A WORD FROM DUANE SPARKS
Dear Sales Executive:
How are your reps doing at hitting their sales goals? Oh, not so hot, eh?
A lot of data exists about reps performing below quota. Estimates of salespeople failing to hit their goals cluster around 50%. When it comes to companies (as opposed to individual reps) that are not on target to hit their sales-revenue goals, the figures become sketchier. But, a careful reading of available data suggests a low-end estimate of about 30%.
That’s an awful lot of companies stuck in a sales slump. Here’s the good news: You really can train your way out of the ditch. Please read on.
If you have a question about how to make sales training pay off with spectacular results, click on “Ask The eCoach“.
We are committed to your professional success.
Author of Action Selling
How to Train Your Way Out of a Sales Slump
- Prepare your team to receive the training.
- Without motivation there can be no significant learning. Reps must see the need to change, and they must believe in the benefits they will receive.
- Give them pre-work to prepare them for the training experience. This will allow you to focus more on the application of new skills during your training.
- Train your team on the specific, teachable skills that are required to excel at sales. The five Critical Sales Skills identified by Action Selling are: Buyer/Seller Relationship; Sales Call Planning; Questioning Skills; Presentation Skills; Gaining Commitment.
- Focus first on the bottleneck in your sales cycle that is causing the most trouble. Does the problem involve prospecting calls? Needs assessment? Presentations? Something else? As an example, if the bottleneck you are working on is “needs assessment,” a focus on questioning skills would make sense. (How, exactly, do you analyze your sales cycle to identify the bottleneck? More on that in an upcoming edition of eCoach.)
- Create exercises that allow each rep to put their own spin on the activity. Use an open-architecture method for exercises, where reps are guided to create their own solutions.
- Start with the fundamentals, and quickly build upon each skill using relevant examples. Once you’re sure the baseline skills exist, expand the training to fit your specific situation.
- Create role-play scenarios using actual client situations so that reps have a chance to practice on deals they are currently trying to make.
- Reinforce the training, using field-based exercises and follow-on meetings to check for transfer of the learning into the reps’ daily activities. This is the phase where training most frequently breaks down.
- Assess and Certify the skills that are learned and then used effectively in the field. You’ll never know if your training was the reason for improved performance unless you measure learning. Surveys don’t work. You need an assessment.