In a little over one month, sales practitioners and industry experts from around the world will gather at Dreamforce 2012 in San Francisco. What is Dreamforce, you ask? It’s the annual gathering of the entire community of salesforce.com experts who share practices, hands-on training, and new innovations with the Salesforce user community. This year’s four-day conference will feature over 650 breakout sessions as well as keynote addresses from former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson, Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts…and others!
Most sales representatives can relate to this scenario: A few months after your sales training program ends, you find yourself forgetting insightful information discussed in a training session. Maybe your instructor had great advice about how to handle sales calls with a difficult client, or helped you come up with a new strategy to close an upcoming sale. Whatever the information may be, you wish you had it in that very moment – but that knowledge is seemingly lost.
One way to eliminate this all-too-familiar scenario is to provide just-in-time training to sales teams. By providing training content that can be accessed any time, anywhere, your sales representatives will be able to leverage new knowledge and skills when it matters most. This is especially true if your sales team has already been equipped with mobile training solutions that allow them to learn on-the-go.
We recently had the opportunity to interview Mark Hunter, the author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price. Hunter is a sales expert who helps teams increase their sales profitability and has valuable insights into the role that training can play in driving sales.
Below are his responses to some of our questions on sales training technology and best practices:
Question 1: What role do you see sales training playing in delivering better outcomes for sales teams?
It’s huge because the role of the sales manager has shifted. Sales managers are now doing everything but working with people. Sales training helps build confidence by being able to show the salesperson what “best practice behavior” really is. Sales training, when done right, allows the salesperson to test for themselves the skills they need to exhibit on a regular basis.
We all know that metrics matter in sales. It is critical that sales teams leverage data to increase the conversion rate on leads, shorten the amount of time it takes to win a sales, and boost the value of those wins. When it comes to training, sales teams must continue this culture of “looking at the numbers” to both capitalize on successes and to find areas for improvement.
In the social enterprise, where sales training and implementation is enhanced by increased social collaboration, metrics still matter. I recently read a great article on the Radian6 blog entitled “10 Key Sales Metrics to Track,” which highlights ways sales teams can quantify the value of their strategies in the social enterprise.
Here are five of the metrics discussed the article that best apply social sales teams:
Exploring Lean Corporations: “Simplify, standardize, automate” The idea of a “lean corporation” isn’t new. Though the term is used to describe many start-up and high-tech firms today, Lean has long been used in reference to the manufacturing principles of the automaker Toyota. By removing wasteful, inefficient practices throughout their production and supply chains, Toyota has historically been able to minimize costs to their customers – making them the textbook case for Lean. But as we all know, Toyota isn’t the only company that seeks greater efficiency for economic benefit these days. So what does it mean for businesses to be truly Lean, and how does Lean impact the learning and training environment in those companies?
Adopting Lean at Bayer Last year, Greg Babe of Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) wrote a piece for the Harvard Business review that answers many of those questions. When Babe was “blindsided” by his company’s global executives with a proposal to shut down the company’s North American headquarters, he used it as an opportunity to leverage Lean for the benefit of the entire company.