The 9 Biggest Product Training Mistakes

You’re about to introduce a new product. Your corporate revenue targets—and your bonus—depend on a successful launch. Avoid these mistakes and you’ll increase your chances of success.

1. Sales training is an afterthought

With all the energy and effort it takes to launch a product—analyzing the market, developing the offering, gaining approvals, and outlining the marketing plan, it’s no wonder the final step—sales training—often gets short-changed.

2. Dusting off an old PowerPoint the night before the training session

Even if you are well versed in the content of that old PowerPoint, it is probably slanted toward a non-sales audience. Salespeople need content from their point of view.

3. Assuming the sales team is as excited about the new offering as you are

You’ve spent months thinking, designing, and planning. The day has come to train the sales team. You are pumped. Do not assume the salespeople share your enthusiasm. Your presentation might be the first time they’re hearing about the new offering. The product might disrupt their familiar and comfortable way of selling. They may resent having to sit through hours or days of training.

4. Too much information

Product leaders sometimes get so excited about their new offering, they feel compelled to share every last detail with the sales team. This can lead to information overload, confusion, and lost sales.

5. Lecturing

Salespeople have the attention spans of gnats. Lecture is the least effective training method to hold their attention, transfer knowledge, and build the skill and confidence necessary to find prospects and close business.

Remember this: Telling isn’t training.

6. One-time training event

No matter how good your training content might be, a one-time training event will not achieve your desired results. A one and done approach is called sheep dipping (a process used by farmers to rid sheep of parasites). Salespeople need time to digest, practice, and internalize. Training needs to be supplemented by reinforcement, coaching, and inspection.

7. No fun factor

Salespeople are energetic. They like to have fun. If your content is dull and dry, they will be bored and tune out.

8. Content does not link to the sales process

Salespeople must understand when, where, and how to use product knowledge on sales calls. If you simply provide features and benefits, they will have to figure out for themselves how that content fits into their discussions with prospects. Some will make the connection. Many will struggle. It’s a chance you cannot afford to make.

9. Doesn’t explain the why or WIIFM (what’s in it for me?)

If your training content merely provides the details of your new product, you risk putting your sales team to sleep. Get their attention. Break preoccupation. Tell them why you launched your product in the first place. What is the market need? What void does the product fill? Show what’s in it for them—how this product will help them achieve their sales goals and reach quota.

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