What is successful sales training? What are the criteria you should use to determine success? If you’re new to sales training, these are ideas, taken from dozens of technology organizations, to make sure that your sales training delivers the benefits you need.

  1. Build a crisp, clear story in words your salesmakers use. If your content is too technical, too marketing-esque, or too convoluted, your salespeople will never convey your information the way you intended. Use plain language where possible.
  2. Poll your audience before the trainings and match the content to their needs. Rather than guessing what your audience needs, ask them – and then deliver!
  3. Not everyone learns in the same way. You must build in a range of educational methods and techniques: visual, auditory, hands-on, are all examples. There are piles of free resources on learning styles available to you online. Use them.
  4. Bring outside information into the training. It’s not good enough to just talk about what’s important to your company or speculate on what’s important to customers. Try bringing in case studies or actual customer feedback to make your content more relevant. If you have relevant content from technical support or installation teams, bring that in as well.
  5. Model important skills. It’s not enough to convey information – you must teach attendees to use the information. Knowing the facts and using the facts are two different skills – and are both essential. For example, if you expect a salesperson to whiteboard the storyline, teach them to whiteboard the storyline.
  6. Explain how the story changes for different audiences. Teach salespeople to speak in different ways to different audiences. CxOs expect one kind of discussion, IT Managers expect another kind of conversation. A salesperson might engage with either or both of these people and has to feel comfortable
  7. If you expect salespeople to use particular tools, train them on the tools. It’s not good enough to show your salespeople screenshots of a sizing tool or an outline of a sales presentation. Make sure they can use the tools you’re providing by training them on the tools you’re providing.
  8. Focus on hands-on activity. Try to give them actual hands-on experience with the products they sell.
  9. Add scenarios where appropriate. Role-playing can deliver a different kind of educational experience that aligns with points 5 & 6 above.
  10. Post-test for competence and satisfaction. To get credit for the training, you should expect attendees to prove competence and complete a satisfaction survey. Make sure you take test scores, survey data, and experiences from the training session into account when you build the next training session.