Never before has so much technology, ideas and research converged at one point in sales training. We’re on the cusp of changing our approach to how we learn about our jobs, how we develop skills and how we engage with our customers.
Technology is changing how we interact; with suppliers, clients and colleagues. We need different skills because we engage in a different way to how we did 20 years ago.
And the delivery mechanisms for absorbing new skills are changing every year. E-learning is morphing into something much more intuitive and personalised, so we expect so much more from our face to face training time because we can get access to valuable training and info online within seconds, often for free.
More research is being done into how we learn, how we concentrate, and how we hold onto that information – and that’s being ploughed back into the training tools we are seeing emerging today.
So, with all of this available technology and industry research, why do we still seem to find it so hard to train new sales reps?
Most sales training solutions are point products
Many sales training tech solutions have become so specialised that they only address one part of the sales process; whether that’s following up with clients on email and tracking responses, or logging and reviewing call data to mine for insights.
Many CRM systems are well-developed, but they’re not incorporating a lot of the newer sales training point products, so everything feels a bit disjointed, and consequently reps refrain from logging into multiple tools just to get their jobs done.
And most Sales Managers don’t want to have to invest in 10 different training solutions that might all overlap in order to deliver a full sales enablement program.
Most new tech solutions for sales training want to obliterate the face to face sales trainer
Many new tech products in the sales training app market aim to take the face to face sales trainer out of the process.
But there will always be a place for an experienced coach who can motivate and support trainees and field questions – however, their follow-up work needs to be integrated with sales training tech in order to improve learner recall and get newly learnt skills being utilised regularly.
Organisations may not need sales trainers to come in and show them how to plan for meetings in the future, but they need their support for more advanced sales learnings, such as increasing emotional intelligence in sales engagements, understanding buyer behaviour and navigating in-depth consultative and complex sales projects which generic training apps often can’t address.
We’re overwhelmed by content and data in sales training
When you have access to all the answers to every question, it’s difficult to find the right answer, at the right time for you.
We have lots of apps, lots of tools and lots of content to consume in our day to day sales life, each one competing for our attentions. So, what do we do? Well, we ignore it all and keep doing what we’ve been doing.
We don’t need AI-enabled speech recognition software to enhance our phone skills when we’re not even spending 5 minutes preparing for the call in the first place. We don’t need complex CRM systems to report from when we’re not even inputting any information into them or using that information to make decisions for ourselves.
Going back to basics – B2B sales skills
We need to go back to basics. We have to sort out the foundations of our sales activities, and work from there. We need to simplify the process, not complicate it. We need to reduce the amount of training until it is easy to manage and fit into a sales reps’ weekly work. We have to simplify the range of competing tools, apps and training initiatives so that skills have room to develop, and habits can form.
I often speak to people who are embarking on an overhaul of their sales training. They are usually planning to line up a training session on something complex, like customer behaviour awareness training, when the reps in the classroom haven’t even done any basic training in general sales skills. The sessions are motivating, but no habits are formed (because it’s like getting running tweaks and tips from an ultra-marathon runner when you’ve not yet signed up to your local 5K Parkrun).
- Get the foundations in place, such as:
- Effective meeting planning
- Writing a customer prospecting email
- Following up with customers after engagements
- Creating a simple plan for a customer which details how you will engage with them
- Understanding your customers’ industries and challenges
- Finding out about your competitors
- Aligning your solution to customer needs and business drivers
These sound like Sales 101, but many sales graduate training programmes aren’t focusing on core sales skills, and many companies aren’t refreshing their experienced reps on it either.
Has tech clouded sales training?
MySalesAcademy focuses on the core B2B sales skills that reps need to develop in order to sell in consultative sales environments. No training, just live tools. Find out more: https://mysalesacademy.com/