How to Assess Your Growing Sales Team’s Training Needs
When your sales force is 1 or 2, sales training is easy. Your new hires probably work closely with you and absorb your vision and learn the sales process. All you have to do is lead by example, and your sales duo will follow you into battle. But, when you start to increase your revenue and scale up your startup, you can say goodbye to those easy days of training.
As your company grows, you will be inevitably be pulled away to take on other tasks and the sales training for new team members will be moved over to someone else in the company. Remember this…as a CEO, sales manager, director and/or founder, it’s still your job to give your sales team the tools they need to be successful. If you don’t maintain effective sales training, your values, techniques and strategies you taught to your first hires might get passed on correctly…or they might not.
Your sales training can “download” all your sales knowledge, experience and tricks into your sales team, and can cover everything from on-boarding new hires to developing their skills, maintaining criteria by which they will change and adapt with the market. If you do this, you will be developing the building blocks for an unstoppable sales force.
This is no small feat! But, it’s so worth it…..
So, let’s take it one step at a time. First, find out the actual situation in your company. Honest, straightforward information is power.
Assess your team’s (or your own) strengths and weaknesses:
- What’s your value proposition? Sounds simple, but surprisingly it’s hard for some companies to clearly explain why a customer should choose them over a competitor. And if your sales team can’t do this, they don’t stand a chance.
- Do you have a clear sales process in place? If you do (and you definitely should), is it working as well as it should be? If you put more resources on it, will it grow or break from the pressure?
- Do you think your cost of sales is where it should be? Is your profit margin healthy? Are your sales sucking your profits dry? What makes you think your costs are acceptable? Are you comparing to an industry standard or mapping to projected sales?
- What key measures are you using to track sales effectiveness? Are you measuring what needs to be measured? And are those results easily accessible to make sure you’re on the right track?
- What are you doing to increase your sales funnel and/or increase your close ratio? Do you have a clear plan for sales growth? Do you know where to go for new leads when the tap runs dry? Do you have some experiments you want to try to increase the amount of sales you are closing?
- Is your sales compensation plan driving the right behaviors? We know compensation is a powerful motivator for sales teams, but is your production bonus structure spurring the right actions? Is there enough value to make it worthwhile for your sales team to push to hit their sales goals?
- How are you taking advantage of changes to the market? In a constantly changing business world, what are you doing to experiment with new ideas to take advantage of new sales channels?
- Do you have the right people? Your team should be your greatest strength. Are they? If not, why? Is it the people, the culture or the training?
Going deeper with these questions can give you a good overview of how your team functions, where you’re scaling up and where things are falling apart. From this valuable information, you can start to build the basics of your sales training.
But asking these questions once then moving on is a recipe for disaster. Sales training, like all parts of your sales efforts, will constantly evolve as your team and products change and adapt to the real world. So, it’s smart to revisit these questions at least once a year, to see where you might want to switch things up.
One big hint when going through this process, always be open to what’s really happening and new possibilities….then take action and watch your sales team grow off the charts!
Reach out to us! We'd love to work with you on your training needs!