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Determine the Effectiveness of Your Sales Efforts - 25 Crucial Questions You Should Be Asking (Part 5 of 6)

Training, Training and more Training—The Real Secret to Success

We’ve taken a strong look with some very revealing questions in a myriad of areas that determine the overall effectiveness of your sales efforts. However, the real driver of success to any team is the players on the team. Every team needs quality players that believe in the mission of the team and act in unison while moving towards a shared vision of where the team is going. All great teams and players have one thing in common, they never stop training. They are always seeking ways to get better! Training, training and more training is the hidden factor that drives the growth of the best of the best sales organizations.

Let’s look at the questions you should be asking of yourself and your organization concerning the training of your sales and sales management teams.

1) Have you ever trained your sales managers on a sales management process? By the way, sitting behind a desk and pumping out excel spreadsheets, and insisting on the implementation of data in a CRM system is not a sales management process. Most organizations promote top-performing salespeople into the role of sales management. In return, they manage the way they sold. However, effective sales management requires a completely different skill set. The ability to lead, guide, coach and inspire is tantamount to success in this demanding position. Yet, many organizations do not provide training on the critical processes and skills needed for success in the sales management role. When is the last time your organization invested in training the sales management team?

2) Do you regularly provide training to your sales team?
Successful selling requires salespeople to be on top of their game every single day. Every successful athlete knows that the key to winning is practice and honing their skills to compete at the highest levels. Selling is no different. Training provides the fuel that keeps the engine running. Without it, salespeople become complacent and since it is human nature to take short cuts, will begin practicing bad habits. In order to really sustain a high performing sales culture, you need constant training. Every sales meeting provides you with a chance to implement a quick training session. Always remember that the best training takes place in the field with one-to-one coaching.

3) How well do you understand that sales training is more than just product training? I have seen many organizations that claim they constantly provide training to their sales team. The problem is that all they really do is provide product training. The sales team is a walking, talking, animated brochure. They know all the features, specifications, and other technical mumbo jumbo that prospects and clients really do not care about. New hires are provided with up to three weeks of intensive product training and then told to go sell. That’s what we hired them for. Well, did you train them on how to sell? Did you teach them how to be a true resource to your prospects and customers or did you send them out to just be product pushers? Selling has changed and so has the skill set needed to be successful in today’s marketplace.

4) What are your plans for assessing your sales team’s gaps and areas needed for development? In order to effectively coach and develop your team you need to know each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

5) Do your individual salespeople seek to improve their own skills through self learning? The best professionals in any chosen profession never stop learning. They continue to train and learn off the job. Self learning and training may encompass a variety of areas, from learning about business, to studying industry trends, to being involved in associations and a host of other learning opportunities above and beyond their normal working hours. Even if they just read the business section of the newspaper on a daily basis, this shows initiative. Praise them for doing so and do your part to provide a structured training program.

At the end of the day, salespeople are the individual’s that will be driving your organization’s revenue. Isn’t it worth the investment to provide these individuals with the skills and tools to make them, and ultimately you, successful?