According to a recent report, companies are dedicating only 10% of their learning and development (L&D) resources to improving sales. Indeed, the most common complaint among new hires is the lack of in-depth sales training. Find out why sales training is an investment your company can’t afford to overlook.
Why Invest in Learning and Development for Your Sales Team?
The 2019 Learning and Development (L&D) Report from professional search engine findcourses.com conducted a survey of over 70 L&D professionals. Of those surveyed, only 10% reported sales as a top training priority despite the proven benefits of learning and development. The report revealed a clear connection between learning and innovative business practices, diversity and inclusion training and financial growth, and current financial growth with increasing L&D investment.
L&D training is a key facet of running a successful and growing business. However, businesses are missing out on fostering long-term growth when they overlook sales training in L&D plans. By strategically increasing investment in L&D, you can maximize your potential for revenue growth, while cementing the sales team at the center of your business’ success.
So, what L&D strategies will help more sellers become more effective? If your goal is to lead your sales team to victory, practicing L&D professionals have identified some key training insights to boost sales and encourage innovation.
Create a Safe Space for Idea-Sharing
A successful sales team is one that openly shares and communicates their ideas in the spirit of collaboration and mutual support. Tiffany Poppa of Bonobos credits their high rate of innovation to their culture of trust and relationship-building: “Focusing on strengths creates trust; it creates a safe space to try something and possibly fail, have a conversation about it, and move forward.”
Similarly, Training Manager of CyberCoders Dani Chang emphasizes idea-sharing when hiring and training new sales recruits: “My team hire, manage, train, and ramp up individuals that have no prior sales or recruiting experience.” The training encourages idea-sharing and bonding among the new recruits which is then carried throughout their time with the company, ultimately leading to higher levels of innovation.
Stay Flexible and Adaptable
Businesses often require sales teams to switch tact quickly and efficiently. Keeping your L&D program agile will help you lead your team smoothly into any new structure that results from mergers or acquisitions. Consistent evaluation and recalibration are the best ways to keep exceeding expectations.
Tiffany Poppa, Director of Employee Experience at Bonobos explains that, “Focusing on what’s right with people makes for an inclusive environment where people can openly express themselves, their ideas and even their challenges.” Cultivating a working environment and an agile L&D culture that encourages openness is the first step to inviting innovation to your office, and to keep it there.
Embrace the Future of Sales with Virtual Reality
Harnessing the power of new virtual reality technology gives sales teams the opportunity to complement existing training with something relatively rare: practice-as-learning in a safe environment.
VR coaching company STRIVR’s Chief Strategy Officer Danny Belch has seen the impact of VR on L&D in real time. “With VR, because of the on-demand nature, a real-life experience can be fired up at the click of a button … it’s not role-play. You have this beautifully free space to practice, to stumble on your words,” Belch observes. He finds that putting the information presented in training into a real-life scenario gives you the repetition needed to get it right.
The Key Takeaway
Investment in sales training L&D will provide the tools to maximize your sales team’s success. Making that upfront investment in L&D, creating a safe space for idea-sharing, researching the latest trends in technology and innovation and keeping your training agile and personalized are all techniques practicing L&D professionals have found successful. Boosting sales training is no small feat, but the research shows that investment in L&D is by far the best place to start.
Keely Witherow is a writer and content editor at professional training search engine findcourses.com and higher education portal educations.com. A native-Texan based in Stockholm, Keely has utilized her interest in cross-cultural relations to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.