6 Best Sales Training Programs and Techniques for 2023

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Sales training can bring a return on investment of over 350%, according to Task Drive. This expectation of astronomical returns pushes U.S. companies to spend over $70 billion on training each year as highlighted by Salesforce. Yet despite the huge potential, ES Research found that an alarming 85“90% of training has no impact beyond the first 120 days.

It's plain to see that there is a missing link. Companies are pouring funds into training programs that quickly fizzle out. In light of this grave situation, your sales training programs need to exceed expectations if you want to avoid throwing money down the drain.

This article delves into some of the best programs and techniques to include in your training that can help bring you results.

 

Skills Reinforcement

Ardent Learning says that people easily forget what they learn in sales training. They state that 84“90% of information from training is lost within the first 90 days after the course.

Studies by 18th-century psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus made it clear that forgetting what you learn can't simply be blamed on a foggy memory. These studies found that if there's no reinforcement, what you learn will be forgotten in no time at all. As a result, one of the most critical factors in your training is reinforcement.

Allow your salespeople the chance to chew over what they learned before getting back to training. According to Peak, the human brain retains more information through spaced repetition. Consider sticking to a routine schedule for training, even if it's 10“15 minutes weekly. Regularly going over key concepts can maximize learning and keep your team sharp.

Psychology Scripts also says to incorporate practical activities in your training. The brain neurons involved in performing an action fire electrical signals that form an active network of cells. By repeatedly practicing the action, you increase and improve the transmission of signals in the brain, making the learning stick. The result is better performance of the action.

You can help your sales team through activities such as:

- Skills building exercises

- Quizzes

- Simulation games

- Roleplay

That said, conducting the same training over and over again can derail your efforts by being monotonous. Instead, creating different learning activities and varying your methods can keep your team engaged.

 

Sales Negotiation

Closing deals often boils down to how well you can persuade buyers, counter objections, and negotiate with customers.

Sales negotiation training is one of the best ways to boost your training programs since it ensures that fewer deals will fall through the cracks.

Here's what sales reps can learn in negotiation training:

 

Building Rapport

If you're out of sync with buyers, there's little chance that they'll be willing to hear you out. It's beneficial for salespeople to learn how to warm customers up to make room for fruitful discussions. It's also important to learn how to dissipate tensions should they arise. When you see eye to eye with buyers, you can make more headway in turning a œno or œnot now into a œyes.

 

Drawing Value

Winning the deal is one thing, but if you offer huge discounts, you throw away value. Negotiation training helps salespeople understand how and when to preserve value. It can pay off to provide value through other means, such as training and support.

 

When to Walk Away

When the talks are dragging, it may be a sign that it's time to pump the brakes or call it quits entirely. Learning negotiation skills can help reps decide the best course of action in each situation. Agents can also learn how to walk away without burning bridges and making them too damaged to cross if the opportunity arises again in the future.

 

Managing Emotions

Losing your cool can cost you sales. That's why reps must learn œ to stay calm when they're rattled or frustrated. Negotiations training teaches salespeople how to handle emotions through techniques such as:

- Taking deep breaths when feeling agitated

- Asking for a time out to compose themselves

The best salespeople don't just master how to manage their own emotions. They learn to read the buyer's emotions and show empathy to gain trust.

 

Sales Prospecting

Forty-two percent of salespeople say prospecting is the hardest part of selling, according to Lead Squared. Including programs that shed light on prospecting and qualifying leads can help boost your sales.

When training is centered on prospecting, your sales reps can learn key concepts, such as:

- Asking the right questions

- Shutting out the noisy voices of doubt and fear

- Screening and sifting through prospects to narrow down leads

- Digging into connections and referrals to get more qualified leads

Once salespeople catch how to prospect effectively, you can sustain your sales. This can help you bring a constant flow of quality leads into your sales pipeline.

 

Social Selling

Statista shows that a staggering 4.7 billion people actively use social media. This makes it critical for salespeople to learn how to utilize social media buzz to close more sales deals.

Including social selling in your sales training programs can teach your team how to:

- Create and maintain a strong social media presence to stand out in the crowded sales sphere.

- Connect and grow the company's networks to build a reputation and gain referrals.

- Using social media platforms to research and qualify prospects faster.

- Reach out to prospects and meaningfully engage to develop relationships.

So, which network is best for social media sales? There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to social selling. Research your target audience to find where they spend the most time. Then tailor your training to help reps master how to stand out on these platforms.

Remember, the goal is not to bombard leads with spam messages but rather to develop relationships that add value. It pays to train reps to create conversations and maximize interactions organically.

Data from LinkedIn Sales Solutions shows that 78% of businesses using social selling outsell those that shy away from social media.

 

Storytelling

Storytelling can be a powerful tool for salespeople. According to Marketing Words, a good story sparks neural coupling. This is when the brain's neurons fire in rhythm with the storyteller. In the process, the body releases chemicals such as oxytocin. The brain responds to the story with sympathy, care, compassion, and empathy, thus creating an emotional connection.

A story told correctly can be the pull factor that draws prospects in and turns them into customers. Search Engine Watch says storytelling can raise conversion rates by about 30%.

Stories also help leads and customers remember you. Researchers at the London School of Business found that people retain only 5“10% of the information they're told when it's comprised of only statistics. However, people remember 65“70% of the information when told through a story.

This is why it's important to make sure your training materials cover key elements, such as:

- How to create a compelling narrative.

- Ways to resonate with your audience.

- How to keep your audience hooked.

- Making vibrant presentations.

 

Consultative and Collaborative Selling

Statistics compiled by Anaeo reveal that:

- Sixty-five percent of business comes from existing customers.

- Loyal customers are 5 times more likely to buy again.

- Satisfied buyers will refer a friend to your business 40% of the time.

Making buyers feel heard can be one of the best ways to gain customer loyalty and foster a sense of trust so buyers feel that reps are looking out for them. Sellers can achieve this through collaborating and consulting with buyers.

This involves listening to buyers' needs and giving valuable insights. The goal is to show your customers how much you value them and that you're not just chasing them for their money.

Consider teaching your reps to use collaborative selling so they can learn how to:

- Listen effectively

- Read between the lines

- Get to the heart of the customer's needs

- Build trust

- Engage and support buyers

With collaborative selling, your reps can build stronger relationships with buyers. In response, buyers can be more likely to rave about you and refer your business to others in their circles. Also, satisfied customers are often more open to accepting upselling opportunities.

 

Improving your sales training programs

A survey by the Training Industry found that organizations with sales training programs that exceeded expectations closed about 54% of their forecast deals. In contrast, companies with training courses that needed improvement had 56% of their potential sales fall through the cracks.

This tells us that it pays to empower your sales team through a solid training program that stamps out poor sales and reinforces core skills so they are committed to memory. When developing your program, consider using key techniques such as sales negotiation and prospecting to get the results you are looking for. In addition, you can up your game with social selling and storytelling skills and train your salespeople on how to use a collaborative approach to selling.

Using these tips and techniques can ramp up your training programs to allow your business to soar above competitors. 

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