What is the one practice that helps new sales reps understand the industry trends and experienced reps actively stay on the top? It is sales training.
We have prepared a detailed B2B sales training guide for sales managers, VPs, and sales reps to understand the importance, techniques, and processes of sales training in detail.
The Purpose of B2B Sales Training - Delivering Value to Customers
Every brand’s ultimate goal is to deliver value to the customers. A targeted and well-designed sales training program helps the SDRs to get an in-depth understanding of target customers’ profile, their pain points, and the solution the customer is looking for.
Again, this means identifying the value requirements of every customer and finding a way to deliver them. Sales managers are already well versed in value creation. Sales training aims to incorporate their knowledge into the B2B sales training programs.
A dedicated collaboration between the B2B sales and marketing teams can ensure the success of the sales training programs.
A Quick Checklist to Design your B2B Sales Training Program
A B2B sales training program requires dedication to research, a targeted process, and compiling all business needs to be documented together. Designing sales training can never happen overnight.
Here is a quick checklist of the pointers to keep in mind for a streamlined B2B sales training program:
#1 Targeted sales process
Introducing the new sales reps with the B2B sales process is very important. It is the first step to helping them get accustomed to the organization's sales framework and thoroughly understand the user’s journey.
A well-crafted sales process should move parallel with the customer’s journey. Here are some factors to discuss with the SDRs while explaining your company's sales process:
- Define the end-to-end buyer’s journey
- Discuss the stages of the sales process and their significance like research, discovery call, demo call, etc.
- Explain the internal sales and marketing tools and how the reps should use them to achieve maximum results
See how the above image shows a funnel-based overview of the B2B sales process. It highlights various stages of the sales funnel and the objectives of each of these stages. This kind of pictorial overview can eliminate the confusion of the reps and prepare them for handling the complex B2B sales process.
#2 Appropriate CRM system
Sales representatives always work on the internal Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Hence, a sales training program should provide an overview of the CRM system and the dedicated process to follow for creating this system.
Here’s why SDRs must know about the CRM system in detail:
- A CRM system consolidates all potential customers’ contact details, helps identify future sales opportunities, and ensures stronger relationship building between the sales reps and customers.
- Even if a sales representative quits the organization and is replaced by new personnel, a CRM ensures that the new person can resume from where the previous SDR has left off.
- A CRM system is the go-to way for creating and communicating real-time sales reports that can be shared with leaders and executives. Hence, a CRM plays an essential role in deciding sales projections and contributes closely to the sales decision-making process.
#3 An engaging story
Craft an engaging story about the products and target customers. A story can easily engage the sales reps and build interest to learn more. They can then use and repeat this story to enhance their market understanding.
Tried and Tested B2B Sales Training Techniques
Planning to design your B2B sales training program? Here are a few techniques to help you out:
1. Implement microlearning
Rigorous training can become harmful for sales professionals and crush their motivation in the long run. A great replacement for long sales training sessions is - microlearning.
Microlearning is an approach where sales managers can coach the SDRs with small chunks of information at a time. Microlearning sales training is at best 10 to 15 minutes long. With microlearning, sales managers can retain the engagement of sales teams and enhance knowledge retention.
Here are some of the best ways to conduct microlearning successfully:
- Repurpose existing courses, content, and other resources and break them down into shorter videos/audio recordings.
- Adding fun elements to the sales training programs to motivate the reps.
- Make sure that the training videos are accessible from any device to improve flexibility.
2. Explain how to handle objections
In B2B sales, handling objections is one of the greatest skills. Objections are inevitable in sales, and navigating through these objections successfully is what distinguishes a good sales rep from a great sales rep.
Some common reasons behind objections in B2B sales are
- No budget
- No time
- No requirement
These are pretty common curveballs that sales reps might receive during sales calls. However, converting these objections into conversion is what makes a difference.
Practicing the art of handling objections is simple. During sales training, sales managers should teach the “They say-I say” approach. It can help the reps handle objections successfully and learn the process themselves.
It is a very simple process where an SDR needs to create a table as follows and add various responses from prospects’ and their perspectives:
Sales managers can provide various real-life scenarios during sales coaching sessions and see how reps can handle those rejections. This is a proven technique to get results during sales prospecting.
3. Teach about social selling
Social media plays a key role in B2B sales. According to HubSpot, buyers are 71% more likely to purchase from a brand based on social media referrals. Most B2B buyers complete their preliminary research on social media itself before reaching out to a brand.
The sales teams should be thoroughly trained in social selling. More so because social media is a faster and easier channel to reach out to prospects. In fact, 9 out of 10 B2B companies are on LinkedIn today, and sales teams can’t risk these opportunities by not improving their social selling skills.
Social selling should be part of your sales coaching program, and it should cover the following aspects closely:
- Creating professional profiles on LinkedIn and Twitter
- Using the “search bar” and filters appropriately to identify high-intent prospects
- Teaching social media content creation process to grab prospects’ attention
- Networking effectively with prospects and engaging them to nurture relationships
4. Don’t compromise on industry knowledge
Strong knowledge of the B2B industry should be the cornerstone of any sales coaching program. Comprehensive industry knowledge can help the B2B sales reps learn and implement new selling techniques. Here are a few components that should be part of an industry training session:
- Knowledge of product - The sales professionals should understand the products inside out before attempting to sell them to the prospects. Product knowledge should be firm to respond to prospects’ questions confidently. The business development executives should know each product, its features, and how these products can provide a solution to the prospects.
- Knowledge of customers - B2B sales cycles are long and time-consuming. Hence, the sales reps must identify high-intent prospects and invest their efforts in qualifying them. Spending too much time on low-intent prospects can turn out to be pointless.
However, how do the business development professionals identify the quality leads?
Well, to achieve this, sales managers must teach them everything about the target customer profile. The SDRs should have in-depth knowledge of the target customers, their user persona, pain points, expected results, probable objections, etc.
This will help the sales reps to target ideal customers and craft personalized sales pitches to attract them.
- Knowledge of market - Having comprehensive market knowledge is also a great aspect of industry knowledge. SDRs should be aware of the dominating market trends, top competitors and their sales strategies, and the latest facts and stats of the industry.
- Don’t forget that B2B decision - Makers are already aware of these facts. They obviously should raise objections backed by the latest market trends. The business development managers must be aware of these market facts to argue with the prospects.
5. Provide detailed and comprehensive feedback
A critical part of B2B sales training is to evaluate the sales performance of the business development managers and provide comprehensive feedback. Constructive feedback can motivate the sales representatives to do better. You can also share other reps’ success stories with the new SDRs to inspire them to do better.
Major Components of any B2B Sales Training Program
A good sales training program should include the following components:
Teach upselling and cross-selling
When a sales professional approaches a B2B customer, they might be well aware of some of the problems that require an immediate solution. However, there are many underlying problems that customers are unaware of. A successful B2B sales rep can educate the prospects and make them aware of the additional problems that their product can solve.
For example, suppose a sales rep is trying to sell productivity software to a prospect. The prospect is currently looking to find a way to streamline the internal projects and increase visibility. The productivity software addresses these pain points perfectly.
However, during the sales call, the rep identifies that the prospect requires analytics support too. That’s when they need to apply their upselling/cross-selling skills to explain the importance of analytics and how their product can help.
Upselling should be part of the sales coaching program to boost sales performance and increase the financial value of the sales deals.
Asking the right set of questions
Sales managers should train the reps closely on how to frame appropriate questions. Asking thought-provoking, open-ended questions can help a sales personnel move to the core of customers’ problems. Accordingly, they can craft their sales pitch. This is a super-useful exercise to coach the new sales reps.
Explaining the follow-up process
Following-up is critical in the B2B sales process. Business decision-makers are often busy with a lot of things; a sales deal slips their mind. Hence, managers should teach the sales teams the following-up process. Note that the following process has to be spontaneous and not at all pushy.
Some of the questions to answer through this type of training are:
- How long should the SDRs wait before following up?
- Should they follow up through calls, emails, or social media outreach?
- How many times should they follow up?
Provide Data-driven Sales Training with Salesken
B2B sales training is the key to growing the sales teams' knowledge and boosting their confidence to make sales calls more efficiently. A well-trained sales rep can hold their ground during sales calls, represent data-backed arguments, handle objections smartly, and convert prospects like a pro.
Want to simplify B2B sales training for your company? Try Salesken’s sales coaching software. It helps you with the following benefits:
- Evaluating SDRs’ sales performance and identifying the improvement points
- Targeted training programs for each rep along with automated feedback
- Coach the sales reps with real-time cues.
To know further, book a free demo now!