Two follies of sales training programs

Companies can bolster their revenue by investing more heavily in their sales departments. By providing sales coaching and training to their representatives, businesses will be able to create a more valuable sales force. That said, coaching and training initiatives need to be well-designed, and it's quite possible that an inexperienced business will struggle to create an effective program. There are two specific follies that companies should avoid when designing coaching initiatives.

1. Assuming too much about the customer

As the Harvard Business Review notes, many sales training initiatives assume a great deal about the customer, namely the fact that all consumers make logical decisions when considering which products and services to buy. While lower prices, greater convenience, better features and special discounts may have some sway with prospects, there are other factors at play as well, such as brand relationships and loyalty. A successful salesperson realizes that emotional, political and subconscious appeal are also crucial.

"A sales training program should not solely educate salespeople about features, functions and business benefits," the news source adds. "It must also explain the psychological reasons customers buy and provide practical real-world examples on how to incorporate the elements of customer behavior into a winning sales strategy."

2. No variance in learning

People are individuals, and no one learns in the same way. A critical misstep that many training programs make is assuming that people will all take the same key points away from a learning session. The fact of the matter is that some people will learn best from a seminar, while others may need to read books. Further, some salespeople may internalize concepts by watching a video, and others may prefer participating in activities.

Companies shouldn't take a limited approach to their training modules or else they may not get the most out of their training initiatives. Try using interesting learning vehicles, ranging from personal anecdotes to games, to drive home key points.

Because of the complexities of launching sales coaching and training initiatives, many companies have opted to use a third party instead. This ensures they don't fall victim to any follies and maximizes the time of their busy sales representatives.