It’s a fact.

SiriusDecisions discovered a conclusive link between high-performing sales teams and ongoing training. Organisations with sales teams that consistently post results are twice as likely to engage their talent with regular training opportunities.

In the last two posts we reviewed the benefits of adopting sales methodologies and introduced you to five of the most popular.

In this post we’re going to show you how to plan for training and review sessions., regardless of the methodology you adopt. This will ensure that everything is understood, best practice is observed and results are achieved.

Assessment and forecasting

The first thing you are going to want to undertake is a review or audit of current performance and current skills within your team.

It’s important that three things are 100% transparent and clear to all:

  1. How your team currently performs in all areas related to the methodology you are introducing.
  2. The results you will be assessing the success of this on.
  3. A step-by-step map showing how the adoption will take place and be reinforced.

We’ll consider some of the tactics and resources that will help you implement your sales approach in the next section, here we’d like to concentrate on the groundwork.>/p>

For assessing and forecasting purposes you can:

  • Use honest, individual self-assessments to gain a picture of your team’s perception of their own skills and the challenges they face.
  • Review your own records of strengths, weaknesses and results taken from your regular one-to-one meetings and performance reviews.
  • Collect sales pipeline data to identify realistic and achievable benchmarks – these will form the basis of your goals and objectives.

Developing training resources

Before you go at this full throttle, it can be useful, particularly if you manage a large sales team, to arrange for a test drive.

Seeing how your new methodology performs on a small scale will help you identify areas of friction or challenge that may arise.

This vanguard implementation need not be all ‘hush, hush’. You can use it to signpost to all the team where things are heading and be open and honest about the results.

Having just two or three of your team working on this will help highlight any ruffles that need ironing out before they develop into deep, embedded creases that could derail the project. With a good wind behind you it may also confirm the motivational increase in sales (or reduction in cycle length etc.) that you are aiming for.

Once you are ready to roll out you can ensure your training plans will address likely hiccups and empower your team. A combination of these three tactics should cover your requirements:

  1. Playbooks
    These include manuals, video tutorials, sample scripts and the ongoing development of a centralised resource where all things related to your sales methodology are located.
  2. Group training
    These sessions should range from high-level principles to deep-dives into workshops to practice the day-to-day application of techniques.
  3. One-to-one coaching
    Ongoing coaching tailored specifically to the challenges and successes of each team member will help ensure progress, engagement and motivation.

Applying new skills

It’s important to bear in mind that any new approach to sales is likely to be greeted with anything from wholehearted, passionate adoption to resentment and cynicism.

That’s why those ongoing one-on-one coaching slots are going to be essential.

New ways of selling will require many to step outside their comfort zone. Try to encourage your team to approach this playfully – it is something to try out, to test and, although you have seen great results from it already, there is no expectation that everything will be bang on from the get go.

You should find, however, that as the methodology is internalised and accepted you can gradually ease the training stabilisers off. This may not happen all at once, but as soon as it has it is important that your team are encouraged to accept greater accountability for their development and results.

As part of this, you can increase partnering with peers to spread best practice. If you have vastly ramped up one-to-ones these can settle back down a bit, but by no means should you consider phasing these out.

After all, the day we stop developing as salespeople is the day we sign our last deal.

And continual development of potential is the name of the game here – whether it’s called SNAP, SPIN, challenger, Sandler or conceptual.

Do you need a prospecting tool or service?