April 26, 2013

Training Your Sales Staff To Increase Sales

In order for your sales team to succeed, they need the proper tools, support and most importantly, training. Training your sales staff to increase sales should never be a one time, introductory course. To really make a difference, sales training should be ongoing, not only throughout slow periods but also during times of peak times as well.

By initiating ongoing sales training your staff will remain updated on the products and services that you offer, as well as gain new knowledge and procedures that can replace any of the old and ineffective ones.

Ongoing sales training can be costly, and for this reason many small business owners feel that they cannot allocate the time or the money to provide proper training to their staff. Like the majority of business expenses, it is the ROI, or return on investment, that needs to be carefully evaluated. If training can help your staff to close more deals, than profits should outweigh the investment in the time and money it takes to provide ongoing training.

In order to be successful in increasing sales, sales staff needs to be knowledgeable in the following areas: product and service knowledge, industry knowledge, sales skills, and any of the tools and technology that are available for sales staff. Therefore, a well-rounded training program, which will not only help to get new staff up to speed but will also improve the skills of experienced staff, should include the following:

#1 – Product Knowledge Training
In order to be successful at sales one needs to have an almost intimate knowledge of the product or service they are offing. The best way to gain this knowledge is through ongoing product knowledge training. Sales staff should not only be trained on new products or services as they are added, but they should also have continual retraining on existing ones. Better still, if your staff is also able to utilize the product or service in their daily lives, they will have a better understanding, and therefore be able to relate to the customers needs and wants more accurately.

#2 – Industry Knowledge Training
Not only is it important to train your staff on the products and services that your business offers, but it is also a good idea to keep them abreast of what is happening in the industry. This includes such things as providing them information on what the competitors are offering, and how your products ands services differ from what is already on the market. In order to successfully close a deal, sales staff need to know, and be able to explain to potential customers, how your particular products and services stand out from the crowd.

#3 – Sales Skills Training
When it comes to sales skills training, even an experienced sales force can benefit from ongoing training. As mentioned earlier, one of the advantages or continual training is to help existing sales staff to learn about new techniques and remove any of the old ineffective ones. Skills training can obviously be customized for new staff and existing staff, but including both novice and pro in on the training sessions can be beneficial to both groups of the team. For novice sales staff in particular, it is always a good idea to develop some kind of shadowing program, where an experienced member of the sales team is shadowed by a new recruit in order to fully understand the policies, procedures and sales techniques that will make them a success. This includes everything from listening in on sales calls to attending sales meetings with existing clients.

#4 – Sales Tools and Technology Training
If you already implement any type of time management or customer relations management software, it is beneficial to provide continual training to your team. Many of your staff may already be utilizing these or other tools, but may not have a complete grasp on how to use the program to its fullest. Even bringing in a professional trainer to provide a session on something as simple as Excel, will help staff to become more efficient and therefore better sales people. Again, the benefits of investing in ongoing training definitely outweigh the overall costs associated with it.

Ongoing sales training will help your staff to increase sales. Training needs to be a continual process that includes new and existing product and service training, industry updates, sales skills and technology training. With the right training program your sales staff will become much more knowledgeable about your business and its offerings, and therefore a much more effective sales team.

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