Sales training can be one of the most critical investments you make for your team. It can also be one of your biggest headaches.
Salespeople often resist training, viewing it as a hassle that takes them away from their work. In fact, according to Training Industry, more than a quarter of salespeople feel that their sales training is ineffective.
To make matters worse, most training is disconnected from the sales team’s daily life and unique needs. Once it’s over, salespeople return to old activities and behaviors, and lose most of the benefit of the skills they were supposed to learn.
The good news is that the right sales training company can design a training program that is actually effective, that returns substantially on your investment, and that your salespeople will enjoy engaging in.
If you’re looking for a sales training partner, here are the 7 traits to look for, to ensure you get the results you want.
1. A Track Record of Proven Results
A great sales training company will be proud of their proven track record. They should be glad to demonstrate the ROI they accomplish for their clients, and to show you how they do it.
Look for a company that solicits feedback from clients, tracks performance data, and is happy to share their reports.
Types of information they should be glad to show you include:
- Historical performance of salespeople against quota both before and after training
- Percentage of participants who say they win new accounts because of skills learned during training
- Percentage of participants who can quantify performance improvements due to training
- Percentage of participants who say they use what they learn in training on a daily basis in their work
2. Industry Expertise
The needs of your sales team are different than those in other industries. The language you use, the roles of your sales team, and the processes you follow all depend in part on the environment you operate in.
A sales training company with expertise in your industry is better positioned to customize your training to fit the specific needs of your team and to help them accomplish stronger results in your unique environment.
3. Strong, Aligned Company Culture
Your sales training company will interact closely, and build relationships, across your sales organization. You’ll depend on them not only to customize and deliver effective sales training, but also to respond to the individual needs of your salespeople and managers, to resolve problems and conflicts as they arise, and to take good care of your people.
A company with a weak or poor company culture simply can’t deliver reliable, high quality results, and interacting with them can be inconsistent at best and dreadful at worst. Ask prospective sales training partners to share with you their company values, and to show you how they make it part of their core culture, and not just words on a wall.
Before you sign the dotted line, pay attention and notice how well their actions throughout your initial engagement match their stated values.
4. Privately Owned
In a world where big corporations with big marketing budgets increasingly swallow small and mid-sized companies, the value of a privately owned sales training company is easy to miss. The reality is, a privately owned company has a lot more incentive to make you happy than a large corporate entity, plus they have the flexibility to respond to your unique needs.
When your sales training company is privately owned, the owners have a vested interest in doing what’s best for you, and not just what pleases distant shareholders. Their reputation is on the line. Additionally, a privately owned company with a strong company culture can be more responsive and is less likely to let your organization fall through corporate cracks.
5. Ease and Flexibility of Training
Like anything else, training is only effective if it’s actually used. Many sales training programs are complex, overly structured, difficult to customize, and contain more bulk than you actually need. On the other hand, an “out of the box” packaged training system may seem like an easy and cheap solution, but these one-size-fits-none options can’t meet the unique needs of your sales team, and won’t return well on your investment.
Under any of these conditions, salespeople will resist the training and fail to gain the benefits you want for them. Look for a company with a proven training process that is simple, flexible, and easy for your team to access and use.
6. “Try Before You Buy” Options
Even if everything looks great on paper, the best way to know if a particular sales training company will live up to expectations, is to give it a try. Look for “try before you buy” options such as public seminars and other assets that can be sampled by individuals for free or low cost. Once you’ve had a taste of the company’s approach and the quality of its offerings, you can move forward with greater confidence.
7. A Complete Solution for Your Entire Team
Your front line salespeople are important, but they’re not your complete sales team. Your sales managers are a critical multiplier for sales performance, and sales management training is just as critical as salesperson training. Likewise, your customer service agents interface directly with customers and can be an invaluable extension of your sales force.
Look for a company that offers modules specifically for these critical sales roles in your organization. You also want them to be able to conduct hiring and training assessments, to help you improve and augment your existing human resource pool.
Don’t hurry through the process of choosing a sales training company. Sales training is a substantial investment, with the potential for massive ROI. But if you make a mistake in choosing your partner, you can introduce headaches and expensive disappointment.
We’d love to show you how we work with our clients to create flexible, customized training solutions that meet all of your needs and return proven ROI. Contact us today.