It can be difficult to pinpoint where exactly an extra 5 or 10% in sales can be churned out. These attempts to increase your bottom line can lead to pitfalls that might even make your numbers worse. Pushing employees to just work harder might bring results in the short term, but it’s not sustainable. So, what’s the best way to make your employees more efficient, while avoiding burnout? Training.
What is the Need to Train?
Anyone who works in the sales industry would attest to the fact that it’s a field that requires a lot of skill. Whether it’s the ability to close a deal, or knowing how to build rapport with customers, these things need to be taught. No salesperson will ever be perfect in every skillset without effort and training, and like any other ability or skill, it can always be improved. Understanding this is important because industries are always evolving and changing, now more than ever. If salespeople are not being well supported to stay on pace with the latest changes, then the entire company can suffer from relying on outdated techniques.
What is the Best Way to Train?
When it comes to learning a new skill or piece of information, research has shown that it is more easily understood and applied when it is interactive and engaging. eLearning courses are a great way to train your salespeople as they tick those boxes, while being extremely convenient. Employees can train at any place and any time and management can easily assess their progress. Additionally, a mere 0.5% improvement in performance is enough to see profits from online training. Probably the most effective tool of developing sales skills through eLearning is microlearning – where lessons are taught in small chunks. This works because learners can focus their attention on the concept at hand. If companies are constantly training their employees in these small chunks, then they’ll retain information better, and continue to improve.
It also helps to combat one of the biggest challenges in training, which is the “forgetting curve.” This curve shows how the brain retains information. Most of the information a person learns is lost on the first day, and from then on, they continue to lose more but at a slower rate. It’s a problem, but it can be overcome. Researchers have found that the brain retains more information when it can connect it to something it already knows. This is exactly where microlearning comes in. Companies should use early onboarding training and microlearning together for best results. Early onboarding training can provide introductions and details into concepts that your salespeople need. While this is only the first step, the training should be robust enough so that new workers feel ready to perform efficiently right off the bat.
There should also be training interventions scattered throughout the calendar. These interventions should use microlearning to remind learners of old concepts and build upon them. Strangely, only 44% of organizations regularly this kind of a strategy. And those that do show massive improvements, such as a 10% higher sales team attainment quota than the average.
Developing Better Employees
Even a perfect training program can’t guarantee perfect results, but the best way to ensure that your employees are maximizing their training is to improve soft skills. Developing skills such as leadership, creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork, will lead to having better employees. You may have employees that can take initiative and figure things out on their own, and a good salesperson might know the ins and outs of the market and be an expert in the latest trends. But if they’re not a good problem-solver, then they could lose potential clients who maybe just needed to be approached from a different angle.
We are even seeing examples of companies training their management teams for similar reasons. Advantage Performance Group uses a Sales Manager Funnel Simulation that helps sales leaders improve many of their soft skills. In it, participants work together to solve problems such as customer planning and resource allocation. This goes to show how important it is to have exceptional training at every rung in the ladder.
A salesperson with good instincts is a huge asset to any organization, but a quality training program that sharpens their strengths and improves their weaknesses will take them to the next level every time.