Efficient sales training needs to have frequency and commitment from the team leadership
Sales training has always been a fundamental tool for the good performance of the team and for the alignment of salespeople with the organization’s culture.
In this moment of social isolation, more than ever, they play a strategic role in adapting to the new context and in improving the fundamentals of work in the commercial area.
To help you in your mission to build an efficient sales training program, we spoke with Wanderley Cintra Júnior, Ambassador Agendor and specialist in the field (with extensive experience in training conducted in the virtual environment).
Wanderley is the founder of Evoluir Semper, a diagnostic, training and commercial strategic planning company. He is a psychologist and educator, with a specialization in performance evaluation and over 25 years in the sales sector.
Check out the interview!
1. What are the pillars for preparing an effective sales training program?
The first to be done is a good diagnosis, to understand what the real problem to be solved is.
Often, people look at the symptom, not the cause, and end up acting only superficially on what needs to be transformed. By way of comparison, it is as if in a fever situation we are treating just this symptom rather than discovering and resolving the illness that is causing it.
After this diagnosis, then, the next step is to define the content that will be given in this training to solve the problem in question. And then the definition of how often the training will take place.
The greater the frequency of training, the greater the behavior adjustment. And, here, I mention an important point: it is preferable to have several trainings of a few hours over time, than a content of many hours in a single day.
2. You work with different types of training, but why training focused on behavior change is the most demanded at the moment?
Demand for training focused on behavior change is always high, because at the time of hiring.
In general, companies are very urgent in bringing a new salesperson to the team and are unable to make a deeper assessment of candidates beyond their previous experience and attitude in the interview.
Thus, it is common to hire people with behaviors that are not suited to the company’s culture or even for the relationship with colleagues who are already part of the group.
Then, as this professional adapts to the space, showing more of his personality, he will also create certain maladjustments or inconveniences in the team – which can be related to interpersonal relationships, resilience, and organization, among others.
3. And what are the most important behaviors to work on in the sales area? How to develop effective sales training with a focus on them?
In Brazil, due to our culture, there are two behaviors with which we have greater challenges: discipline and time management. Because we are very relational, very focused on the relationship with the other, we have difficulty saying no and this impacts a lot on these behaviors.
In addition, there are two other very important behaviors to be developed in the sales area, which are focus and resilience.
In my experience, these four are the most difficult to work with and also the most important in the sales area.
To structure training to improve them, I like to work on developing these behaviors individually. Mainly because they require daily action, they need daily to be ingrained and connected to routine to become a habit.
4. Even before the new home office context and social isolation, you were already doing most of your training on the online model. What are the advantages of virtual training for you?
I see there are disadvantages and advantages to both the face-to-face and online models.
In classroom, generally, the main benefit is being able to carry out different dynamics to fix the content and integrate the class. But, contrary to what many people think, online we can also have similar experiences.
In my trainings, I usually have different rooms in the videoconference tool, so that salespeople can work in dynamics in pairs or small groups, for example.
And, in my opinion, the main advantages of online training are as follows:
- Ease of implementation: since there is no need for a physical structure or, when appropriate, to bring together people from different units in a single location. Just press a button and the group is already in the room.
- Accuracy and punctuality: online training becomes very effective because in this model we tend to go straight to the point in terms of content.
- Fast application of learning: in the virtual model, I can create mechanisms so that learning is more quickly put into practice, since the salesperson does not need to go back to the office to act.
- Recurrence: online also allows us to continue the simpler process, generating the frequency that is so important.
If we do not work with time frames, training does not work, as there is no connection with the subject’s reality. Remembering that when adults learn, they need the content to meet three principles:
- Make sense
- Be connected to your routine
- Be useful
5. Many companies delegate training to the Human Resources area or just the outsourced professional. In your experience, does this work?
I always say that training cannot be outsourced entirely. There is great importance in the role of the professional in my area, but the company cannot be responsible only for maintaining this learning at the end.
An efficient and complete sales training must have some events with the training professional, but then, continuity with tasks performed by the company.
For example, for a training on time management, an action for consolidation could be in the morning everyone doing their daily schedule and, at the end of the day, passing on to the leadership what was accomplished or not. With that, it is possible to act in the discipline and in the person’s commitment in relation to what was taught.
It is essential for the company to have its part in the program as well!
6. And what is the role of the sales manager in this context? And what are the good practices so that leadership is also trained?
Managers and salespeople are very different groups to train. The manager has a role as a beacon, as someone who serves as a reference for the team. And he needs to believe in the content being passed on, because if he fights it, we already have a serious problem for the effectiveness of the training.
In addition, the leader needs to help by providing the tools to break down resistances encountered during the program, giving the trainer the necessary support. I really like the support and demand matrix, which says that the more support I give my team, the more I have to demand from them.
That is, if the team had training on discipline, the leadership needs to demand that they put it into practice. Therefore, the higher the frequency, the better, as the leader can act recurrently, encouraging the adoption of habits little by little.
7. Speaking of results, how to measure whether sales training was positive for the company?
I don’t see training as a single-result solution, in the sense of being carried out and then impacting the number of sales. Also because there are a number of factors that influence this goal.
For example, training focused on prospecting can impact results while these same results are influenced by a marketing campaign, by the different work that begins to be done by a manager, among others.
So crediting the sales result to training can become a misleading measure and take away from the whole picture.
I believe that measuring results from training is a complex issue, so it is necessary to know how to choose what to monitor, so as not to allow yourself to be deluded by a false positive.
To build effective sales training, your company needs to be willing to engage
Talking to our Wanderley, one point was very striking for us: training programs need to be a company project to be successful.
They do bring excellent results for strengthening a corporate culture, improving the efficiency of salespeople and, consequently, for commercial results.
However, for this to be possible, the organization’s leaders (including the CEO) need to be engaged in the messages to be passed and in the continuity of the teachings. How much is this reality in your business today?
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