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    By Chris Strandin August 29, 2022

    Selling More with Less

    There are lots of secrets, keys, methodologies, and frameworks on the market for sales training. Many of which have really good ideas, and have made many individuals and companies wildly successful. 

    While I really like certain methodologies, they are only one component of a training program that will dramatically move the needle for your sales organization. 

    Here are the key elements of a great sales training program:

    1. Covers all the bases - every tool a rep will need
    2. Customized to your company, prospects, and products
    3. Internal cohesiveness - value props by persona, objection responses with your stories
    4. Quiz, test, certify the whole team
    5. Adoption & continuous improvement plan

    For more details and suggestions, read on.

    Covers all the Bases

    Sales reps today, especially junior reps, are more productive in less time when they have everything laid out for them. The dichotomy of less ambiguity in messaging with more freedom of creativity works really well for many reps. The best way to empower these reps is to provide sales training and tools designed and built for their products, customers, and values. 

    Examples of sales tools to equip sales reps with include, but are in no way limited to:

    • About the company and industry
    • Prospect Personas
    • Mapping Business Pains to Business Benefits
    • Value Propositions & Elevator Pitches
    • Handling Objections and Story Telling
    • Winning against Competitors
    • Negotiating and Closing

    For more information on sales playbooks in general, this page provides general information, or for SRi's solution, see the Paint-the-Picture® Playbook

     

    Customized to Your Company, Customers, Products

    Generic templates are a good place to start, there are some classic sales questions that work in a lot of situations. e.g. The Three Whys, "If my product could do X, would you be willing to Y", "Is there anything else outstanding, or are you ready to move forward?".

    However, your product and customers 

     

    Internal Cohesiveness

    One step past alignment, internal cohesiveness refers to how the tools work together to provide an even better sales messaging framework. It's one thing to have value propositions, but which prospect personas respond best to which value propositions? You should know the objections you're likely to get, but what stories can you tell to totally dismantle the objection? 

    How the tools work together is an important step in building a robust training program; it ensures that not only has the messaging been through all the way through from a corporate level, but that each individual rep doesn't need to reinvent the wheel on how to message the product. 

    The most common messaging misalignment I hear is "We have the best product on the market, at the best price, with the best support team to take care of you". This can't possibly be true - if you have the best product, your customers expect the price to be higher. If you have a really low price point, it's expected to be missing a few features or have second-tier support. This is a universal example, but they happen in individual product messaging scenarios all the time. 

    Quiz, Test, Certify the Team

    Often an overlooked step, testing and certifying the team on the training content is a critical step in ensuring the material was absorbed during training. This helps the reps understand what they missed, and managers know who needs additional help or practice.

    Below are examples of several types of certification we like to use with clients:

    • Face-to-face sample calls and meetings, mimicking real-life sales calls 
    • Extensive quizzes on terminology, messaging, personas, value, etc. 
    • Executive presentations given by the sales rep to an audience of trainers
    • Filling out sales tools with the appropriate information based on a sample scenario
    The purpose of these exercises are two-fold:
    1. They highlight exceptional sales reps from the underachievers in a way that basic training cannot do
    2. They guarantee that your sales team is well-versed on their company value, selling statements, sales tools, etc.

    Adoption & Continuous Improvement Plan

    If the training doesn't get adopted, a lot of time, energy, and effort got wasted. By the same token, if nobody updates the playbook with new competitors, products, messaging, etc. it will eventually be so out of date it becomes obsolete. 

    Both adoption and continuous improvement require planning and dedication from the leadership team. Great training and certification process are just the beginning. Incorporating the training into refresher courses, lunch and learns, weekly sales meetings ensures continuing adoption, while open-sourcing the tools with version control can be a great way to collaboratively continue to improve the tool relevance. 

    Conclusion

    Following these 5 steps of creating and implementing a great sales training program is a dramatic step towards increasing rep yield and success, no matter the market. SRi has built and implemented countless successful sales training programs, and we would love to talk to you about leveling up your sales training program. 

    Topics: Sales Playbook / Training

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