Speaking the same language
The training material must be relevant to your particular organization. You want to get everyone in your organization speaking the same language. We call it Command of the Message. Making it relevant varies by industry and company, but essentially, everyone in the company needs to get out of their silos and speak a common language about…well, everything. That’s everything from the organization’s culture and what drives it forward, to its mission and how it benefits customers, to its goals for the future.
Clients become well aware of why this is important. Take, in fact, WellAware, whose sales team doubled its opportunity-to-close ratio and quadrupled the size of its SaaS deals, increasing sales volume significantly.
“We now have a common vernacular, so everyone talks using the same language, not just in sales, but across the company,” said Jeremy Bingham, EVP of Sales. “As a startup, we have limited resources. We have to drive focus across the entire company on the key offerings that will solve big customer problems.”
Next up is making an emotional connection, and it’s the magic of the sales training. Training facilitators will make the connection that what you do matters — whether it’s selling security software, medical equipment, and technology or financial services. That’s done by spending time with the most essential questions that any seller or selling organization must answer:
What problems do you solve for your customers?
How specifically do you solve these problems?
How do you solve them differently or better than anyone else?
Where’s the proof?
Many sellers have never thought of the emotion behind their products and services. They are so busy selling or trying to sell, that they haven’t stopped to think about how they make the lives of customers’ — or their customers’ customers’ — better, easier, healthier, more profitable. Or they haven’t considered how they contribute to another company’s bottom line or business successes. The knowledge is there, locked inside their heads. But that knowledge needs to be unlocked and articulated. And that brings us to application.
Practice, practice, practice
Successful trainings allow plenty of time for application. We like to think of it as allowing sales folks to participate in their own rescue. Practicing in the room is the only way, and it prevents practicing — and failing — in front of customers.
Participants will be uneasy at first. Trainers know they will be met with radio silence and blank stares the moment they utter the words “role play” or “mock presentations.” No doubt someone will have to be coerced to go first. But soon everyone will be raising their hands, eager to practice what they’ve learned using one of their own real-life deals in the making. Some participants will immediately apply their learnings outside the room, reporting that they closed a deal over the first break of the first session. Happens every time.
Finally, the trainings must conclude with immediate, specific and measurable CTAs — commitments to action.
For example, within the two weeks after training, team members should commit to executing the sales call they role played during the training and then review the conversation with their managers. It’s important to have these calls to action (CTAs) in place and agreed upon before the training, because it will help with reinforcement, which we explore further in our last section.
However, the basic idea is that research shows that all employees feel better about their jobs and their performance when they know what is expected of them. Before they leave the training event, make sure team members know exactly what is expected of them moving forward.