11 Sales Training Ideas: Excite, Energize & Empower Your Team!

Shawn Casemore • No Comment
Posted: July 14, 2022

A sales manager’s search for proven, cost effective sales training ideas can seem exhausting.

It doesn’t have to be.

Fresh, creative sales training will propel your team towards sales greatness while boosting bottom line revenue.

sales training ideasAre you routinely asking yourself any of the following questions:

  • How can I improve my sales training?
  • How do you motivate sales teams?
  • What is the best method for training salesmen?

Before we explore some training ideas, let’s clarify why your team needs sales training.

Why is Sales Training Important?

In a competitive sales environment, your sales team needs a competitive edge; they need effective sales rep training to:

  • Reach the decision maker
  • Uncover prospect needs and
  • Close the sale.

Success depends on good tools and the drive to perform effectively.

Potent sales training tools and sales training games, when implemented correctly, build confidence. A confident sales person is a successful and motivated sales person who can mentor others on their team.

When it comes to sales training, repetition is paramount.

Significant time in the learning process, along with interactive application of new sales skills will bolster comprehension of the skills introduced, and will ensure effective execution of your sales plan or sales strategy.

Ongoing training is the key to enhance the skills of each team member, propelling them toward greater productivity and success.
sales training ideas

11 Sales Training Ideas & Team Building Activities to Develop Sales Skills

There are multiple approaches and strategies to train and motivate salespeople and sales teams.

With varied professional development and skill building opportunities, outcomes include improving each salesperson’s outlook, building team unity, and contributing to the bottom line of the organization as a whole.

Use the following sales training ideas to customize your team’s sales training program.

1. Know Their Strengths (& Weaknesses): Individual Assessments

Targeted Sales Skills: All

Each salesperson brings a unique personality, background and skill set.

As part of your sales training agenda, and in building a team of closers, it’s your job to develop their sales skills and sales pitch.

Role play games (sales person and prospect) are a dynamic way to do this.

With role plays you can quickly identify their strengths and weaknesses. The right sales game can be fun and build camaraderie, all while testing product knowledge and other sales concepts.

You should also regularly assess your sales reps performance and create structure and goals to support desired accomplishments.

Matching team managers with junior reps for ongoing coaching is also a good measure.

2. Perfect Their Elevator Pitches: The 30-Second Commercial

Targeted Sales Skills: Storytelling, Prospecting

elevator pitchThe elevator pitch is an integral piece of a successful sales training strategy.

A sales rep must be prepared to respond to the question: “What does your firm do?” The 30-second pitch must illustrate your company’s unique offering.

Delivered in a polished reply without hesitation, your reps’ short “commercials” must be accurate statements of your company and how it outlasts the competition.

An effectively crafted elevator pitch should pique curiosity and interest and elicit additional questions from the prospect.

Get into the habit of asking a random salesperson on your team to deliver their elevator pitch in meetings or other gatherings. Additionally you can consider the elevator pitch as an ongoing part of a team role play.

3. Walk in Their Buyers’ Shoes: Buyers’ Journey

Targeted Sales Skills: Buyer Research, Discovery, Curiosity, Listening Skills

Selling Through Curiosity (STC) in sales training strategy means, having the curiosity to find and uncover the buyer’s pain points.

Your sales strategy with prospective customers (whether B2B or B2C) is a critical consideration in how to train a sales team.

Successful sales reps discover prospect needs by listening closely and asking timely questions. Asking the wrong question may suspend the sales process.

Open-ended questions are meant to get the prospect to elaborate. For example, “What would you suggest?” or “Why have you always done it that way?

Close-ended questions are meant to elicit an affirmation. For example, “Can you see how our product will increase your bottom line?

A sale happens when you fill the buyer’s needs. If you train your sales team to find their prospect’s pain point and you’ll realize a higher close rate.

4. Help Them Over the Hump: Overcoming Objections

Targeted Sales Skills: Objection Handling, Discovery, Negotiation Skills, Curiosity, Listening Skills

overcoming objectionsObjection handling is a key sales skill that salespeople should master.

A good salesperson listens carefully to identify their prospect’s objections. The more swiftly they can address their prospects’ needs, the less likely objections will manifest in the sales process.

Identify the primary objections that come up in your industry. List them and incorporate them into your sales representative training.

Create mock objection scenarios that the sales team can work on together.

During ongoing training, let the tenured reps lead objection handling exercises as an assist to the less experienced reps.

5. Give ‘em the Spotlight: Demonstration & Presentation Skills

Targeted Sales Skill: Presentation Skills, Communication, Storytelling

Smooth presentation skills and storytelling are essential to successful selling.

Sales presentations come in many forms. Whether presenting in person to a large group, describing a product’s benefits on the phone, or selling virtually, salespeople who deliver flawlessly keep the prospect focused on the product’s benefits without distraction.

Have each rep practice their script on the benefits and subsequent value the product provides the customer.

For B2B sales, reps should tailor their presentation to their prospect’s industry and company. Internalizing the script is crucial to ensuring the effectiveness of the demonstration or presentation.

Storytelling coupled with relevant client testimonials paint a picture to help the prospect realize how the product will help solve their issues and relieve their pain.

6. Know Their Product: Gain Product Expertise

Targeted Sales Skill: Buyer Research, Collaboration, Curiosity

product knowledgeProduct knowledge is a key facet of sales team training. Without it, they cannot effectively move their prospect through the sales cycle to close.

Product knowledge benefits your team’s sales training strategy by:

  • Learning the product benefits and product life cycle
  • Assuring team consistency in product presentations
  • Customizing the product for a prospect’s need, and
  • Effectively handling client issues as they arise.

Integrate mock presentations here to help each salesperson develop and deliver the features and benefits of offerings in your product line.

As junior reps shadow team members and learn the product line, encourage them to develop their own unique language and selling style. Their approach will then come through as genuine and original.

7. Keep Them in the Loop: News & Industry Trends

Targeted Sales Skill: Business Acumen, Social Selling, Collaboration

A customer often has a deep relationship of trust with their salesperson. Depth of industry knowledge demonstrates that your reps are immersed in the industry.

Knowledge begets confidence.

Your prospects are inclined to show increased interest in your company if your reps can speak credibly on industry topics that affect both organizations.

This is especially apparent in repeat-buy situations where a long-term business relationship is possible. The more industry knowledge the rep shares the stronger the trust and relationship that can be developed.

Having your sales reps scour industry trade publications on a regular basis or scanning relevant websites or directories can support knowledge building. If this seems distracting, designate one team member as an online watchdog and give them the responsibility to share industry news with the team.

8. Know the Ropes: Create a Sales Playbook

Targeted Sales Skill: Collaboration, Business Acumen

sales playbookThough each rep will present the product line in their own way, there must be consistency in the delivery of product features and benefits that your team reveals to prospects and clients.

Create an electronic or hard copy sales playbook on your product lines. This will act as a go-to reference for all applications in the sales cycle. Include these topics:

  • Key aspects of the product features and benefits
  • Pricing and the Return on Investment (ROI) that illustrates product value
  • Product customization options
  • Common prospect objections and the requisite responses
  • A reference list of top clients
  • Client testimonials and case studies displaying success with your product

9. Implement the Buddy System: Shadowing Sales Rep Training

Targeted Sales Skill: Collaboration, Buyer Research, Time Management & Planning, Any

There are several steps in the sales training process necessary to build a successful sales team.

At all skill levels, the ability to monitor your reps progress is crucial to ensuring the team is best representing your brand and closing new business.

Junior reps can shadow seasoned reps in a “buddy system”, observing how more seasoned reps sell.

Management can utilize the shadow process across the entire team to ensure there is consistency in the sales process. Doing so can also help identify areas where reps need additional attention and training.

Offering feedback on areas where improvement is needed can confirm where each sales rep is having success, while demonstrating where further development is necessary.

10. Keep It Fun: Sales Games to Enhance Learning

Targeted Sales Skill: Any

You need to continually enhance your sales training process to keep it fresh and avoid rep boredom. If training becomes drudgery or boring, you’ll encounter setbacks in your progress.

One effective way to that end is through sales games.

Use a Sales Jeopardy template to tailor team games and test a variety of sales skills.

Another example is to vary cold call training using Cold Call Bingo. In a group environment, use calls recorded on call-monitoring software. Or, use the cards to train junior reps as they shadow their senior colleagues. Players claim spaces on the cards that match the methods identified in the seasoned reps calls.

11. Take Field Trips: Offsite (& Onsite) Sales Training Tools

Targeted Sales Skill: Collaboration, Any

sales speakerSales challenges have risen out of increased competition, but so have the options at your disposal for quality sales training tools.

Provide a fresh, collaborative training experience for your team via offsite sales training. This can include sales seminars, workshops and conferences which provide an opportunity to learn, a day out of the office, and the opportunity to help the sales team bond together.

Evaluate offsite and virtual training options to assist with CRM, email marketing and social media practices as well.

Consider an outside speaker to visit and inspire your team. This unique experience will provide a great ROI through increased sales resulting from the techniques shared.

Use Sales Training Ideas to Strengthen Your Team

Identifying and implementing targeted sales training ideas are the key to the success of your sales department.

Set individual and collective long-term goals for your department, and identify strategically how the team will reach those goals over specific timeframes.

Have a plan to monitor goal success, and where you may need to tweak accordingly.

Incorporate these ideas consistently and watch your team accelerate their sales results.

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© Shawn Casemore 2022. All Rights Reserved.

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