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Continual Development of the Sales Force: Sales Training. Module Six. Action. Real World Sales Training An Expert’s Viewpoint:.

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Continual Development of theSales Force: Sales Training

Module Six

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Real World Sales TrainingAn Expert’s Viewpoint:

Whirlpool developed a sales training program that mirrored MTV’s The Real World. National training manager Jackie Seib helped come up with the idea of putting a dozen or so strangers (new salespeople) in a house full of Whirlpool appliances. The new hires stay in the home for two months, using the appliances and working with engineers to learn how they work. Seib says “We really wanted them to understand the appliances as a consumer would, so they can bring real-world stories about the appliances to the sales floor.”

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Real World Sales TrainingAn Expert’s Viewpoint:

The program’s impact on revenue has yet to be determined, but it has had a positive effect on employees. Of the first 40 salespeople to complete the program, 8 have been promoted—all attributing their success to the knowledge and confidence they received as a result of the training. Even though the program costs a bit more than the two-week classroom version, Whirlpool believes that the investment is worth it.

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Role of Sales Training inSales Force Socialization

  • Initiation to Task — The degree to which a sales trainee feels competent and accepted as a working partner

  • Role Definition — An understanding of what tasks are to be performed, what the priorities of the tasks are, and how time should be allocated among the tasks.

Sales training helps socialize the new hires, providing them with a positive:

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Sales Training as a Crucial Investment

  • Most organizations see a link between sales training and salesperson productivity (training pays off)

  • U.S. companies spend approximately $8.7 billion annually on training

  • The need for sales training is continual

  • Sales managers play a crucial role in the training process

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Firms that train



  • STI has trained outside sales people and sales managers in a variety of industries for the past 42 years. See Partial list of Clients. Our experienced trainers, with backgrounds in a wide variety of specialties, conduct the sessions. Our core training topics are listed under QUAD-TRAK Consultative Selling Program and Annual Sales Meetings. Pricing is based on the number of participants and the number of days. A typical training will cost $3,500 per day for up to 15 participants, plus travel and customization expense.

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Assess Sales Training Needs

Set Training Objectives

Evaluate Training Alternatives

Design Sales Training Program

Perform Sales Training

Conduct Follow-Up and Evaluation

Managing the Sales Training Process

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Assess Training Needs

  • Determine desired skill set and levels of performance

  • Assess salesperson’s actual skill set and levels of performance

  • Analyze gap between desired and actual to determine training needs

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Assess Training Needs: Methods

  • Sales Force Audit

  • Performance Testing

  • Observation

  • Salesforce Survey

  • Customer Survey

  • Job analysis

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Typical Sales Training Needs

  • Sales Techniques:Salespeople have an ongoing need to learn “how to sell”

  • Product Knowledge:Salespeople must know their product benefits, applications, competitive strengths, and limitations

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Typical Sales Training Needs

  • Customer Knowledge:Salespeople should know their customer needs, buying motives, buying procedures, and personalities.

  • Competitive Knowledge:Salespeople must know competitive offerings in terms of strengths and weaknesses.

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Typical Sales Training Needs

  • Time and Territory Management: Salespeople should learn to maximum work efficiency.

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Common MistakesSales Training Addresses

  • Ineffective listening and questioning

  • Failure to build rapport and trust

  • Poor job of prospecting for new accounts

  • Lack of preplanning of sales calls

  • Reluctance to make cold calls(without an appointment)

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Common MistakesSales Training Addresses

  • Lack of sales strategies for different accounts

  • Failure to match call frequency with account potential

  • Spending too much time with old customers

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Common MistakesSales Training Addresses

  • Over-controlling the sales call

  • Failure to respond to customers’ needs with benefits

  • Giving benefits before clarifying customers’ needs

  • Ineffective handling of negative attitudes

  • Failure to effectively confirm the sale

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Training Objectives

  • Increase sales or profits

  • Create positive attitudes and improve salesforce morale

  • Assist in sales force socialization

  • Reduce role conflict and ambiguity

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Training Objectives

  • Introduce new products, markets, and promotional programs

  • Develop salespeople for future management positions

  • Ensure awareness of ethical and legal responsibilities

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Training Objectives

  • Teach administrative procedures

  • Ensure competence in the use of sales and sales support tools

  • Minimize sales force turnover rate

  • Prepare new salespeople for assignment to a sales territory

  • Improve teamwork & cooperative efforts

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Evaluate Training Alternatives

  • Selecting Sales Trainers

    • Internal

    • External

  • Selecting Sales Training Locations

    • Decentralized (e.g., district or regional offices)

    • Centralized (e.g., corporate headquarter)

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Evaluate Training Alternatives

  • Selecting Sales Training Methods

    • Classroom/Conference Training

    • On-the-job Training (OJT)

      • Mentoring

      • Job rotation

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Evaluate Training Alternatives

  • Selecting Sales Training Methods

    • Behavioral Simulations

    • Absorption Training

  • Selecting Sales Training Media

    • Internet

    • Computer-Based (e.g., CD-ROM)

    • Paper-Based

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Design the Sales Training Program

  • Finalize the Training Program

  • Schedule Training Sessions

  • Make Necessary Travel Arrangements

  • Make Necessary Accommodation Arrangements

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Perform Sales Training

As the training is being conducted, the sales manager’s primary responsibility is to monitor progress of the trainees and to ensure adequate presentation of the training topics.

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Conduct Follow-Up and Evaluation

It is always difficult to measure the effectiveness of sales training. Nevertheless, a reasonable attempt must be made to assess whether current training expenditures are worthwhile and whether future modification is warranted.

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How to use email

  • “The insurance company I work for maintains an internal mailing list devoted to one of our customers. One day, one of our sales reps sent an e-mail to everyone in my group asking about a policy we were selling. I replied that we could easily convince the customer to buy it — even though the customer didn’t need it.

  • Unfortunately, I clicked Reply All. Hiding in that massive list was the customer’s e-mail address. We didn’t make the sale.”

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