A successful sales training program not only involves providing the relevant content that will empower your sales team to reach new levels of excellence, but it requires state-of-the-art techniques that keep participants actively engaged in the presentation and learning at peak capacity.
In today's highly competitive markets, sales training is more critical than ever to a company's success. Your sales force must perform at a much higher level than was considered acceptable in the past. And that's where an effective, state-of-the-art training program comes in.
THREE FORMS OF SALES TRAINING
Sales training can take three basic forms:
- Classroom instruction, the traditional group setting
- On-the-job training, a less formal, often one-on-one activity in the field
- Technology-based instruction, often using the Internet, for computer-based, multimedia, televised or video training and webinars
There is no universally preferred means of training, since your sales people are likely to learn differently. Some may embrace technology; others may prefer the classroom setting. Probably least used these days is on-the-job training because of its informal, typically unstructured approach.
Regardless of the training format, one key element is to make sure your participants are fully involved in the presentation. Your trainer should be a facilitator rather than a lecturer. That means relying more on asking questions to help participants learn rather than simply telling them what they should know. This involves a series of carefully planned, open-ended questions designed to encourage discussion and critical thinking among the participants.
Another powerful learning tool is the case study — real-life examples that put the instruction in context. Experienced sales people can be excellent sources for meaningful case studies to ensure they are relevant and up to date. Case studies can be especially valuable when teaching new hires.
Because proper sales training is so important to your company's well-being, you may want to consider partnering with a sales advisory firm to assist with training. Many consulting firms have developed specialized training programs, built on the latest best practices that may be just right for your industry.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in July 2011 and has been updated for accuracy and relevancy.