Sales Models, Metrics, and Motions Blog

You As a Sales Trainer

by Trish Bertuzzi on Mon, Dec 29, 2008

Introduction:  This is the 3rd in the series "How to Successfully Build an Inside Sales Team in Technology Companies". 

Part 1 - Your Inside Sales Strategy
Part 2 - 6 Rules for Successful Inside Sales Hiring


In April 2008, we conducted a survey of 60+ Inside Sales Executives on the state of their training programs.  Here are some highlights of the Inside Sales Training Report:

  • Only 34% hold monthly training sessions
  • Only 33% conduct live coaching
  • 58% of the training is product focused
  • 12% of the executives surveyed are highly satisfied with their training programs

So, what does this tell us?  Pretty much: we expend huge effort in hiring great reps and then fail to invest in their success.

Even if you can't get the budget to invest in a professional inside sales training program (beg for it - it will pay off in spades), there are some simple things you can do to improve the skill of your reps.

  1. Document your process and tools.
    Don't let your reps create their own messaging. Listening to their voice mail messages may scare you: "Hi, I am calling to follow-up because you went by our booth". Or you might find emails that could sink a server because they contain so much information and have 8 pdfs dangling off them.

    Messaging needs to be succinct, about the prospect and arouse curiosity...that is it!

  2. Conduct live coaching.
    I stink at sports analogies but let me give this a whirl: Football coaches don't sit in a booth and watch their players run around only to coach them when they are in the red zone. They are on the field, interacting, trying to get ahead of what the opposing team is going to do so they can be prepared and respond.

    So, why do you think you are providing coaching if all you do is forecast reviews? By then, you are in the final 2 minutes. Your ability to add value is greatly diminished.

    Get in the trenches, double jack in with your reps, listen to what they say but better yet - listen to how the market responds to what they say so you can improve the "plays" they use on a daily basis.

  3. Remember the basic rule of business:
    "People don't buy technology for technology's sake; they buy it to address business issues."  So, why do we spend 58% of our valuable training time talking about product? We do it because that is our comfort zone.

    We can bring in product experts to talk to our team and feel like we have provided training but as Inside Sales Managers, do we know how to provide sales training? Probably not but shouldn't we?

    Make an investment in yourself as well and start to build out a curriculum that focuses on specific skills and then train your reps in monthly sessions. They want to learn and you want to teach right so what is stopping you?

To sum it up, don't let a lack of budget get in the way of getting the job done.  You have skills that you can transfer to your reps, use your time wisely and it will pay off in enhanced productivity and greater achievement of goals.

Share with this community...what are some creative ways you are training your reps?

(Photo by Cyndie@smilebig!)

Topics: inside sales management, mentoring

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