With millennials making up 75% of the workforce by 2025, it’s time for organizations to rethink how they are preparing them for success.
Sales role play exercises are one of the classic approaches that sales teams have used to help reps practice and prepare for real-world buyer interactions.
Now, with many sales organizations working at home for an extended period of time, there’s been a shift from in-person to virtual coaching sessions. And if your company is getting fewer leads right now, it’s even more critical that no matter where reps are working, you can validate their ability to move deals from lead to close.
Technologies such as sales readiness platforms with video coaching capabilities, as well as video conferencing and collaboration tools, can ensure there’s no interruption to facilitating effective role plays. These platforms also help to recreate the in-person ‘water cooler’ talk that reps often depend on for tips and tricks on how to handle selling situations.
Check out 6 sales role play exercises to try with your reps that can be conducted no matter where they’re working today.
6 Sales Role Play Exercises to Try with Your Reps
- Objection handling
- Buyer personas
- Getting to power
#1. Objection handling
Objections are one of the toughest responses for reps to react to – that is, if they’re not adequately prepared. You can design sales role play exercises that cover many of the common objections that the sales team receives (and has trouble handling) or tailor the exercise to a recent scenario that a rep has been faced with.
A video coaching tool makes it easy to issue a role play to multiple reps. For example, ask them to respond to a common buyer objection, such as, “I need more time to decide so I’ll be putting this decision on the back burner for another 6 months.”
Sales managers should look for a rep’s ability to transition the objection and discover why the prospect is choosing the status quo. Then they can provide a score and specific feedback, just as they would during an in-person role play exercise.
By issuing the question to multiple reps via video coaching, you can also capture the best responses and send them out to the team afterwards as a learning opportunity.
Negotiations are challenging for most reps but if they’re not prepared to find a middle ground with the buyer, deals can easily stall.
To practice these scenarios, create a role play simulating a buyer asking for a product discount based on a lower price they’ve received from a competitor. This can either be done live via video conference (and you can ask reps to raise their hands to respond) or through a video coaching activity.
Managers should look for reps to show that they understand how to use a ‘give and get’ negotiation strategy, such as getting the buyer to commit to a longer subscription in exchange for lower price.
The discovery process will be successful if reps know how to ask good questions and confirm information they’re hearing. And since discovery is so crucial to moving deals forward, you’ll want to validate those skills within each individual rep.
Creating different role plays for each rep can help hone their individual discovery skills. Video coaching activities are a simple way to organize this because you can ask each rep to show how they’d respond to buyer personas with different trigger points.
Managers should look for reps to demonstrate that they can answer questions such as, ‘What are the top three discovery questions you would ask to identify the problem? or ‘What are some requirements based on the buyer’s company, industry or current situation?’ The rep should ultimately be able to summarize the business challenge using your company’s sales methodology.
You can also design group role plays via video coaching to help reps navigate common discovery scenarios. Useful examples from this exercise can then be used as onboarding content.
There are a variety of challenges that can arise when you’re contending with a competitor during the sales process, especially because many industries and markets have new players entering all the time and changing the landscape. Sales role plays can help ensure reps are up to date when a buyer asks them about competition.
If multiple reps have come up against a competitor that offers a similar product at a lower price but with lesser capabilities, create a group video coaching activity or ask reps to act out the scenario in your next meeting or training session. The key is to see if reps can highlight the power of your product’s capabilities and how they will help solve the buyer’s business challenges.
The best responses can be added to a training course or curriculum that covers key information about this competitor. Or you can ask reps that performed the best to act out the scenario in your next live or virtual training session.
#5. Buyer personas
Knowing your buyer personas and how to have effective conversations with each of them is an important skill for reps to have.
To test reps’ skills, conduct a role play requiring them to tailor a conversation to a new or challenging persona. For example, if you aren’t having luck getting in front of marketing leaders, assign a video coaching activity where reps should describe the persona’s top challenges and how your product can solve them.
You can also take the role play a step further by asking reps to submit a video of themselves (or recite it live via video conference) delivering a pitch that’s designed specifically for marketing leaders and evaluate how they were able to highlight areas of your product that would help that group reach their goals.
#6. Getting to power
A common hurdle in the sales process can be reps’ ability to ‘get to power’ to accelerate deals.
Sales role plays that can help with this skill can be centered around ways to enable your champion to connect you to the decision-maker. Assign a video coaching activity asking reps to demonstrate how they’d broach that subject with their champion.
After the coaching activity, you can hold a team meeting to review the video responses, discuss whether the reps’ approaches were effective in ongoing deals and continue to hone best practice techniques as time goes on.