Insights on how to effectively prepare sales teams for customer conversations based on experience working with hundreds of companies and training thousands of sales people and their leaders. The most effective training sessions integrate knowledge transfer, application, skill practice, and change motivation. Creating customized sales messaging content based on the best practices and insight of top performers will ensure the training program creates tangible momentum in the field.
I’m Scott Presse, consulting principal for DSG. As I work with sales and marketing leaders, they’re asking me, “How do we more effectively prepare our teams for customer conversations?” Typically, sales teams are put through the annual product training, and though they may survive this death by PowerPoint experience, what we find it is that very little is retained and even less is adopted in the field so let me share with you some insights that we’ve gained in working with hundreds of companies and training thousands of salespeople and their sales leaders.
First off think about four ingredients. The first is knowledge transfer. What do they need to know? The second is application when and where will they use it. The third is skill practice. How do I use it and how am I doing as I actually practice it and receive feedback in the session? The fourth is change motivation. Salespeople need to be motivated as to why it’s important so as you build training programs, you want to create a learning cycle that allows that session to flow through each of those four ingredients throughout your time with the sales teams.
Now, when you think about building the content you could choose an outside package training program or methodology; however, what we’ve found is that when you can customize the content based on the best practices of your top performers and when that content is launched they see the training, the materials, and the tools fit your selling strategy, your solutions, and the conversations that they’re going to have with customers.
The third element of this is as you bring sales teams together in the face-to-face we recommend that they be organized as intact sales teams with a manager at the table acting as a co-facilitator, literally coaching them on current accounts and live opportunities. It’s not an event with a manual. It’s a leader coaching their teams over what will be probably an 18 to 24-month transformation as they develop those skills in conversing with clients.
When you adopt this approach and some of the recommendations we’ve shared with you today what we find is that it’s based on sound, adult learning principles that say the more relevant that information is the more active the learning process, the greater the adoption will be, and the more effective conversations your sales team will have with customers.