5 Takeaways from a Sales Management Training


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I spent last week at a Sales Management training event with a client. The conference was unlike any I’d attended before. Both the content and the attendee engagement around the content were refreshing. Talent development is a key differentiator heading into 2014. This client is positioning itself to cater to the New Buyer. As a Sales Operations leader, you must be allocating the right resources to training. Here are 5 key takeaways that made this training a success. They set the organization up to hit their objectives now.

sales management training

  1. Turn managers into leaders
  2. Gamify the training
  3. Train on Social Selling
  4. Demand Sales Force Automation adoption
  5. Understand the buyer

This One-on-One Coaching Tool was customized by sales managers facilitating the training. It will help your SMs prioritize their coaching sessions. You will receive the tool by signing up for this year’s Annual Research tour here.

    Turn managers into leaders

    What percent of your SMs time is spent in the field? How many hours are spent coaching and developing talent vs. creating and reviewing reports? The CRO asked his managers for “half their world”. 50% of their time should be spent with their reps. One-on-one coaching, field rides, succession planning. Sales managers are leaders and need to be on the front lines with their reps. A commitment was made to be out with reps as often as possible. It will be easy to plan coaching sessions after you have observed them selling.

    Tip: Whether your goal is 50%, 60% or 70%, optimize the time a SM spends with his AEs. AEs spending more than 3 hours/month with a SM average 107% revenue to goal.

    Gamify the training

    A month before the training the SMs were broken into 3 teams. Each team was awarded points for completing pre-training prep. Orange Crush showed up on Day 1 with a slight advantage over Blue Apple. Each SM completed readings, quizzes and brought examples from their market. Throughout the week they earned more points by bringing value to the discussion. A room full of competitive sales leaders produced an engaged audience.

    Tip: For a training to work, attendee engagement must be high. Nothing’s worse than a training that turns into a 1 way conversation. Turn your sales training into a competition. Ensure that you’re investment pays off and will stick.

    Train on Social Selling

    Social Selling is here to stay. Many sales leaders have already begun to see the benefits. Reps that have optimized their social brand and shared relevant content are connecting with prospects. Connections are being secured and referrals are being generated. Sales calls are being scheduled through LinkedIn InMail. You can promote your personal and corporate brand, and promote your customer’s brand. Seeing how much success sales leaders are having in Social Media was eye opening.

    Tip: Hire sales professionals that have bought in to Social Selling. Relationships are being made and nurtured at light speed. Revenue is being allocated based on social cues. Get your reps selling online and capture that revenue for your team.

    Demand Sales Force Automation adoption

    One SM gave us these great words of wisdom: “If you don’t like Mickey Mouse, don’t work at Disney Land.” Your CRM system is no longer a recommended tool. It’s a requirement. Work cannot be done without utilizing the tool. You join the 21st century or you are already a decade behind. For those organizations that are still having trouble, there are tactics for improving adoption. Routing all messages and generated leads through the technology will force them on. Keeping key collateral and processes in the system will get them used to the platform. However you do it, be sure it’s non-negotiable. Heading into 2014, technology adoption is business as usual.

    Tip: Use your CRM in everything that you do. It is a tool that can be leveraged to build your sales strategy. Integrate proposal programs, lead programs and pipeline forecasts in the system. When a rep’s job is contingent on the CRM, they will adopt.

    Understand the buyer

    Understanding your buyer and the way they buy is a necessity going forward. The SMs created email copy focused on a buyer and his/her key needs. Using their Buying Process Maps they answered questions their buyers are most likely asking. Being able to create targeted messages is a key differentiator.

    Tip: Cut through the clutter. Mass messaging is a thing of the past. Your sales team must be offer benefits that resonate with each buyer. Understanding how a buyer makes a purchase decision allows you to create targeted messages.

    The sales landscape is dramatically shifting. Organizations are beginning to train their team to sell to the New Buyer. Having a team that can sell online to their buyer’s is essential. At your next training, keep these tips in mind to ensure you make your number.

    Republished with author's permission from original post.

    John Kearney
    John Kearney serves as Senior Consultant at Sales Benchmark Index (SBI), a sales and marketing consultancy focused exclusively on helping B2B companies exceed their revenue targets. John has helped organizations implement Talent Development and Sales Process programs that have led to revenue growth of 20% and increased efficiencies within the sales team.


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