This could be a very short blog post. The answer, in a word, is “Yes.”
But let’s look a little deeper into the reasons why sales training is important for growing your business.
First, consider these assumptions:
- Sales professionals drive revenue.
- Within every sales organization is a range of skills, talent, and capabilities.
- The B2B selling environment, with ultra-informed buyers, continues to grow more challenging.
Some might argue a new way of selling is needed to succeed in today’s digital, connected, mobile world. The good news is that while enhancements might be necessary, there’s a lot about selling that hasn’t changed.
Buyers may be more savvy and demanding, but they still need guidance to make the best decisions – and trust is still a major factor in making buying decisions.
What this means is your sales professionals must be skilled in connecting with the buyer on both a personal and business level. They must be authentic in establishing credibility and earning the right to ask questions. Then they need to gain pertinent information about the buyer’s situation, tailor insights and ideas, and provide a differentiated solution.
These are a higher-order level of consultative selling skills, requiring a greater degree of preparation, assertiveness, and initiative. The sale is still made in the dialogue; it’s just that the path for getting there is a tougher climb.
But if your organization has an effective sales process, one that all sales professionals understand and follow, each step of the way will be clearly marked. The ideal sales process is a formal, dynamic process involving a series of steps, stages, activities, verifiable outcomes, and high-impact questions. It is also flexible and scalable, with sufficient room for sales professionals to use their good judgment.
The process should follow a logical progression, while being aligned with specific actions, dialogue models, and outcomes to measure the status of an opportunity or relationship. Sales professionals must also be able to master the art of what we call the Sales Conversation Pendulum, alternating between sharing insights and asking open-ended questions, with a good measure of active listening and observation to know when to switch approach.
The elements leading to a successful sale, and improved results over time, are not new. They have just grown in importance to the point where sales professionals need to understand, practice, and gain (or regain) mastery of these skills.
And, just like the sales environment today, training has changed, incorporating new learning elements and knowledge sustainment tools. Successful training is made in the dialogue, where sales managers become coaches, sales activities become part of role plays, systems are aligned to reinforce learning, and steps are taken to prevent relapse of behaviors.
The bottom line is that investing in sales training is important because it leads to better results. With the right partner, organizations can achieve sustained behavior change in their sales teams and greater confidence in their pipeline of opportunities.