Making Sure Your Sales Team is Competent
New product launches vs. sales staff incompetence
When I managed the launch of new products, time and again, I was frustrated by the very same thing: despite all the efforts that we had made to develop exhaustive and efficient sales documentation for our sales staff, few took the time to read it. It’s a problem we see across industrial sectors. Sales reps are constantly consulted by clients, during internal meetings, and bid prep. And, they can come up with an endless list of excuses for not having taken the training.
Problem: sales staff can’t sell what they don’t understand. They will never have the confidence to commit to a new product they don’t grasp for fear of losing face. So, how can you organize an effective new product launch with a sales team doomed to fail?
It pays to choose e-learning and online continuous training programs.
E-learning solutions bring new approaches to bear to help sales staff more readily develop their skills at their own pace. Short, interactive and mobile-enabled training capsules can make training programs more attractive for sales staff.
I recently came across an article by Katryn Asna on the Salesforce Canada blog: Why Training Your Sales Team is an Investment Worth Making. This post cites some particularly interesting statistics from the 2016 Salesforce State of Sales Report and very clearly demonstrates why sales staff training proves to be a profitable investment. Asna explains how essential it is for sales reps to buy in to a continuous improvement program. The best results are achieved when sales reps are constantly exposed to training resources. Rest assured that, even if you don’t train your sales teams, your more successful competitors will. Different types of training programs —in-class or document-based —foster improved knowledge acquisition depending on each individual’s abilities.
These days, in addition to generating new prospects and promoting client retention, sales reps must become their new customer’s trusted adviser. To succeed, they must personalize the user experience drawing on skills acquired through training.
How to verify your sales team’s skills and increase productivity
Verifying the skills acquired through training by sales teams remains a challenge. The ideal approach would be to require sales staff to earn a minimum grade on a cumulative exam during each new product training program. The management of certifications, however, can quickly become a counterproductive bureaucratic burden.
The training management platform vivainnovation.com makes it possible to validate skills acquired by sales staff during training as well as to automatically issue certifications. The platform enables you to set the time spent on the courses, to score quizzes and questionnaires, and to compile a list of frequently asked questions. As a result, your Friday morning sales meeting will be far more productive. Rather than training your staff on a new product, you can focus on sales and marketing strategies, targeting clients, and breaking down resistance.
ViVa Innovation can help you implement a simple and efficient skills management infrastructure for your sales team. Contact us for more information.