When it comes to sales, the only constant is change. The best answer to the constant evolution of our businesses, the market, and the world around us is sales training. That’s why the most successful sales organizations understand that training never ends—the way to win is to create an environment of learning that constantly pushes reps to be their best.
While the driving philosophy behind your sales training won’t change, the strategies you employ are always evolving. For trainers, the challenge of the job is coming up with fresh, effective strategies that serve the different strengths and weaknesses of a diverse salesforce. Are you creating the best possible practice experiences for your team?
Your sales reps want to learn to be the best, and sales training is how they’ll get there. Here’s your 7-step playbook for training reps to master the perfect pitch.
1. Immersive Training
The most successful salespeople are sponges: they’re always absorbing what the best reps are saying and doing to get great results. You can formalize this habit by creating opportunities at every step of the sales process for reps to ride along and learn. Especially for less experienced salespeople, shadowing and seeing the real-world application of what they’re learning immerses them in what a successful pitch looks like.
When reps do ride along, make sure they take time afterwards to reflect on what they saw with a manager or coach. What worked, what didn’t? What specific strategies are they walking away with to implement in their own pitch? Peer-based training often makes challenging concepts feel more approachable, plus it builds community among your team.
2. Articulate Your Value Proposition
Can everyone on your team clearly articulate your value proposition? It sounds simple, but it’s the foundation of a successful pitch and it can make or break selling efforts. As your organization grows and evolves, your value proposition can get buried in scripts or change hands so many times that the messaging gets murky.
Get a pulse on where your reps are at by simply asking them to articulate it in their own words. Why should customers choose you over the other competitors? If their responses are all over the place, you’ll know it’s time to re-align and get back on track. Clarify your value proposition and start training your team to practice communicating it clearly and persuasively.
3. Take Time to Train Confidence
We all want to develop a confident, friendly, and prepared salesforce. In order to get there, your team needs to practice what it takes to make a great first impression. Proactive pitch training works to prepare reps for some of the biggest challenges standing between them and closing the deal. Until all salespeople feel comfortable navigating the most uncomfortable situations, there’s more work to be done.
There is no fake it ‘til you make it in sales—true confidence comes from practice. Mastering the perfect pitch takes role-playing common objections, sharing scripts for different scenarios, and training your salespeople out of their fear of rejection. With practice, they’ll become well-versed in fielding tough questions and putting themselves in the shoes of your customers.
4. Video Practice
If you’re not already using video practice in your sales enablement strategy, you’re missing out on innovative and efficient training opportunities. Technology will never replace face-to-face coaching, but it is crucial to a comprehensive training experience. Video practice helps create an ‘always-on’ training environment for sales reps: they can practice and improve their pitch when they need it most, like before an important call.
Plus, it extends the reach of your sales coaches by creating more opportunities to practice and give feedback. Be prepared for a little resistance at first—video practice is a vulnerable endeavor, but it’s the best way to catch the little details in body language and communication that might be holding your salespeople back.
There’s a reason that the buddy system never seems to go out of style. Mentorship is a low-cost way to create accountability, facilitate knowledge transfer, and create peer-to-peer coaching opportunities. But many trainers make the mistake of assuming that peer-based learning will occur organically, without a formal program in place. Sure, certain personalities will gravitate towards one another, but that can overlook the reps who need the most guidance.
Especially in a millennial-driven workforce, it’s more important than ever for team members to have direct access to advice and guidance in the form of a mentor. Pair seasoned salespeople with new hires and task them with activities that cover product, process, and pitch. New hires are eager, but they’ll benefit from taking part in mock pitches and practice demos that expose them to the nuances of the sales process. Worried about keeping senior salespeople engaged in the relationship? Incentivize them with a bonus to reward them for a job well done.
6. Digital Training
Are you making the most of your online training tools? Providing plenty of supplemental learning is critical to a great practice experience, especially for salespeople who prefer self-guided learning. With CMS/LMS tools that make storing and organizing training materials easier than ever, you can create bite-sized training opportunities (a.k.a. micro-learning!) that reps can seek out when they need it most.
Not sure where to start? A robust content library is one of the most important aspects of any sales platform. Your sales reps should be able to reach for a training video, sales sheet, or product demo whenever they need it. Plus, if you’re keeping your CMS/LMS library up-to-date, it doubles as a communication tool to relay new messaging and product updates in real-time.
7. Create a Feedback Loop
When do your salespeople receive feedback? Often, sales organizations get in the habit of saving feedback for after sales data comes in or only during annual reviews. But feedback is most effective when it’s timely and tied to a specific performance. Coaches and managers can use observation and feedback to inspire real-time behavioral change before it impacts a rep’s sales activity.
Whether it’s a ride-along or reviewing a recorded pitch, coaches can use feedback to deliver behavior-focused recommendations that will help reps strengthen their game. Remember, the most effective feedback is specific and timely, and when you get it right, it can transform a salesperson’s performance.