time.
Sales training has the added benefit of improving confidence, especially when reps are trained by an authority-figure in sales. Confident reps will naturally sell more. Combining the increased confidence of sales training with the strategies your sales team learns is a definite recipe for success.
Learn more on this type of training here.
How to Cut Your Sales Team’s Training Time in Half
Sales training is only half the battle. Your reps need to be efficient and productive as quickly as possible. Maintaining your sales team’s focus throughout the sales cycle can be a balancing act in itself.
So much time and money is invested into hiring and onboarding sales reps that any decrease in the amount of time spent selling will eat into your company’s profit.
Unfortunately, only 39% of a sales rep’s time is spent selling or interacting with prospects and customers.
The time sales reps spend on pre-sale and post-sale activities has increased 15%. Time spent on non-sales administrative work is up 21% as well.
This paints an unfortunate picture for productivity. Why invest time and money into sales training when your team spends so much time not selling?
L’Oreal asked a similar question when they examined their onboarding process. Their solution was to find a way to reduce training time while maintaining scale and sales efficiency.
The L’Oreal sales team adopted Badger Maps as their solution, reducing their training time for new reps by 50%.
L’Oreal reps were taking an average of 1 year to reach full productivity. Badger reduced total training time to 6 months. Badger acts as L’Oreal’s training program by educating new reps on territory, customers, and best practices.
Badger Maps allows new reps to learn sales essentials at a much faster rate. Customer information, routes, and new leads are provided directly through Badger. This process saves L’Oreal valuable time that can be invested into a greater ROI for the sales team.
The key to efficient sales training is overcoming problem areas. Whether reps need guidance in product knowledge, methodology, technique, or improving performance in the field - facing these obstacles head-on is the best way to develop a master sales team.