1. What is group sales training?
Group sales training is the process of delivering sales training to groups and sales teams rather than individual salespeople.
Group sales training is usually delivered at events, sales kickoffs and conferences and may be tied into new campaigns, product launches or the start of a new financial year.
In addition, it’s not uncommon for organisations to use group sales training as part of a wider sales enablement or sales readiness program.
2. How do I train my sales team?
The best way to train your sales team is to first identify the skills they need developing and then tie these into everyday work tasks.
In order to get the most from any training programs you should always include sales managers, team leaders and in SMEs and Mid Market accounts even the CEO should be included.
This sends a message to the group that the training program is important and has Exec Level sponsorship.
Then, once the salespeople have been trained they can immediately start using the new skills they have learned.
At this stage it’s unlikely the new skills will work perfectly every time so it’s important they have further access to coaching to reinforce the training and support them.
Studies show that people learn via doing so any training must include an opportunity for the salespeople to use the new skills. We call this work based learning.
3. What training does a Sales person need?
Each sales person requires training specific to the products and services they are selling. In addition they will require training on sales skills to help them become more proficient at selling.
The higher the cost of the product or service the more training they will need in order to be successful.
We use a simple Training Needs Analysis template which includes the most common skills we are asked by comanies to deliver training on.
You should customise the template below to help identify the training needs of your own organisation before commencing any group sales training.
4. The goals of Group Sales Training?
From our experience there are typically three overarching goals that group sales training need to address. These goals differ in every organisation and are tied to the strategic business drivers of three core functions – the overall business strategy owned by the CEO and board of Directors, the sales strategy owned by the VP of Sales and the people strategy which is owned the HR Director.
Here’s an example of goals a CEO may have:
Here’s an example of goals a VP of Sales may have:
Here’s an example of goals a HR Director may have:
Group sales training requires a significant level of investment both in terms of time and money.
Gaining Exec sponsorship for the project is vital and in many cases without this, the project is likely to either not get off the ground, or be closed down before it has a chance to prove itself.
5. Most common Group Sales Training activities?
The most common group sales training activities are workshop led tasks where salespeople are invited to contribute new ideas to solve particular challenges.
These challenges could be internal where systems and processes need improving or external where they need to enter new markets.
Having the salespeople contribute makes them feel more valued and helps gain buy in to any potential solution that comes from the sessions.
A common example of this type of workshop would be to run a session on how to shorten the sales cycle.
When properly facilitated this is a great topic for salespeople to brainstorm and come up with new ideas.
Another great workshop topic is Future Proofing sales. This session focusses on what customer insights the salespeople have about how the market may be changing.
As the people closest to the organisations customers salespeople are best placed to do this.
There are many group sales training activities available, however, these should be selected on their relevance and their potential impact.
Before deciding which of these activities is right for your sales team you should conduct a training needs analysis.
This will identify the areas where the sales reps need the most support.
By dividing your sales professionals into rotating teams throughout the event, you’ll have built work bonds and friendships across multiple departments which in turn builds employee morale.
From our research we have listed below the most common skills companies are looking for to support their salespeople.
Most common sales skills for Group Sales Training
|Handling stalls & objections||Building relationships|
|Controlling the sales conversation||Value creation|
|Advanced questioning skills||Cross Selling|
|Referrals & testimonials||Dealing with difficult customers|
|Online Sales Presentation skills||Negotiation skills|
|Sales Navigator||Whiteboard selling|
Most common sales topics for group sales training
|How to sell to big companiesSales Leadership trainingConsultative Sales TrainingSales coaching for managersSaas sales trainingEnterprise selling skillsKey account managementSales Management trainingTelesales trainingCommercial awareness trainingMost Common Sales Topics for Group Sales Training
6. Can I mix ability levels in group sales training
Group sales training may be run as a one off event however more and more companies are using group sales training as part of a wider development plan.
7. How do learning paths apply to sales training?
Imagine a sales person wants to move into management. In most cases they will have neither the skills nor the practical experience to do so.
8. Technology used to deliver sales training
In terms of group sales training, technology has two main purposes. Firstly, group sales training should use technology to enable the delivery of the training. There are many different technology options for delivering training, however, it’s worth asking the following questions:
b) does your existing technology track the progress, record and provide management reporting on the learning? Learners should complete polls, assessments, reflective learning statements and work based projects that embed the learning.
We use the Microsoft 365 technology platform as a base for delivering sales training. This has a number of advantages including familiarity for users, reliability, cloud based and mobile friendly.
Your own company learning portal for training
You can consolidate all your learning resources into a single hub built inside your own Microsoft Teams environment, where your team already spend most of their day.
9. Measuring the impact of sales training
Whilst training is designed to improve sales performance it’s important to measuring the impact on the performance of the team. This need not be difficult, however, unless this is discussed in advance in all too many cases the impact may either never happen, or happen, but be neither recorded nor appreciated.
We suggest measuring the impact of training into two main areas as follows:
a) Tangible – this includes things like the number of proposals delivered or sales generated. These are what we call lag indicators, what we mean by this is they happen as a result of something else happening earlier in the sales process.
A better way to measure impact is to measure these lead indicators, and they include anything at the very start of your sales process. For a SaaS business this could be the number of outbound call from SDR’s or if you are running an inbound sales strategy it could be the number of online events your SME’s (subject experts) are delivering.
b) Intangible – the so called “soft” side of training is arguably of equal or greater importance than the hard tangibles like new purchase orders.
That’s because invariably your group training will not have a tangible impact without the intangible benefits. Intangible benefits include.
Sense of achievement
If you’re in any doubt of the value of each of these then there is a great article here on a study undertaken from the University of Chicago.
10. How to deliver engaging content
When choosing content there is a balance to be struck between what the participants want and what the participants need. Here’s a real life example:
11. Group sales training on prospecting
Workshops are an excellent way of delivering training on sales prospecting. This is however, only the case if the training includes live prospecting.
12. Team training supports motivation
Having fellow members of your team, need and want you to succeed makes professional selling easier.
13. Use team training to build morale
It’s natural for team members to start getting closer to one another during any form of training.
14. Diarising your sales training
Often when group sales training is required it’s impossible to have everyone attending the sales training at the same time.
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Iain Swanston has spent over 30 years in B2B sales selling, training and leading teams both domestically and internationally. In addition he serves as an Associate at Strathclyde University Business School where he has delivered the sales content for the Masters in Entrepreneurship since 2015.