How Important is Sales Training?

In one of my previous write-ups, I discussed sales processes. There is no perfect sales process. No two people have the same selling skill, and it is not advisable to compare two salespersons head-on. I still hold on to the above statements.

However, when we discuss the steps to be followed by a salesperson in the process, the first step that usually comes to our mind is “Prospecting.” Even before a salesperson starts to prospect- a continuous process-, he should do the basic preparation required to venture into the sales journey. This is the preparation step during which he gets trained or upgrades his Industry knowledge, knowledge about the company, the products, competitors, customer segments, personal etiquette, etc.

 Every organization provides proper training to all its salespersons before letting them go into the field. It is being done as a part of the induction training immediately after he joined the organization. But is this one-time training sufficient? Don’t we think our salespersons should be kept updated on every new development? Is it not a fact that to meet the competition and handle the objections set by the customer, the salespersons have to be well informed and updated on the latest trends and developments? This exercise should be incorporated as an ongoing one and should be done once every fortnight by the training and development teams.

One may feel that such activities will eat away the precious time which is supposed to be spent on the field by the salespersons. Here, we have to agree that sales is all about closure, not just spending time in the field and making calls that may not be effective. A salesperson is a contributor only when he closes the sales, not when he makes many calls without closure. Sending an insufficiently trained salesperson to the field is like sending a soldier to the war-front without proper ammunition. He will not serve the purpose and may not survive for long. True in the case of a salesperson who goes to the field without proper training and periodic upgrades.  

Lack of sufficient periodic training intervention also affects the productivity of a salesperson over time. This is one of the undermined reasons for attrition. It is a well-known fact that among all other departments, the sales team members are the ones who face the most rejections during a workday. These employees have to survive many negative remarks and situations to land in a sales closure. Keeping them motivated and training them to overcome the impact of the rejections is an ongoing task of a sales manager. It becomes more relevant for them to be armed with information about their products, company, and competition for them to enhance their closure skills as they progress in their career. Higher closure rates, in turn, will reduce the sales-related expenses and contribute to the profit margins.

As already mentioned, no two salespersons will have the same kind of skills. It is also important for a sales manager to identify the training requirement for each of his team members individually. Giving a one-fit-for-all training may not be sufficient as a sales team progresses in their role. The sales manager will be able to identify the proper members who are a good fit for his team within 4 to 6 months. He should work closely with his team members and identify the areas of deficit. His report should also include a section on training requirements, where he should mention the different training requirements of his team members. The management should prioritize these recommendations and develop the required processes to impart individualized training programs making the sales manager also a part of the process. A sales team is the profit-generating part of any organization should be given the apt importance. Training processes should be formed that focus on upskilling and increasing productivity. It is advisable to have the sales managers participate while developing the training programs.

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