5 Key Symptoms Your Team Needs Sales Training

 The first clue that your team needs sales training is, of course, the lack of sales and money. But beyond these glaringly obvious items, there are other red flags which indicate that a formal sales training program (rather than firings) needs to be implemented in a hurry.

Here are five key symptoms which indicate that your salespeople need some more development in the craft of sales.

1.       Disgruntled Customers

 According to Dale Carnegie, when customers start complaining, it’s a sign that salespeople need more training. A lot of this has to do with fulfillment, but salespeople often play a role when a customer is upset, which is why customer satisfaction is increasingly used to determine sales bonuses.

One reason for disgruntled customers is that the salesperson set the wrong expectations at the outset, usually by over promising something just to get the sale. This reflects a lack of skill and reeks of desperation. Competent salespeople simply don’t do this — they know what their firms can deliver and use other tactics to get their closes. Sales training can teach under performers these tactics so they improve.

2.       Missed Sub-targets

 When salespeople fail to hit sales quotas, heads tend to roll. However, smart sales managers can detect a potential disaster well ahead of time by paying attention to the sub-targets which lead to the actual sales. These are the activities which salespeople should do day-to-day, and they all can and should be quantified.

Lead generation goals — such as calls, mailings, site visits, and presentations – should be reported daily to unit leaders, and tabulated weekly for managers. If salespeople aren’t hitting the targets for these basic activities, which means they aren’t doing the fundamental tasks required of them as professional salespeople, how in the world are they going to meet sales quotas — voodoo?

Generally, poor production and activity specifically suggest a poor understanding of the company’s formal sales process and how to execute it step by step.  Sales training can help.

3.       Outdated Approaches

 Some sales principles are timeless. Others are outdated and no longer fit the modern customer-salesperson relationship or digital world.  If your sales team’s mantras and resources are more classic than innovative, it might be time to abandon old habits and update training resources.

In addition to exploring advice from contemporary sales gurus, sales managers can consider enlivening training with sales apps, sales websites and intra-office social media instead of old standbys, such as printed manuals.

One caveat: if you have an old, “crusty” salesperson who, despite being ornery, brings in the sales…leave him or her alone. Forcing them to change will likely cause some resentment and might backfire by confusing them by new methodologies. Never dismantle or change something which is working!

4.       Poor Performance During Observation

 When a sales manager has the opportunity to attend a sales presentation and observe a salesperson in the field, he gets a realistic idea of how that representative presents himself, relates to prospects and negotiates.  If many flaws are noticed, that indicates a specific type of sales training may be needed: situational.

Often, sales teams do not get enough situational training to prepare associates for what it’s really like when they finally interact with a difficult client. Interactive training sessions where members of the sales team can simulate roles in a mock sales scenario allows salespeople to gain confidence, practice handling obstacles, and observe how their peers respond to critical situations.

5.       Administration and organization is out

 A salesperson who seems capable of excelling at the sales process and still blunders basic necessary things like record-keeping, software proficiency, or even organizing their office space will fail in the long term.  Mistakes will be made, leads lost, and customers will be angry because they will fall through the cracks. Sales training is needed to teach a salesperson with these characteristics how to use technology and organization to make their lives easier.

For those who are truly lost and disorganized, but still bring in the money, training an assistant might be a better choice than forcing a salesperson to change all of their habits.

Sales education can be part of a recurring or spontaneous schedule, depending on what deficiencies managers note. Whether trained in groups or solo, salespeople stay alert and sharp when they get regular advice and grooming.  In addition, salespeople stay motivated because they are learning skills to overcome the inevitable obstacles and failures they face daily in the world of sales.


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