The most successful Sales VPs cite “coachability” as the #1 asset in sales reps. Not industry knowledge, not ability to close – coachability is the characteristic that most accurately predicts sales success.
If you want a top-performing sales team, you can’t just hire a team of sales stars – you need to hire a team of smart, articulate, and coachable people with high potential, who you then need to invest in upfront with a fantastic training program.
But there are so many sales training programs out there – how do you know which one will work the best for your new hires? We’ve compiled a list of the components that the most successful sales training programs have in common.
Set & quantify business goals
Before you create a sales training program, you need a clear understanding of your business goals. Be very transparent and clear about these goals during sales training and get your new hires pumped up about achieving these objectives as a team. Make sure you quantify them so your reps can track measurable improvements and get excited about the company’s growth.
Assess learning needs
How experienced are your trainees in sales, in your industry, and so on? You’re bound to get a more honest sense of their learning needs by having them fill out an online survey than by reviewing their resumes and cover letters. On this survey, ask specific questions: “What experience do you have selling subscription-based products?” as opposed to simply “What experience do you have in sales?”
Provide clear sales process & methodology
Your job as a Sales VP is to give your sales reps the tools to succeed, which includes creating and providing them with a clear, documented sales process and methodology.
Your sales process should include standardized scripts and democratized sales metrics, which will align your individual reps, make them more efficient, develop stronger skills through repetition, offer next-step guidance, and give a sense of company commitment and support.
Your sales methodology can come from any number of sales philosophies out there – at InsightSquared, we require every one of our new sales hires to learn the Challenger Sales Model by reading “The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation” by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson. Having your reps read a book on the sales methodology you choose will teach them a lot about how you want them to sell, and it will unite them around a common cause.
Deliver relevant & engaging content
The content of your training program should not be centered around your product or company. Instead, it should promote sustainable skill improvement in sales in a way that’s tailored to your company and the sales situations your reps typically face. Make sure your content is engaging by switching up the content medium. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Conduct workshops for hands-on practice
Have your CEO come in and tell the company’s story
Watch a great talk given by a sales leader
Have your new hires sit in on sales calls with top performing reps and hold a Q&A afterward
Provide ongoing coaching & reinforcement
Your reps will be much happier working for you if you invest in their professional development by continuing to coach them and reinforce their education and success throughout their tenure. Not only does ongoing coaching make your reps happier, it will greatly influence your bottom line: according to Sales Benchmark Index, sales teams that report receiving more than 3 hours of coaching per month exceed their goals by 7%. Reps receiving 0-3 hours of coaching per month reach only 91% of their goal on average.
Hold your reps accountable
Give your sales reps incentive to change, grow, and improve so they don’t revert back to their old habits. The best way to do this is by making all sales data transparent to the whole sales team or, preferably, the whole company. During sales training, teach your reps the value of measuring everything – and driving performance and good habit-forming – with data analysis.
Let them know that being held accountable for sales performance is in their best interest, not just the company’s: ultimately, problems will be diagnosed earlier and they will be coached more effectively.
Include these components in your sales training program, and your high-potential new hires will have the tools they need to become highly successful on your sales team. Do you agree that these are the top components of sales training programs? What would you add?