What’s the Difference Between Role-specific and General Training?
Sales training typically accomplishes one of two things.
The training will either provide learning around a specific skill, or the training is focused on improving the learner’s ability to succeed in their entire role.
The latter approach encompasses the former, as it would be impossible to help someone do their job better without focusing on some aspect of their job.
The problem with generalized, task-focused training is that not everyone in your organization may need training on that specific skill.
The way people are measured, what they’re responsible for in terms of results, and the way they get results are all different.
Role-specific training ensures that everyone in your organization receives unique training so they can work together and accomplish a common goal. This becomes increasingly important for companies who rely on the joint efforts of Marketing, Sales, Account Managers, and Customer Service, not to mention all the people managing all those departments, to reach their goals.
Today’s customers don’t make one decision to do business with you. They decide after every interaction with various departments in your company whether to continue doing business with you. One research company found that 76% of customers said they’d stop doing business with a company after just one bad experience.
That means everyone in the company must be customer-centric and focused on selling to some degree. It also means when choosing a sales training program, one size doesn’t fit all.
That’s where role-based training comes in.
The Different Roles Within a Sales Team
Before diving deeper into the benefits of role-specific sales training, let’s take a quick look at what the most common sales roles in a company require.
The sales manager is focused on getting results through others. This means they need to learn primarily about leadership and how to manage salespeople. They need training around hiring and building a team, setting expectations, and providing feedback.
The sales rep is responsible for generating revenue. This typically comes from new customers, meaning their training must be focused on consultative selling techniques. They require a standard process that they can follow, with a common language or terminology to describe the various steps and stages of the process. A step by step process gives the sales rep a guide to follow, and also serves as a grading rubric to let them know if they’re off course.
Customer Service Representative
Customer Service typically gets involved when a customer has a question or challenge, meaning they need incredible listening skills. Depending on the specific responsibilities in the role, they may also need training on the differences in fielding incoming or placing outgoing calls, as the skill sets that lead to success there are different.
Sales Development Representative
Sales or Business Development is responsible for gaining new market share, increasing revenue, entering new markets, and finding new partners or clients. Similar to a typical sales representative, this role requires strong consultative selling skills, as there are nuances depending on whether they are working in B2B or B2C environments.
Customers will sometimes be transitioned to Account Executives who are responsible for strengthening customer relationships, farming for new business, performing account maintenance, and handling difficult situations. They may serve as part Sales Representative and part Customer Service Agent to their customers.
Company and/or Sales Team Specific Roles
Larger companies may have administrative assistants who perform clerical tasks generated by other roles. There may also be Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) or dedicated personnel who present solutions to larger clients. While not specifically responsible for finding new customers or maintaining relationships after the initial sale, SMEs can play a pivotal role in the buyer’s decision-making process.
Benefits of Role-specific Sales Training
As you can see, people in each of the above positions benefit greatly when they understand the specific role they play as it relates to acquiring, maintaining, and growing sales.
The greatest obvious benefit to a company comes in the form of higher revenue. The bottom line can quickly grow when Marketing increases the website conversion rate by 2%, the Sales team increases margin by 4%, and Customer Service reduces churn by 10%. Small gains will compound in value over time as customer satisfaction increases along the entire buyer’s journey.
Better Close Rates
Many factors can lead to better close rates, but the best indicator that your close rates are about to improve is when your entire team uses the same selling process.
As an example, our IMPACT Sales Training teaches Sales Professionals multiple factors that contribute to better close rates, including aligning the buyer’s journey to the seller’s process, identifying the buyer’s preferred communication style and adapting to it, and understanding buying motives based on buyer wants and position in the corporate structure.
That information, when applied, will undoubtedly increase the Sales Team’s close rates.
The same concept can be taught to other roles in an organization like Account Management or Customer Service, but with role-based training, the application of the concepts will change.
More In-depth Knowledge
When it comes to training in any role, there are highly specific situational circumstances the learner must be ready to handle if they’re to be effective.
Our sales training programs are designed with these role-based nuances in mind. Customer Service Reps learn how to identify new potential business and how to transfer a lead back to sales. Marketing Teams discover the six stages of selling used by the Sales Team, so they know how to improve marketing collateral.
It’s very difficult to teach specialized knowledge if everyone in the company is in the same training.
Focus On Specific Skills
While everyone in a company is working to benefit customers, there are unique role-based skills required in each department.
Salespeople waste an incredible amount of time working with unqualified prospects when they haven’t defined the characteristics they are looking for. When you get your Sales Reps and their Managers on the same page, however, they can have highly productive, short conversations determining why a prospect isn’t moving forward.
The real-world application perfectly mirrors the classroom scenarios because the specific skill can be directly addressed during training.
Teaching each role individually creates synergy when those groups are in the field working and selling together.
Improve Employee Retention
Sometimes employee turnover occurs because people aren’t trained to be successful.
2022’s job market saw a record high with two job postings for every unemployed individual in the country.
In an employee market (or any market for that matter) it’s good to remember the motivations of your current or potential workforce. Just as customers have different motivations for buying from your company, employees have different motivations for working there.
Millennials sometimes value training as much as compensation. With more Millennials in the workforce than any other generation, you need to factor training into your compensation packages.
Role-based sales training is focused specifically on the learner’s day-to-day job responsibilities.
Because of this, people pay closer attention to the material. It’s less abstract and makes more sense intuitively. They walk away saying things like “The training really spoke to me and gave me what I needed”.
A 2022 study found that hands-on activities, gamification, and group discussion resulted in active learners retaining 93.5% of the taught information, compared to 79% retention for passive learners.
When people can implement successful selling, coaching, or customer service strategies that increase sales, revenue goes up.
Learners are always subconsciously asking themselves “how does this apply to me?” If they can’t find an answer to that question, they will mentally check out of the training and check in on their email instead.
Even if role-based training does cost more of your training dollars, your return on investment will be higher because relevant content and retention are directly related.
Better Employee and Team Communication
Just as every industry has its own language and terminology, each role within your organization has its own dialect as well.
That may not seem like a big deal until you realize that there are action steps connected to specific words.
Here’s a common example. Marketing works to generate a “lead”, who they expect the Sales Team will promptly call.
The Sales Team, however, only calls on “qualified prospects”. They may call a lead to discover if the prospect is qualified, or through research may determine a “lead” is unqualified and not worth a call.
The argument that ensues begins with either Sales claiming the leads are bad or Marketing lamenting that Sales doesn’t follow up on the leads that are sent to them.
A common language around selling would stop this argument from ever happening in the first place. If both Sales and Marketing used the term “qualified prospect”, and understood what that meant, they could have productive business conversations.
Sales could tell Marketing why the leads were unqualified. Marketing could create better web forms, or website copy to attract a more qualified audience.
Each would understand the other’s job, how their responsibilities are connected, and what it would take for both departments to work together and win.
Develop Individual Strengths and Overcome Weaknesses
No manager can coach someone using a process they themselves don’t understand.
This is why we offer specialized Sales Coaching for Managers. While the Sales Team learns how to use the IMPACT Selling System, the Managers learn how to enforce the techniques and help struggling salespeople identify and work on areas needing improvement.
With the proper tools and hiring assessments, they’re able to build better teams in the first place. It’s best to understand the characteristics of the role you are trying to fill so you can avoid wasting money on an employee who won’t be around six months from now.
Turn to The Brooks Group for Sales Training
To be successful in today’s economic climate, everyone who works with customers needs consultative, customer-centric sales training.
The IMPACT Selling System is a six-step sales process that aligns with the modern buyer’s journey. The terminology and philosophy of IMPACT are taught in all our role-based training programs, with additional scenarios in each one that are designed to help individual learners thrive in their unique role within your company.
Our role-based training programs include: