The success of any sales team training ultimately comes down to sales leaders understanding two factors: what your team needs to know, and when they need to know it. Too much “what” and your sales team can rattle off facts and numbers for days, but won’t know how to execute on them. Too much “when” and teams will be in the right situations at the right time, without the knowledge on how to close the deal.
Addressing these two questions enables sales teams to discover learning subjects that can be applied in a productive way with real impact on revenue and overall business health. The “what” of sales team training may need to come first, but make no mistake that “when” is just as important. For now let’s start by discussing how the organization of a sales team can make learning that much more effective.
Roles, goals, and responsibilities. Oh my!
Occasionally figuring out the lay of the land in a sales team is just good business practice. Before implementing a training program, it’s best to take a step back and ask: who am I working with?
Of course you know all the people in your office (I hope!), the question is more about their positions. Defining the shape of your sales team is the basest level of building effective sales team learning. Let’s use the sales team here at Lessonly as an example. Our organization looks something like:
- One Chief Sales Officer
- Two Directors of Sales
- Nine Account Executives
- Fourteen Sales Development Representatives
- One Sales Intern
These titles are important for the fact that everyone on our sales team has different roles and responsibilities, but are all working toward the same goal. Our intern’s role in that goal might be a little different from my own as the CSO, but our mission is similar. The next piece of the team training puzzle is explicitly defining what teams need to do in their jobs. Bear with me for a moment and ask yourself this: what exactly do I need my employees to do in their roles on this sales team?
Listing out responsibilities like this starts to look like a rough outline of how the sales process works. Who does the prospecting? Who reaches out to outbound prospects? Who travels to see clients? Who coaches and trains the rest of the team? Be careful not to go too far down the rabbit hole with this, try and stick to the responsibilities that really define what that roles are on your team.
Here at Lessonly, we’ve found that effective training plans incorporate shot-calling in the form of goals. This gives our team something to aim for and exceed. For example, Kyle is an Inbound SDR on my team. His responsibilities are to answer direct inbound calls, handle live chat requests, and prospect customers who have found Lessonly on the web, among other things. If his goal was to source $40,000 in annual revenue every quarter while consistently setting 10 demos per week, we’ve got everything we need to make him better at his job. And when Kyle is better as inbound sales, the company benefits.
Learning’s investment shows quickly
With roles, goals, and responsibilities set, the areas for training start to present themselves. Picking on Kyle once more, he’s going to need to know a few things specific to the Inbound SDR role such as:
- How to use Intercom, Salesforce, and Lessonly
- How to assess customer pain points and needs
- How to demo our product
- How to be cordial on the phone and online
These types of statements are perfect fodder for sales training. Quick, digestible Lessons on subjects like these are exactly the type of learning that makes someone better at their job. Instead of putting a customer on hold to ask myself or another manager for clarification on pricing, Kyle can refer to a Lesson on the subject and quickly find his answer. With more memory recall like that, Kyle is going to remember that piece of information faster and provide future prospects with better service. Little improvements like these add up in the long run, building a team that embraces learning in the interest of doing their jobs better.
Getting a training plan like this into action sets the stage for improvement down the road. Once reps hit a goal, the question changes from “what worked?,” to “how can we do it better?” Think of it as graduating from Sales 101 to Sales 201. Learning begins to focus on more specialized and niche information that managers can use to really tip the scales in favor of your team. Instead of setting 10 demos per week, Kyle out-performed his goal and scheduled 15 because of a certain email script he was using. That’s when we take that script, figure out what made it work so well, and send it to the rest of our team in the form of a Lesson. Now we’ve taken Kyle’s success and translated it across the entire sales team. That’s the type of effect that sales learning can have for your team.
So take a few minutes and start sketching out the shape of your sales team. Some of the steps in the process might seem a little self-explanatory, but once you know exactly who you need to train and what they need to learn, you can figure out how to make them better.