Foundations of a Successful Sales Team - Part 2 of 3: Training
This is the second of a three part installment based on the author’s experience building million dollar revenue centers for gig economy unicorns.
TL;DR: Sales matters. It’s not clear where to start. Here’s what you should focus on: Building a sales team brings a laundry list of to-dos: interview candidates, write a script, develop training, implement a CRM, structure commission, and countless other tasks. The goal of this guide is to provide a systematic and replicable approach to lay the foundations of a successful sales team.
Part two: Training
Fact one: You can know the rules.
Fact two: You can’t know the game. Result: Treat sales training like learning a sport.
When you have developed a pitch that communicates what problems you can help your customers solve, you must ensure that your salespeople can deliver the message compellingly and consistently. Successful training and development are broken into the following:
John Wooden, renowned UCLA basketball coach who won 10 NCAA Championships in 12 years, started each season by teaching his players how to properly put on their socks, lace, and tie their shoes. His logic:
Loose shoes → Blisters → Missed shots → Lost games → Lost seasons
Master the fundamentals. A salesperson who does not have the fundamentals of selling committed to procedural memory will never be able to operate in the “zone” achieved by elite performers. They will be constantly hamstrung trying to recall the pitch points and product details instead of listening and responding to the customer with aplomb.
Professional basketball teams don’t train by scrimmaging all week. Top athletes break down their profession into drills and exercises that allow them to focus and maximize repetitions where they need to improve. The same rules apply to developing a salesperson. Breakdown each step of the sale and create exercises that give your team an opportunity to practice what matters most. Making the assumption that a salesperson will sufficiently “learn on the job” delays growth and leaves them woefully unprepared in front of potential customers.
Practice. No one becomes world class without countless repetitions. No one! Mastering a sale is not like learning a new excel formula: watch a YouTube video, memorize it, save the link for future reference, enter the code, and you’re done. Mastering a sale requires deconstructing and practicing each component of the job.
Keep Practicing. Many sales teams limit intensive practice and drilling to new hires. The most successful sales teams take the opposite approach. Quicken Loans — the largest mortgage originator in the U.S. — starts each day with their sales team practicing the pitch and handling objections. Like learning how to shoot a hockey puck, the more good practice you get, the better you become.
Pro-tip: Your best people are your hardest workers and fastest learners. Reward them with good training or you will cap their growth.
For any pursuit that requires live performance – from dance to jiu-jitsu to sales – it is difficult to simultaneously perform and self-critique. This is where the sales manager must step into their most important role: Coaching.
Constant feedback is key. Salespeople need visibility into what they’re doing well and where they can improve. The best sales managers serve as coaches for their team. Beyond, analyzing metrics to assess team and individual performance, sales managers must spend time observing and instructing their team on where and how they can improve. In addition to manager coaching, the most productive teams instill the value of peer coaching. The result: an environment that provides constant feedback and an opportunity for continuous improvement.
Pro-tip: Sales managers should use tools (e.g., call recording) to leverage their time.
Your team is selling to human beings, which makes it impossible to predict and script each challenge they will face. The goal of training your team is not to build robots, but develop the skills needed to adapt and succeed with each potential customer. You can learn the rules of Tennis as well as Serena Williams, but that will not prepare you to play against her. The rules are not the game. You get to the top by training.
Part three, we will focus on the pillars of successful sales Management. Missed part one? Learn about how to recruit and hire the right People.
GetSales is building the highest-performing customer acquisition engine in the world. Previously implemented in the fastest growing consumer technology companies in the world to leverage billions in marketing spend and deliver millions of customers, GetSales combines its highly skilled salespeople with its proprietary data and technology platform to deliver end-to-end customer acquisition. About the Author Garrett Wood is the President and Founder at GetSales Inc., a customer acquisition engine focused Marketplace and Gig-economy businesses. Prior to GetSales, Wood worked at Uber where he created the first National Driver Inside Sales organization and Offline Driver Growth channel.