If you are a product leader, subject matter expert, or salesperson who has to train your sales team or channel partner, here are seven ways to ensure your program is effective.
1. Set clear and specific learning objectives
To maximize the results of your training sessions, set clear and specific learning objectives. Focus on three areas:
Knowledge: What the salespeople need to know.
Skills: What the salespeople need to do.
Attitudes: How you want the salespeople to feel.
Include content and exercises that achieve your objectives. Leave out the rest.
2. Teach from a salesperson’s point of view
Learner Centered is a term from the world of professional training. It’s a fancy way of saying that, during your workshops, your content should be told from a salesperson’s point of view and not yours.
In your training sessions, every salesperson has three questions on his mind:
How will this product help me make more sales?
What are the essentials I need to learn?
How do I use this information on sales calls?
Every minute of your program should be focused on answering those three questions.
3. Interact and facilitate—don’t lecture
“A yawn is nature’s way of giving the person listening to a speaker an opportunity to open his mouth.”
— Gian Vincenzo Gravina, Italian man of letters
Lecturing is the least effective method of teaching salespeople. Yet, product leaders use it most often.
For better results, make your training sessions interactive.
Ask questions and facilitate discussions
Have participants pair and practice
For best results, include some form of interactivity at least once every eight minutes.
4. Be an Enter-trainer
We live in an entertainment culture. Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. Improve your training sessions by infusing them with:
Lightness of spirit
Praise and recognition
5. Tell Stories
Include stories in your training. More parts of the brain are engaged when hearing a story than any other form of one-way communication. Stories can be examples, case studies, or personal anecdotes that make relevant points.
Provide variety by having salespeople share their experiences and success stories in addition to your own.
6. Engage their emotions
You may have heard the old sales adage, people don’t buy what they need; they buy what they want.
The same is true with sales training. Salespeople don’t learn what they need to learn; they learn what they are motivated to learn. You must light a fire and get them excited.
Show them the path of least sales resistance
Help them overcome unspoken fears
Be transparent and truthful
Simply telling salespeople about the features, functions, and benefits of your product will not motivate them. In fact, it might de-motivate them because there is a risk of overwhelming them with too much information.
7. Appeal to different learning styles
All learners are not alike. Training experts define three primary learning styles:
Visual: Learn by seeing. They think in images and learn best by looking at diagrams, flipchart images, and pictures.
Aural: Learn through listening and discussions. They look for underlying meaning through tone of voice, pitch, and rate of delivery.
Kinesthetic: Learn by doing through role-plays, games, and hands-on activities. They can’t sit still for long.
To engage every type of learner, deliver your training in a variety of formats.