Why You Should Invest in Sales Training
Proper sales training can mean the difference between keeping and losing a customer. Here’s what you should be looking for in a sales training program.
“The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.”
Peter F. Drucker
Leaders of companies of all sizes, and in all industries, look for new and innovative ways to drive growth and financial results. Developing the skills needed to execute assigned roles consistently ranks in the top five focus areas that impact results.
Growing organizations invest in a range of targeted training for their people. Well-designed training programs can be measured in the following areas: desired skills needed to achieve goals, fill gaps in knowledge and skills, creative problem solving and actions to overcome the status quo.
Any training needs to be aligned with and measured against the purpose of the business and the desired results. Performance gaps help leaders identify ongoing training priorities and return on the training investments.
Evaluation of most business investment decisions starts with a baseline and the desired results: “Where we are today and where want to be in the future?” To help in this evaluation, let’s focus on sales training and the benefits of creating an ongoing training and development agenda that best supports your customers and aligns with why your business exists.
The first step to help choose the best training for your team is to research the best training for your sales roles, your process and the industry you compete in. It is worth the time to research the best training others use in your industry. With that, consider the following:
• What are your target customers and markets, such as B2B/Commercial, B2C/retail, large, small, international, etc.
• What is your industry’s and customer’s requirements for technical expertise and skills
• What is your customer experience and buying process: transactional or long term relationships, your sales process/pipeline.
• What is your organization structure, leadership & management, roles, territories, etc.
Next, you must address the current and desired skills and knowledge the sales team must have to execute the purpose of every business to include the following capabilities:
• Know the context of your customer’s business, their business goals and why they buy and value a product or service.
• Know how to separate your product or service solution from other options customers have researched and will choose from.
• Be a trusted long term solution to include innovative ideas and solutions needed to support customer evolving needs and challenges.
• Achieve success as an influential leader and manager of both transactional and long-term relationships with your customers.
Lastly, the best way to judge the success of any training is to focus on the individual change in the desired skills and the increased performance in assigned roles. Measurement of sales training can include:
• Increased customer retention and loyalty.
• Increased new customer conversion.
• Increased revenues and profits.
• Reduced costs to serve and cost of sales.
• Reduced sales cycles.
• Faster rollout of new products and services.
Remember, to execute the purpose of your business, your customers expect you to get better and your best competitors will force you to get better. If you design your sales training correctly, every hour and every dollar you invest in upgrading the skills of your sales team should produce improved and measurable results.
You owe to your customer to get better at what you do!
Wayne Bergman is a business and executive coach and founder of Consistent Business Growth. Questions or comments about this piece? Email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.