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.
Although the sales manager might not be in a position to deliver the training, they still have an obligation to support and reinforce the training – both during the training and, more importantly, in the months following the training. Nothing will kill the effectiveness of a sales training program faster than not having support from management.
Question 2: How do you see today’s businesses embracing technology for sales and sales training most effectively?
Online delivery of training is certainly the wave of the future, as it can address so many issues without the cost of travel. Online delivery has the ability to deliver training in a real time environment and allows the salesperson to have more access to training than they might otherwise be able to achieve in a classroom environment. Though we are at the starting point of having effective online sales training, I believe it will soon bring a significant return on investment to sales teams.
Question 3: Do sales teams look to training as a solution to slow sales?
Sales teams do indeed look to training as a solution to slow sales. However, before any training can be effective, a couple of questions have to be asked, including:
Is the poor performance based on poor attitude or lack of skill?
Is the poor performance based on the culture or leadership of the organization?
How much of the poor performance is due to factors the sales force can control?
Question 4: What metrics do you think could be positively impacted when sales teams adopt enhanced training programs, including those with online and mobile capabilities?
Too many time metrics are put in place that only serve to over complicate things and divert attention away from the real issue at hand.
Metrics should be kept simple and measure closing ratio, time it takes to complete a sale, % of discount given to close a sale, sales profitability and overall sales volume. Yes, there are other metrics that would work depending on the industry, etc., but these are what I refer to as baseline metrics every organization should have in place.
Question 5) What’s one piece of sales training advice you would like leave our readers with?
Any sales training program to be effective must include reinforcement from management on an on-going basis. If an organization does training once and doesn’t do anything to support it, then it’s no different than eating a meal. Eating a meal may fill you up for a period of time, but it will be only a few hours until you’re hungry again. There must be on-going intentional support.
If you’re interested in getting more of Mark Hunter’s sales insights, visit his Sales Motivation Blog www.TheSalesHunter.com. You can also follow him on Twitter http://www.Twitter.com/TheSalesHunter, on Facebook www.facebook.com/TheSalesHunter and on Linkedin http://www.linkedin.com/in/MarkHunter.