Overhaul Sales Training to Win and Retain More Customers

August 27, 2015 | Ann Lambert
Overhaul Sales Training to Win and Retain More Customers

It’s the age of the customer, and digitally empowered buyers expect salespeople to have the skills and knowledge to deliver REAL value and solve complex problems—not just pitch their product. But, according to a new report from Forrester Research, Overhaul Sales Training to Win and Retain More Customers, that’s a more difficult feat than many organizations bargained for.

So, why is it that “developing relevant, competent, and productive sales forces is a far more difficult challenge than it was five or 10 years ago”?

Forrester cites the following as primary reasons:

  • The changed buying environment demands new sales competencies

  • Adapting salespeople is a massive scale challenge

  • Current training methods are inadequate

While identifying the problem and its root cause(s) is half the battle, the report goes on to discuss two key barriers that sales enablement professionals face in actually tackling the challenge. In order to successfully overhaul sales training and meet the needs of their reps, their customers, and their business as a whole, sales enablement must acknowledge and address these realities:

One-size-fits-all training does not prepare all salespeople for success

It’s true—“Every salesperson in your company entered their current role with a unique combination of education, knowledge, skills, life and business experiences, and personal traits. There is not a sales team in the world that consists of people who have exactly the same capabilities.”

So, why are sales teams trained as if that were the case? Not only does each sales rep have a different skillset and learning style, they have different roles that require different levels and types of knowledge. If you expect reps to meet the very unique needs of their customers, you first need to adjust your sales training program so that it meets reps’ unique needs as well.

Discontinuous training leaves gaps in salesperson preparedness

First, there’s new hire onboarding. Then, reps will attend the mandatory training sessions at your company’s annual sales kickoff meeting. Then…what? How are they kept up-to-date on the latest product messaging, competitive information, and executive communications? How do they prepare the week, the day, and (more realistically) hours before their next prospect meeting?

Forrester cites a great John D. Bransford quote: “Learning can no longer be confined to the years we spend in school or the hours we spend in the classroom: It must be lifelong, life-wide, and available on demand.” This is truer than ever for sales training; continuous learning is a must if reps are going to meet the growing demands of the digitally empowered buyer.

Ready to overhaul your sales training? Download the full report for actionable suggestions that will help you overcome these barriers and win more business.

To see how Brainshark helps companies increase sales productivity with more effective onboarding and training, click here.

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