A sales training outline is a tool that many sales management teams use to try and give their employees a specific plan for improvement and retention of new methods and practices within the industry.
However, many executives struggle with the process of determining what should go into the outline, and this may necessitate the use of an outside consultant to identify and organize a list of the most important training techniques and methods to encourage growth at a company.
I often get asked if there is a general outline that should be used or a more specific approach to take that includes each role that is available within the industry. Although there are several underlying principles that exist for any sales training document, there are methods that favor one position over another.
It really depends on who you are training, as there are three basic levels of salespeople.
Different types of salespeople
Your inside salespeople are individuals who are generally in a call center, receiving phone calls or making them to customers. These workers have to develop a rapport with the people who contact the company, and they need to hone certain skills that will improve their level of correspondence with both outgoing and incoming calls.
Outside salespeople would favor a different approach, as there jobs are reliant on a lot more prospecting, going out in the field and a more encompassing sales cycle that has to be adhered to.
The third type of representative is a major account salesperson. They tend to deal with a more extended sales cycle, as it may take more than 16 months for these individuals to completely close a sale. There is a significant amount of time between each step and their training outline has to be adjusted accordingly.
Find out what the objectives are for each group of representatives. Determine what they need to accomplish and what do they need to work on. Everyone is unique, but there are several components that are applicable for training any type of salesperson.
Underlying theme of training
There has to be a systemic sales process for each position, and a clear outline of the goals and purpose of the training is important, as this establishes a standard for representatives of the same type to be held to.
There needs to be something about the specific representative in this sales process, as their individual role within the larger picture has to be something that they can easily identify with. A representative should be able to go through the assessment to find out who they are within the broad scope of the operation.
The entire training process needs to be focused on the representatives taking an active role in improving their skills. They need to do some role-playing, as they have to develop their "sea legs."
At the end we wrap everything up to prepare them for follow-up coaching. The goal is for them to have an experience that will help change their mindset for live training. The follow-up program is designed to reinforce things, so that over a period of time you are going to look for behavioral change.
You want as much interaction as possible, as these people want to talk, share their ideas and be around other people. Construct a sales-training program based around the types of personalities around the class. Make it highly interactive because they need that and they want that.
Role-playing gives them a chance to try these out on their own, get their own place in the sales transaction.
This will help representatives learn new things by actually experiencing them, instead of just being told what to do. It provides a level of self-motivation.