Ask even the most successful sales professionals if they had always envisioned a sales career, and more often than not, the answer will be no. Over 15 million Americans work in sales-related occupations, but not many four-year universities offer a sales degree. Few sales people come out the gate ready for a satisfying, productive career in sales.
Everyone Wants a Strong Sales Team, Right?
A strong sales team is vital to the health and growth of any sales-driven organization, but many companies don’t make sales training a priority for several reasons: failure to recognize the value in supporting reps in developing sales skills, lack of expertise in sales training and insufficient resources to conduct training initiatives.
When small and mid-sized businesses do attempt to provide sales training it is often conducted without a defined methodology or a consistent process. Frequently, training is approached in a reactive fashion, to address a perceived issue in sales productivity or a gap in product knowledge, without properly identifying the underlying gap in sales skills. When these organizations attempt sales training, they tend to choose one of two methods below: homegrown programs or the high-priced guru.
The Pitfalls of In-house Sales Training
First, in-house programs tend to be very product/service specific. A new rep starts, is bombarded with information about what he is to sell, asked to memorize endless features, benefits and competitive info, and then given a list of prospects and sent on his way. If the planets align that week, the rep might get a little CRM training squeezed into the mix, assuming there is an individual available and qualified to provide it.
Little emphasis is given to actual sales techniques, so reps leave training with plenty of knowledge about the product but an inadequate knowledge of the basics of selling.
Enter the Costly, Ineffective Sales Consultant
Another common training approach that companies take is hiring an outside sales consultant. The company will spend top dollar on an expert who comes in to conduct a sales boot camp, really just a different approach to product training sprinkled with a bit of sales technique best practices.
This very expensive approach to sales training commonly fails because it is a short-term intensive course with no follow-up training on the skills taught. Moreover, given the high rate of turnover in the average sales organization, 50% of the reps attending a pricy sales seminar will likely be working for a competitor within 12 months of training.
Acquirent’s Approach to Sales Training
Acquirent takes a very different approach to training because it is our core business. We’ve spent over a decade developing our multi-level sales training process and it’s proven very effective.
We start with the proper mindset for a successful sales rep by teaching our inside sales people how to develop the attitude and the grit required to succeed in a sales organization. From asking the right questions and knowing what to listen for, to getting past gatekeepers and overcoming objections, our people are trained in the basics, but they get to build on them, too.
First, we provide assessments; passing our 101 training level is a condition of continued employment. Then, we provide reps with access to training videos so that they can go back and refresh or refine their understanding in an area of their choosing. Coaching is also a significant component of our training. Sales coaches will listen to recorded calls, providing actionable feedback to support a rep’s development, and they will also roleplay scenarios to reinforce the skills learned in training.
Basic training also includes extensive training in tools and technologies, from telephony to use of our CRM, which is built to support sales best practices. CRMs are a major investment, yet most implementations are not designed to support sales productivity.
For those who are ready to learn more, Acquirent provides a second level of training that digs deeper into the art of negotiation, emotional intelligence as it impacts sales, and skills like reverse engineering sales quotas, which helps a sales person understand how to direct activity toward a desired outcome.
Outsourcing the Inside Sales Function
Ultimately, Acquirent’s clients are the biggest beneficiaries of our extensive sales training. Because our people are well equipped to do their jobs, they have higher rates of achievement for their clients and greater job satisfaction. Our turnover rate is often drastically lower than that of a typical in-house sales organization, providing our clients with a much higher rate of return on their investment in sales. And, if we do experience a change in staffing, new sales people are trained in the same best practices, ensuring consistency in the sales process, even through staffing changes.