Sales Training: Fundamental Skills For Professional Development

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Sales training programs improve the skills of your sales team, support customer understanding, and increase revenue. Your team will benefit from solid training during onboarding and at regular intervals throughout their time with your company.

Sales managers prioritize professional development by building effective training programs for their teams.

Why is Professional Development Important For Sales?

Research shows that 94% of employees will likely stay at a company that provides opportunities for career advancement. Sales training programs are a great way to attract and retain talented employees at your company. 

Benefits of prioritizing team training for your sales team include:

  • Motivates sales staff: When you invest in training and development, your staff feels valued and motivated to achieve better results. A study by The Rain Group found a correlation between employee training opportunities and higher closing rates.

  • Upskills existing talent: An effective sales training program allows you to provide your staff with the right skills to excel on the job. Professional development expands the team’s collective skillset and increases expertise without hiring new employees.

  • Prepares salespeople for leadership: Professional development equips your employees with leadership skills to grow their careers.

Proven Strategies to Develop Your Sales Team

Sales leaders are monumental in the development of their sales teams. Developing your team involves implementing techniques to produce extraordinary results during the sales process and training SDRs to deal with challenges.

Sales leaders can apply these tactics to upgrade business performance: 

  • Role-playing exercises 
  • Public speaking
  • Mentorship programs 
  • Sales call review
  • Rejection training
  • Closing techniques
  • Sales process iteration
  • Growth tracking

Role-playing exercises

Role-play activities prepare salespeople for events that may arise on a call.  This exercise also shows your reps how to extract valuable lead information without coming off as pushy or interrogative. 

Sales leaders use role-playing for the following scenarios:

Role-playing scenarioGoal
Extreme sales negotiations Provides mental and emotional preparation for tough sales situations.
Breaking up with prospectsTeaches SDRs to let prospects go without awkwardness. 
Dealing with stalled businessTeaches sales reps to probe and identify causes for delayed purchases.

Public speaking

Salespeople need to make calls and presentations, organize product demos, and confidently share their business value with decision-makers. Communication is a critical factor in sales success.

You can develop public speaking through team presentations and sample demos. 

Mentorship programs 

New sales reps develop with guidance from experienced colleagues. Building an in-house mentorship program increases new reps’ confidence to deliver results. 

Sales call review

Recorded sales calls are assets to improve your team. Reviewing successful and unsuccessful calls allows the team to identify common errors and brainstorm prevention techniques.  

Rejection training

Sales leaders have mastered how to deal with rejections and should be able to teach their team members the same. 

A series of rejections may dampen team morale and negatively impact sales. Coaching your sales team to maintain a positive mindset is a proven way to increase effectiveness and conversion rates. 

Closing techniques

Sales professionals have developed strategies to close deals over the years. Applying these methods in creative ways can produce outstanding results for your team. 

Closing Technique Description 
Summary closeEmphasize the value and benefits of the product/service.
Now or Never closeOffer a special benefit and create urgency around the deal.
Sharp angle closeUse prospects’ requests to finalize deals.
Question closeUse probing questions to reveal and eliminate prospects’ objections.

Sales process iteration

Your sales process follows predetermined steps that tactically move prospects to buy your product/service. Repeatedly running through your sales process allows your team to learn efficient ways of pushing through each stage and completing the sale. 

Growth tracking

Tracking your progress is a surefire way to improve your sales team. Setting individual and team goals makes it possible to measure performance over time. You can work on your targets, implementing one for each period and recording the impact on sales performance. 

Components of a Sales Training Program

Training programs are intended to strengthen key aspects of your sales cycle. To produce exceptional outcomes, development programs must contain the following components:

ComponentDescription
Sales processLearn about prospecting, lead generation, and sales funnel.
Customer experience Understand buyer personas & identify clients’ pain points. 
Product & market detailsKnow unique selling points for your product/service. 

Five Steps to Creating a Sales Training Program That Works

It is your responsibility, as a sales manager, to implement a successful sales program. This is critical for onboarding sales workers and the professional growth of existing employees. Below are five crucial steps to creating an effective sales training program.

1# Set a training timeline

An initial sales training schedule can range from 14 to 90 days, depending on the information’s intensity and volume. An optimal onboarding period for new workers usually takes about 90 days, while sales refresher training for experienced personnel can last around two weeks.

A training timeline is vital for keeping the team inspired with the right goals.

2# Define training objectives 

Sales leaders should set clear objectives for each training. You can share these goals with the team and enable SDRs to perform self-evaluations during and after the practice. 

3# Create a sales resource library

Your sales process will improve with a resource library of scripts, articles, books, presentations, and information about your product/service. You can store all this content on a cloud-based drive for easy access. 

4# Identify performance gaps

As a sales manager, you should know your team’s strengths and weaknesses. You can factor these into their training to help develop any necessary skills. 

5# Provide feedback using performance indicators

Feedback is essential for your sales team’s professional development. Your feedback can be from periodic evaluations using performance indicators drawn from the training objectives. 

Essential Skills For Sales Professionals

Salespeople advance professionally by acquiring the right abilities. As a sales leader, you must back your team to develop these hard and soft skills:

  • Effective communication: Salespeople are expert communicators. They must communicate business values clearly, both orally and in writing.

  • Problem-solving: The goal of a sale is beyond the purchase; it is solving the customer’s issues. Problem-solving skills help provide solutions to prospects’ challenges.

  • Negotiation: The sales process involves a lot of negotiating. Arming your team members with negotiation tactics is the hallmark of sales leadership.

  • Sales demonstration: Putting clients through a detailed demo of your product or service may be pivotal for the next steps of the deal. Improving your sales team’s demonstration and presentation skills increases the chances of completing sales.

  • Collaboration: Sales representatives should learn to collaborate within the team and other departments for a seamless sales process.

  • Social selling: Knowing how to connect with prospects on social media is an essential skill for sales professionals to develop. SDRs can optimize their social media profiles to attract prospects and communicate value appropriately. 

  • Relationship building: The art of building relationships is critical to success in sales, especially in B2B industries. Buyers are more likely to pay for a high-value product or service when they can trust your company.

  • Emotional intelligence: Your team’s ability to read and influence prospects’ emotions during the sales process can distinguish you from the competition. Emotionally intelligent salespeople make lasting impressions on customers, increasing the chances of a completed sale. 

  • Technological savviness: Teach your sales reps to maximize CRM, data analysis, and other prospecting tools to boost productivity. 

Bottom Line

Professional development allows sales reps to advance their individual careers, but the results benefit the entire organization. Sales leaders can invest in their team members by creating training opportunities and providing support to improve sales skills.

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