5 Creative Strategies For Sales Training

Posted by:
Anis Bennaceur

Your landscape may be changing fast, and training your reps quickly and effectively has never been more important. Many sales directors do not prioritize coaching, citing a lack of time as the main sticking point. We all want our reps to hit the ground running, but thorough sales training has been proven to be an extremely important factor in tangible metrics like a team’s conversion rates. In 2021 you simply cannot afford to ignore or deprioritize coaching.

At Attention, we confront this exact problem by leveraging state-of-the-art AI to expedite coaching for junior reps through highly efficient, real-time feedback. This saves up time for managers and trainees alike, accelerates new hires, and frees up their schedule for more advanced training. 

Here are five other unconventional methods you may not have thought of to get your reps in fighting shape fast.

1. Watch Rep Footage on Your Own Time: Say Goodbye to Ride Alongs

Managers often spend hours a week shadowing their reps, watching their progress in real-time, or listening in to their calls. Of course, this means:

  • Hours spent listening to ringing phones, hang-ups, and answering machines.
  • Less time that the manager can devote to actually providing feedback or preparing the reps for their next call.
  • Not to mention the butterflies reps often feel when their manager is breathing down their neck- this added factor of nerves often impacts a new rep’s performance so that you don’t get a realistic picture of their capabilities.

When companies have too few hours to devote to sales training anyway, this unnecessary time drain is unacceptable. It’s time to make ‘riding shotgun’ on junior rep’s calls go the way of the dodo bird. Managers can now play back relevant bits of sales calls (omitting all the fluff and voicemail messages) at their own leisure, and devote their time to providing feedback and guidance. You’ll get a more accurate picture of a sales rep’s performance because they won’t be stressed out by the overbearing presence of a manager. 

Better yet, Artificial Intelligence technology can save even more time for managers and avoid the high-pressure conditions of in-person coaching. Software like Attention provides feedback on the spot, like an in-person manager without the stress.

2. Eliminate Sticking Points

One important way to expedite training is to zero in on your team’s weak spots. What are some simple mistakes that are repeated over and over? 

Focusing on identifying a few key common errors can save plenty of time (and money) down the line and make your coaching much more effective. For instance, not asking enough questions or focusing on the value they can provide are extremely common sticking points for junior reps. 

These issues are easy to solve, and addressing them can make your reps’ conversions skyrocket. So instead of getting bogged down in details, try to identify and eliminate the most common sticking points your team is facing, and watch their KPIs soar.

3. Regular Self-Evaluations

Train your reps to be able to recognize their own progress and shortcomings by handing out weekly self-assessment forms.

A quick Google search will yield plenty of templates that you can customize with your own questions. Questions could include things like: 

  • What were the most common objections this week?
  • What part of the interaction do I think is causing me the most trouble?
  • What could I improve for next week?

You should keep self-evaluation forms short and sweet, but also include some open-ended questions so reps can express what they need to improve upon. You can also include an area where reps can list questions they may have about the product or services offered by your company. This will help you find areas of concern and provide guidance as needed.

Beyond that, it’s important to maintain regular check-ins with your reps. They should know they can come to you anytime with questions about deals, pricing or anything else that might arise. Ask them how many prospects they brought in for a demo and if they think there’s anything they could have done differently. If you get the sense that something is off with a lead, ask your reps what they might be doing wrong or how they can improve their approach.

Once you’ve established regular check-ins with your reps, make sure to hold them accountable for their efforts. Your expectations should be clearly outlined and reps should know what they must accomplish each week to meet any quotas or goals you’ve set for them. This is when self-evaluation forms can come in handy. Asking your team to track their own progress and ask themselves what they need to do to move forward will help keep them motivated and focused, and save time for sales managers.

Attention makes this task even easier by tracking a new rep’s progress over time, providing hard data to ground his/her self-assessment.

4. Let your Reps Change Each Other

There is simply too much work to do as a sales manager: the more successful you are, the more of your time is taken up with KPIs, team reviews, strategy sessions, competitor analysis-the list goes on. So how do you get around this? No one likes to let go of their baby but good managers know when it's best to pass certain activities onto someone else. 

An effective way of saving managerial time is turning your best reps into coaches. Peer reviews can be extremely helpful, with team members able to take the lead on aspects of the sales process they are most confident in. They can run account reviews, identify new opportunities and learn about the prospect's business. Few things increase motivation in sales managers more than seeing their reps prove themselves in roles that were once reserved for them-it's a measure of your success as a leader.

5. Regular Product Testing

Product testing sessions are a great way to make sure your reps know what they are selling like the back of their hand, which is an essential aspect of sales coaching. One of the purposes of product testing is to familiarize sales teams with a new release. Product testing could be focused on the most important new feature(s) in the release. A session should take at least half an hour, and be recorded for future use by reps studying the same product. 

The key to value-selling is understanding both the prospect’s needs and the intricacies of the product. The kind of enthusiasm and conviction that come from in-depth knowledge is invaluable and irreplaceable. The salesperson should always know enough about what he/she is selling to not be thrown off by specific questions from an exceptionally knowledgeable prospect.

You can't afford not to invest in your people. Training is the key element of success, and it's time for you to take action. Investing in effective, creative sales training will help them hit their bottom line goals because they'll be confident about what needs to happen next when a customer expresses interest or an opportunity presents itself. Attention uses the latest AI technology to cut training times in half and help junior reps coach themselves.
Click here to try Attention now!

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