Sales Training: 6 Signs Sales Reps Didn’t Pay Attention

August 23, 2017 | Lauren Brousell
Sales Training: 6 Signs Sales Reps Didn’t Pay Attention

Sales enablement departments put a lot of work into creating sales onboarding, training and coaching programs for their sales teams. But they aren’t just doing that out of the goodness of their hearts – they’re doing it because it’s their job to support the sales team and make them more productive and help them close more deals.

According to Forrester Research, executive buyers say only 20% of salespeople they meet with are successful in achieving their expectations and creating value. So clearly there is a gap somewhere between sales training and what happens in sales meetings. There can be many reasons reps aren’t paying attention to sales training but it’s the job of sales enablement to make sure reps understand and absorb the material, no matter how many times it takes.

Here are 6 telltale signs sales reps didn’t pay attention to their sales training.

1. They complete their training but get “stage fright”

This rep completes her sales training and passes sales coaching assignments with flying colors. But for some reason, she gets the “deer in the headlights” look as soon as she interacts with a buyer.

Rehearsing for sales meetings is only half the battle – training is not fully complete until reps can perform well in front of sales managers, peers and most importantly, buyers. Add open ended questions to training assessments (instead of multiple choice) and use video coaching to help reps practice for primetime.

2. They ask the same questions over and over again

This rep is always asking where to find tools, resources and content. It’s clear he didn’t pay attention to the training that outlines how and where to find things and would rather take the easy way out by asking you.

It’s understandable if this rep is still going through onboarding – but if he’s still asking these questions after several months on the job, then it becomes unacceptable. Remind the rep about the original training course and add an assessment to aid knowledge retention.

Related: 5 Onboarding Mistakes that Lead to Reps’ Early Departures

3. They deliver an ineffective and inaccurate message to buyers

When it comes to speaking with buyers, this rep says whatever he wants. He uses baseless generalizations about his company and product, relies on buzzwords and skirts around objections – ultimately delivering an ineffective and inaccurate message to buyers.

This rep needs to take the value messaging and sales methodology training again, as well as related coaching challenges, to make sure he is aligning the company’s story, product features and business value to the buyer’s business challenges.

Related: 10 Tips for Creating Better Sales Content

4. They can’t differentiate your product

This rep may have completed training around your company and products, but if he can’t articulate which features differentiate your product or how your product helps buyers achieve business goals, it won’t be long before the buyer walks out the door.

Point this rep to competitive intelligence training courses and set up coaching challenges that ask him to practice pitching to a buyer who is considering a competitor. 

5. They sell to the wrong buyers

This rep sells to buyers who don’t fit into any of your company’s target personas. This could be because they aren’t aware of the personas and their business challenges or they latch onto whoever they believe will buy instead of cultivating the appropriate champion at the company.

Selling into the wrong buyers can be detrimental in a few ways. For example, if the rep sells into a completely different persona than your targets, you risk lower ROI and more churn. Or if they sell into a buyer that is not a decision-maker, they might be end up being abandoned by the buyer at the last minute. Reiterate persona training and have this rep practice via coaching challenges where they pitch to each of your key buyers.

6. They’re stuck in their old ways

This rep was successful at her old job and thinks the same approaches will work at your company. But your company has its own way of doing things with specific sales methodologies and value propositions for its products. To be successful, she must follow the sales process that’s outlined in onboarding and training, instead of falling back on her old habits. Have this rep take the sales methodology training again and practice pitches through coaching challenges.

For more information, check out our exclusive brief: 6 Reasons Your Sales Reps Lose Deals They Should Be Winning.

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