Go beyond product training to have an effective sales force

Organizations often overlook their greatest potential source of power: the power to increase sales performance by developing their people.

Training is an integral part of sales-force development. But this goes beyond initial product training to include ongoing process training: prospecting, calling at the top of an organization, closing and the activities it takes to get there consistently.

Most organizations believe (at least on some level) that training is important; and most believe they have training in place. Yet typically, they are referring to product training. Organizations tend to spend lots of time training their sales team on the ins and outs of their product or services, but not much time on how to take this successfully to market.

Presenting the features and benefits of a product or service is just one part of the sales process. The most important part, however, is the ability to ask the right questions to get your prospects to realize that your product or service is a good fit. This is not a natural way to approach selling; therefore, training how to sell is an essential part of success in any sales organization.

A majority of sales organizations say they don’t have time to train and develop their sales teams. Or, they believe their sales managers have the responsibility to train. Executives may attempt to solve sales-training issues by hiring experienced salespeople and just letting them “do their thing.” This is an issue because there is no way to really know how successful they were in the past. No matter how closely aligned your product or service is to what they sold before, it becomes difficult for them to break out of their mold. In this case, each salesperson works as an island with his or her own processes and ways of selling – or lack thereof.

Though each person on your team has his or her own personality and style, a consistent process helps keep the entire organization on track and adds the ability to forecast and coach for continual success. If your sales team is not hitting any of the benchmarks you’ve set, look at their process. Is it broken? ?

Greta Schulz is president of Schulz Business, a sales consulting and training firm. She is a best-selling author of “To Sell is NOT to Sell” and works with fortune 1,000 companies and entrepreneurs. For more information or free sales tips, go to schulzbusiness.com and sign up for “GretaNomics,” a weekly video tip series, or email sales questions to greta@schulzbusiness.com.

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