6 Sales Training Pitfalls Every Sales Manager Should Avoid

6 Sales Training Pitfalls Every Sales Manager Should Avoid
Gannvector/Shutterstock.com
Summary: Is your sales training program failing to bring in the desired results? Check out these 6 sales training pitfalls you should be avoiding.

Are You Making These Sales Training Mistakes?

Being a successful sales representative is becoming increasingly complicated in recent years. With customer needs constantly changing and new technologies emerging, your sales numbers might be lower than you would like. An obvious and rather popular solution to this problem is sales training. However, poorly planned strategies and approaches can lead to ineffective training that hardly affects the performance of your sales team. If you don't want to waste your resources on a venture with minimal results, make sure to steer clear of the following sales training pitfalls.

6 Sales Training Pitfalls That Are Hurting Your Numbers

1. Focusing Heavily On Product Training

An issue that many customers face is that most sales representatives have a predominantly product-centric approach. Specifically, sales reps can recite product specs from memory but have trouble answering questions that concern the customer's unique needs. This problem occurs because most organizations put all their focus on product training. But in doing that, they ignore that salespeople must be able to identify buyer personas, predict their needs, identify potential problems, and offer valuable insight. This can only be achieved by adding to your training curriculum soft skills, prospecting, decision-making, problem-solving, handling objections, and more, depending on your organization's objectives.

2. Lack Of Customization

It is often tempting for companies to view all their employees as equal and offer a one-sided and generic training option. It significantly cuts down on the hours that need to be spent preparing a sales training program, right? Maybe that's true at first, but not taking into consideration each employee's requirements and objectives will result in additional work later on. It's always important to start your planning process with an assessment that determines a baseline for everyone. This way, you can formulate personalized training paths that will help your sales reps develop the specific skills that are essential for their roles.

3. Rushing The Process

A common sales training pitfall you must avoid is trying to cram large amounts of information in one session in order to finish training as fast as possible. Just as you can't learn to play the guitar in one day, neither can a sales rep acquire a new skill that fast. In fact, this approach overloads them and results in minimal information retention. If you're looking for long-lasting results, you need to give your salespeople time to assimilate the training material. For example, instead of planning a day-long sales training session that covers four core concepts, break it up into a week-long workshop that only lasts a couple of hours and allows ample time for reflection.

4. Neglecting Learning Reinforcement

Continuing on this notion that effective training takes time, it's crucial to add that retaining a new skill depends on how often you practice. Even if your sales training program is well designed and successfully delivered, you still won't get the desired results if you don't consistently reinforce newly acquired skills. In reality, your support is what helps employees build the confidence to not only implement but incorporate new approaches into their daily routines. You can achieve this with the help of quarterly knowledge assessments and just-in-time reference material in video form. But most importantly, try to integrate new techniques into everyday systems and workflows.

5. Forgetting About Sales Managers

Sales managers operate as leaders and role models for their teams. Consequently, they must be included in the training process to effectively coach their teams and maximize the impact of training. There are various ways to empower sales managers through training. For one, they should review the material first so that they can provide feedback and better guide sales reps through the process. In addition, since sales managers are usually held accountable for the reinforcement of newly acquired skills, you should support them in developing relevant techniques and exercises. Finally, remember to schedule frequent meetings where you check on the progress of the sales team.

6. Ineffective Sales Training Metrics

No training program can truly be effective if you can't efficiently measure its success. How can you estimate performance improvement or ROI if you don't have a baseline to compare to? Avoid this sales training pitfall by always including metrics in your design and planning process. Training metrics look different for each company, but a few typical success metrics to include in your list are revenue, win rate, and cycle time. In addition to that, metrics that refer to employees must be more personalized. For example, your expectations must be proportionate to the years of experience each sales rep has.

Creating Training That Sticks

Developing an impactful sales training program that consistently drives success isn't an impossible task. In fact, it only takes some careful planning and avoiding sales training pitfalls like the ones discussed in this article. If you follow our advice, you can rest assured that your investment in the development of your employees will result in a strong sales team that unfailingly hits its targets.

eBook Release: Performance Development Group
Performance Development Group
We make people better at making their business better.