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Sales Training

One of the most important and critical jobs is seeing that your sales force is properly trained. Besides mastering a host of selling skills today salespeople must be thoroughly familiar with the products or services they are selling. They also have to understand  the company’s operations and sales policies and be aware of basic marketing procedures. All of this requires training the scope and depth undreamed of a few decades ago.

Training for Sales Success

Improper sales training can result in the waste of hundreds of thousands of dollars annually for the average company. First of all poorly trained salespeople lose a substantial share of their  potential sales. In addition experienced sellers may find themselves unprepared to perform their jobs satisfactorily, become discouraged and leave the company. Successful sales training helps reduce the rate of turnover among new sales personnel, and as a direct result recruitment and recruitment costs drop as overall deficiency of the company selling operation rises.

It is said” good salespeople are born not made”. It’s true that there are natural salespeople but given the proper training most recruits can be turned into productive sales personnel and even natural sellers can benefit from continuing sales training. Sales training programs should be ongoing.

Generally the most comprehensive is the initial sales training program for newly hired salespeople. More intensive programs on specialized topics as well as periodic refresher courses should be presented for experienced sales personnel.

The most often cited reason for the failure of sales training programs is that the training objectives were not properly defined for all concerned. Therefore your first step in organizing or reshaping the training program should be to identify your training objectives. These objectives should be based on management goals, the nature of your product or service, the complexity of the sales task and the needs of the salespeople themselves.

Being specific while defining the programs general aim is not enough. You want to increase the sales force productivity through training; you must translate the general aim of increasing productivity and define specific goals before you can work out the details of the training program. The general objectives of management focus on volume profit and growth and the more specific objectives of your training program should be designed to serve these major goals and may, more or less,  be predetermined for you by top management.

Sales training can be broken down into three areas: knowledge training, skill training have and attitude training.  Attitude training which is often ignored is especially important as knowledge and skill are little value to salespeople with a negative or neutral attitude towards a job their company or their products.

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