According to the 2017 Singapore Salary & Employment Outlook report, many companies in Singapore are facing a potential drop in sales due to slower market conditions. In the light of this, the report argues that leaders will have to surmount the challenge of motivating and retaining sales teams.
Sales training will play a central role in this battle as sales representatives seek new skills to help them negotiate tougher market conditions. But sales managers cannot afford to rely on outdated or generalised sales training models that lack engagement.
Here, we set out the key training challenges facing sales managers and how to solve them.
The challenge: Sales representatives don’t see the point
Most sales representatives are results focused and favour time in the field over training seminars that don’t seem to have a direct impact on sales. Many see training as wasted time that’s keeping them away from what they need to be doing to achieve their immediate sales targets. The result is poor engagement with training courses.
The solution: Align training to specific KPIs
Increase engagement levels among your sales staff by clearly demonstrating how each training course they attend will help them develop the specific skills they need to meet stated KPIs. For example, reassure them that a training course aiming to improve their lead scoring skills directly relates to their ability to increase their client acquisition rate. This will ensure they understand how the training outcomes will boost their performance.
The challenge: Training courses are too broad
Busy sales people don’t tend to be focused on big-picture strategy. Most are under pressure to reach their weekly or monthly goals and need to concentrate on the daily tasks that help them to do just that. Asking them to attend broad-based, all-day-long training courses that try to address too many issues at once can be overwhelming.
The solution: Split training courses into small modules
Make your training courses more digestible by dividing them into small modules that focus on one concept or skill at a time. For example, separate top-level sales strategy workshops from more specific skills-based training. This will make it much easier for your representatives to learn and implement new skills as part of their daily work.
The challenge: Sales training doesn’t solve customer problems
While some sales trainings focus on imparting technical knowledge of the product or service being sold, others tend to favour out-of-the-box sales techniques or generalised sales formulas instead of actually breaking down how sales representatives can identify and solve their customers’ problems.
The solution: Make your sales training customer-centric
Put your customers’ problems at the centre of your training programmes. Teaching your sales staff about common problems your customers face and how they can tailor your product or service to provide solutions to those problems is more powerful than having them learn a sales script.
For example, providing communications-focused training will give your staff more confidence to steer away from scripted templates in order to have more human conversations with leads that drill down into their unique challenges. This will subsequently give them an opportunity to demonstrate how your product or service can solve those challenges.
Make your sales training relevant and engaging, and your sales staff will be more likely to embrace it. This will result in better overall performance for them as well as your company.