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Let’s be honest, selling isn’t easy.
But fear not! Sales training makes everything easier! Right? RIGHT?
Ok, maybe it’s not the magic bullet you want, but investing in sales training for all your sales reps and managers is a smart business decision, no matter how you slice it.
But it isn’t only sales training that you should be thinking of, oh no. You should also be considering what resources you need to help drive, motivate, improve, and inspire your sales team to close those leads and give customers the best experience possible.
Introduction to Sales Training
Your sales training should be the best process you have for your sales team. It should cover things like onboarding for new hires, and how to adapt to changing markets. In addition, sales reps should know how to utilize the tools that you provide so they can recognize gaps, understand and learn from customer interactions, and improve their performance over time.
Understanding the best way to train your team is no easy task, but this functional guide should lead you down the right path.
Different Types of Sales Training
Sales isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. There are many different types of sales training, namely sales coaching seminars, sales coaching courses, sales management courses, and various sales coaching software and tools that are meant to hone skills, introduce new skills, or increase efficiency. Since there are so many different offerings, it’s important to focus on the content and delivery style of the training, perhaps even more so than the type, as quality can vary widely.
Our breakdown below is a high-level overview of what most types of sales training bring to the table and should help you choose a few potential types that’ll work for you and your team when you’re ready to take the plunge into sales training.
Sales Coaching Seminars
Sales coaching seminars are very flexible and range from online to onsite training, or a combination of both (though these days, seminars are typically online). Sales seminars can focus on a specific sales topic, for instance, cold calling or inside sales, or you can choose more broad topics like general sales coaching.
However, sales seminars can feel more like listening to a motivational speaker, so if getting your sales team pumped up is your goal, sales seminars are quite good at it. Sales coaching seminars can be free or paid, and whether you choose to go the free or paid route depends on what you need for your sales reps to be successful.
What you should look for in a sales coaching seminar:
- Whether you need online or in-person training and if the seminar offers the option you need (although most are online)
- Whether you should spring for a paid or free seminar (this will depend on your sales coaching needs, but a free seminar is always a safe choice if you’re budget conscious and ok with the time commitment)
- Whether you need the seminar’s content to be focused on a sales topic or more broad (both types are usually readily available)
- How many sales reps can attend at one time
- Whether the content of the seminar meets the needs of your sales reps and business
- Seminars can sometimes feel more like listening to a motivational speaker than training, so be sure to vet the content and speaker carefully by reading reviews and reading the speaking notes before the seminar
Sales Coaching Courses
Sales coaching courses are a bit different from seminars, as training can take place over days, and feels more like a classroom-type learning environment than listening to a motivational speaker.
Sales courses can range from a couple of hours to a few days or even a week of training, so it’s important to understand the time commitment of whatever course you want to sign up for. Thankfully, sales coaching courses typically offer some sort of certification or certificate at the end, so it’s great for a sales professional’s resume.
What you should look for in sales training courses:
- A structured outline or syllabus that clearly explains what will be taught
- If you’re worried about engagement, choose a course that requires active participation (like group work or answering questions live)
- Whether you prefer an online environment or in-person, and if the course you choose offers what you prefer
- Whether a certificate or certification is offered at the end, which can be useful for resumes and building trust with clients or customers
- What the time commitment is, for instance, if the course takes place over a few hours or days
- How many sales reps can attend a course at one time
Sales Management Courses
How can you expect your sales reps to be amazing if you don’t have the training and experience to back them up? Sales management courses are just as important, if not more, than training for your sales reps.
Sales management courses focus on things like effective communication, how to build and develop continuous sales training for your reps, and hire sales reps that fit right into your team’s culture and drive for selling.
As you’ve probably guessed, sales management training courses tend to focus more on taking those fundamental soft skills and building on them to guide your sales team to success.
Sales management courses can be online or in-person similar to sales coaching but tend to be offered in a course or program format rather than a seminar.
What you should look for in a sales management course:
- If the course focuses on building soft skills, like effective communication with your team, developing relationships, adjusting your management style to suit different sales reps, etc.
- If the content of the course matches sales leadership skills that you need to hone, such as developing customer strategies, presentation skills, sales ethics, etc.
- Does the course focus on old-school sales strategies and techniques or new ones?
- Is the content relevant to today’s customers and your business’s audience?
- What the time commitment is for the course
- Whether the course is online or in-person
Sales Coaching Software, Apps, and Tools
Technology always makes things easier and more efficient right? Ok, maybe not always, but it’s pretty essential to have a good technology deck to help your sales reps perform at their very best.
Here are some essential technologies that you can’t go wrong with providing to your sales reps.
Sales coaching software
Sales coaching software helps you and your sales reps review calls and refine processes, and identify challenges, all to provide better customer service and improve sales close rates.
When integrated with a CRM like Ringy, sales coaching software does things like analyze customer interactions and provide an overview of what was said to give you ideas on how to improve, and offers analytics and other insights to help provide an exceptional customer experience, close more sales, and even onboard new sales reps faster.
Sales coaching apps and tools
Customer Relationship Management System (CRM)
CRM is probably the most important sales tool in your tech deck. A good CRM organizes lead information and integrates with all your other systems, such as a Point of Sale (POS), email, VoIP and softphone software, google analytics, and even your website. Getting a CRM for your small business is an investment you won’t regret.
These integrations ensure that your leads are not only organized properly but that they are easy to view and segment so that when your sales reps contact them, it’s on a more focused and effective level, giving them the best chance of moving that customer forward through the sales funnel.
Email marketing, especially when it comes to sales, remains an extremely important and effective marketing tool. 59% of B2B marketers say that email marketing is their top revenue generator. Automating your email responses when necessary allows you to connect with more leads, it allows you to send emails in a more timely manner complete with personalization to cater to specific leads.
VoIP and Softphone
Look, nobody wants to be tethered to a desk all day long making and receiving phone calls. VoIP, in combination with softphone software, is exactly what your salespeople need in a mobile and connected world. VoIP allows your reps to make and receive calls over the internet, and softphone software means they can make and receive calls on their computer or smartphone (or any internet-connected device) as long as they download the softphone app.
What’s more, the softphone software integrates with your CRM, giving your sales reps the information they need about their customers with a few taps or clicks.
Business text messaging is a great way to increase sales revenue. From having more conversations with your leads to working smarter and being more productive with automation, there are so many opportunities for business SMS for every type of business.
Challenges of Sales Training
Sales training isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There can be real challenges that you and your team have to overcome to earn success in the sales space.
Challenge 1: Engagement
Probably the biggest challenge with any training, and sales training is no exception, is the lack of engagement from employees. Let’s face it, nobody likes doing boring training where they don’t feel challenged or interested. One of the ways you can combat this challenge is to carefully choose the training that has elements that are proven to be more engaging to learners, like gamification which is putting video game elements into training courses. How cool is that?
Challenge 2: Recognizing your team’s strengths and weaknesses
Every team has strengths and weaknesses. This doesn’t mean that your team isn’t good, it just means they are regular human beings with things they are great at and things they need to work on. Being able to recognize what challenges your team has without judgment and choosing training to address those challenges is paramount.
Whether your team needs help with guiding leads through the sales funnel and closing more sales, or they need a clearer understanding of sales processes and how to utilize sales tools, think about the biggest challenges your team has and select training that aligns with helping them solve those challenges.
Challenge 3: Active listening
Honestly, active listening is such an important skill to have in sales. Prospects often have trouble articulating exactly what they want or need, and it’s up to the salesperson to pick up on those subtle cues during conversations that are sure to be key to closing the sale later on.
Active listening techniques
- Respond with a summary of what they just told you. The best way to do this is to paraphrase what the client just told you in your own words. However, try not to stray too far from the language they use (e.g inserting jargon).
- Confirm with the client that you heard them correctly. Once you’ve summarized what the client told you, it can be as simple as saying “does that sound right?” or even more straightforward like, “did I understand you correctly?” This will help ensure both you and the client are on the same page regarding their situation.
- Ask a follow-up question. If you’re confident that you understand the client and both of you are on the same page, then it’s a good time to ask a relevant follow-up question. Not only will this solidify to the client that you care about, but it will also give you relevant insight into their business.
Challenge 4: Limited budget
Sometimes you have to work with what you’ve got and make sure your training falls within your department’s budget. The good news is that sales training can range from free to the highest price point you can think of, depending on what type of training you need. That might seem overwhelming, but if you consider that training is more of an investment rather than an expense and that some forms of training (like online) can be cheaper than others, then you can more easily focus on what training works for you and your team.
Challenge 5: Geographical location
These days, geographical location isn’t as big of a challenge as it used to be. Investing incompetent online training courses means that if your team is spread across a large geographical area, they can still all receive the same training. Just be careful if you choose live online training, as time zone differences can potentially be an issue.
Three Effective Sales Training Resources
There are tons of sales training resources available online, and with so many options available, it can be hard to find the gems. From online training courses to ebooks, here are some popular options:
1. Hubspot Academy Inbound Sales Certification
The Hubspot Academy Inbound sales training course is not only free but also comes with a certification upon successful completion that you can proudly display on your LinkedIn or resume. Most companies have heard of Hubspot and recognize them as a leader in business communications, marketing, and more, so it’s an easy recommendation for any sales rep looking to book their skills.
2. Centrical Salesforce Gamification
Engagement is one of the challenges that plague sales training courses, as it’s easy to get distracted and bored when you’re viewing PowerPoint slide after slide or reading giant walls of text. Centricial’s sales training course is just one example of gamification done right, with promoting healthy competition between sales professionals and an enhanced AI platform that identifies where salespeople need some extra help.
3. eBooks and Free Downloads
The internet is like the ocean, ever-changing, and extremely huge. Who wants to wade through the internet looking for the best sales books and free downloads? Thankfully, Saleshacker has a bunch of awesome recommendations, from free downloads to popular favorites like How to Win Friends and Influence People and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change.
How a Sales CRM like Ringy can help with Sales Coaching
It can be tough to pinpoint what exactly your sales team or an individual salesperson needs so that they can improve. In addition, it can be time-consuming to gather data from individual sources and compile it together so you actually have something tangible to show your sales team or salesperson that you’re not just making things up.
A CRM like Ringy is the best tool to help you with sales coaching, and here’s why.
1. A CRM keeps all the data you need in one place.
Forget foraging around various systems and pieces of software to gather individual data. With a CRM, everything’s available in one place, and you can often see a birds-eye view of the most important information you need via a dashboard.
Here is a screenshot of Ringy’s demo dashboard. As you can see, the dashboard shows various information for an individual sales rep, like leads, any appointments scheduled, account balance (business specific), and more.
2. A CRM Helps you Identify Opportunities for Improvement
In the screenshot below of Ringy’s dashboard, the tabs on the side allow you to switch between different modes of information so you can check more information like calendars, SMS, and marketing to gather more information about performance.
This allows you to identify opportunities for improvement in how leads are nurtured and customers are reached, like drip marketing, automation, and more, which gives you a clearer understanding of how your sales reps are performing in each stage of the sales process.
3. CRM integrations increase efficiency
When your CRM integrates with software that you already use, it makes it easier to not only see everything in one place but to continue to use software that you’re comfortable with using. For instance, Ringy’s CRM integrates with Google Calendar, so you can see exactly what’s going on without having to switch around to multiple applications.
Regardless of how long you or your team have been in the sales industry, there’s always an opportunity to learn something new. Though the fundamentals of sales haven't changed much over time, the way we target, reach, and communicate with customers is ever-evolving, and training helps sales professionals stay on their toes and evolve alongside the technology that supports their work.
Ready to get started with a clean, efficient CRM? Book a demo with Ringy today!