Professional Development for Sales: 5 Surprisingly Effective Tactics

Professional Development for Sales: 5 Surprisingly Effective Tactics

Would you be interested if I said I had the key to higher employee retention, improved performance, and better workplace morale? Professional development for sales teams can provide all of these benefits and more. 

Employees value professional development. Over ninety percent of surveyed professionals said they would be more likely to remain employed at a company that invested in their growth and development. When paired with the performance improvements gained from sales training, investing in professional development seems like a no-brainer… until you remember all the ineffective training programs you’ve implemented in the past. 

How can you do professional development for sales in a way that actually delivers? 

Say “goodbye” to struggling to get results from professional development for sales. This post walks you through five of my favorite tactics to help level up your team and see real gains from your sales training and development efforts. 

The salesperson or sales team that isn't getting better is getting worse. 

Sounds harsh, but when you consider the rapid changes in the sales environment over the past two decades, you’ll see it’s true. If your team’s mindsets and skillsets aren’t improving, they’re going to struggle to succeed, leaning on legacy tactics and strategies that drive modern customers away. 

As Toffler says, the twenty-first-century equivalent of the illiterate is a person who can’t learn, unlearn, and relearn. 

In modern sales, you need to be agile and capable of pivoting to match changing circumstances. Your reps must also focus on building their business acumen to become trusted advisors for their prospects and customers. 

RELATED READ:How Long Does It Take to Develop a Modern Sales Force

Professional development in sales is not without its challenges, however. Some of the most common challenges for sales training programs are:

You can overcome these challenges. Successful professional development for sales is possible. This post will cover five tactics you need to help your sales team’s professional development efforts succeed. 

First things first: If you want your team to be successful, you need to bring in the right players. At the risk of being controversial, the right mindset is more valuable than the right experience.

Why? Because skills are easier to train than mindset. If you bring in someone hungry for high close rates, you’re better off training them in the nitty-gritty than you are taking someone with experience but a lackadaisical approach.

Once you have the right people in the door, you need to look at your onboarding processes. What does it look like when you onboard a new sales rep?

Consider the following questions:

In short, the name of the game should be getting new reps up to speed as quickly and effectively as possible. This is much easier if you hire people who already have the right mindset. 

A conversation about professional development in sales should often include a conversation about sales coaching. Sales coaching provides reps with information, reinforcement, and relationships within the team.

Some of the strengths of implementing a coaching program for your sales team include:

Your coaching efforts should go beyond a structured coaching plan. Instead, every conversation with your reps should be a coaching conversation designed to help them improve and reach their potential. 

We’ve talked about sales coaching already, but to really have effective professional development, you need the one-two punch of coaching and training. Sales coaching helps reinforce new behaviors and teach skills on a one-to-one basis. On the other hand, sales training can help establish new expectations and skills for your whole team at once. 

Sales training is not a “one-and-done” practice. Putting your team in a conference room and running through a few PowerPoint slides once is not enough to create a real behavior shift. Instead, you should regularly engage in modern sales training, helping your team constantly level-up their skills with new approaches and techniques. 

When choosing a sales training program, you need to look for the following elements:

My Sales Acceleratoroffers all these features and more. To learn more about how the Sales Accelerator can help your team start crushing your targets, get in touch with my team today!

If you're making decisions without the appropriate data, you might as well be making decisions by throwing a dart at a dart board. It would help if you made your professional development decisions based not on gut feeling but on data and analytics.

Your team should use a robust CRM tool to track and manage your leads, opportunities, and customers. The data you’re already tracking has the potential to show you exactly where you need to put your training and development efforts.

RELATED READ:The Data Lies and You Believe It

Some metrics you’ll want to examine when setting up your plans for development are:

Remember, the metrics you choose to focus on will become the outcomes they strive to achieve.  Choose them carefully and focus on metrics that measure outcomes, not activity.  A rep who is measured on Call Volume can make 100 calls a day and not book a single meeting.  A rep who is measured on new meetings booked will have a very different focus.

You want to use professional development to improve your team’s performance as a whole. However, the best professional development plans help each individual achieve their potential. What is each of your reps’ top goals for self-improvement? 

Collaborate with your reps to set their goals. Involve individuals in conversations about the areas where they might need development and allow them to self-identify weaknesses and areas of opportunity. Check-in with team members to ensure they have the tools they need to meet their goals and to contribute meaningfully to team goals. 

Remember: Individual goals contribute to overall team success. Have team-wide professional development goals as well as individual rep goals to see a maximum impact from your training efforts. 

On the whole, sales professionals are results-driven and self-motivated workers. Low engagement in professional development is only a risk when they feel like the training is a waste of their time. 

When you provide effective, valuable professional development opportunities that help sales reps reach their individual goals and targets, you’ll get more team buy-in and your training will be more effective.

The hit your targets and get the most out of sales training, your team needs a blueprint for success. I’ve developed a free resource, the Revenue Growth Blueprint, that lays out all the information you need to help your sales team win more deals. 

Get started by checking out the Revenue Growth Blueprint and start crushing your team’s targets today. 

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