Effective Sales Training

Joydip Banerjee, Head HR - CLSS, VesuviusJoydip Banerjee is an experienced and a dynamic HR professional with a demonstrated history of working in roles like Talent management Employee relations, HR consulting, HR Strategy Learning & development change management & in managing people expectations amidst the challenging business environment

To sustain & thrive in this economical uncertainty, it is very important for organizations to develop a sales team which has razor sharp market presence with the right skillsets of know how of the product and feel of the customers changing demand & preferences. To unleash this potential most of the organizations are spending a percentage of their profit in sales trainings as a tool to equip their sales team. But a ‘Successful’ sales training is much beyond the materials from the class(never to open again) & memorization of facts & figures. There is very little coverage of interaction practical exercises, or meaningful conversation about the difficult ‘real world’ obstacles that need to be overcome. The training classes are pre-packaged monotonous sessions that are taught the same way over and over again regardless of the changing competitive landscape. We will like to review the critical elements that are required to make a sales training effective –

•The Psychological Aspect: Many sales training programmes are designed based on the logic that customers are rational decision makers who use logic & reason exclusively. Meanwhile the successful salesperson understands and appeals to the emotional political and subconscious decision maker. People buy products they believe will help them fulfill deep seated psychological needs satisfying the ego being accepted as
part of a group,avoiding pain and ensuring survival. All the other outward appearances of a customer’s decision making process the analysis return on investment calculations and other internal studies are the means to achieving an over riding psychological goal. A sales training program should not solely educate salespeople about features, functions, and business benefits. It must also explain the psychological reasons customers buy and provide practical real world examples on how to incorporate the elements of customer behaviour into a winning sales strategy.

A sales training program should not solely educate salespeople about features, functions, and business benefits

•Direct Interview With The Customer: Many a times it has been found that the winner of the sales cycle has been decided even before the process started and few of the times customers made up their mind about whom they are going to buy from about halfway through the process. Only in very few cases customers make their final decision at the end of the selection process. The main point is that you cannot train the sales team on how the prospective customer make their buying decision until and unless the training isn’t based on the direct interviews with decision makers at won & lost accounts.

•Learning By Example: Rather than having long classroom lectures it is important to have a method of cultural transmission by emulating success stories from a successful practitioner who can act as a role model. It can be done in various forms:
•Role play exercise
•Success stories about key wins can be enumerated
•Top sales people can be interviewed by a panel followed by extensive question & answer session.

•Sales Call Segmentation: It is a very key strategy in devising the differentiation in approach that a sales team should do based on the different customer accounts.It can be based on the demography, different geographic location, based on usage pattern of different customers their orientation (technical, financial or operational) type of customers(like govt private players) etc. The goal of the segmentation is to educate & prepare the salesforce with a predictive framework that gives them a deeper insight on the behavioural pattern based on past interactions. This will enable them to have more persuasive interactions with the customers.

In closing all successful organizations have trained their salespeople to educate customers on their product & procedures to determine customers’ business qualifications and technical requirements. Truly great sales organizations intimately understand how prospective decision makers think. They share information about how they win and where they lose. They analyze customer interactions and provide their salesforce realworld tactics so they can predictably close business.