Is It Time For Sales Training?

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Should we be doing more or less sales training right now?

Let’s talk about why some companies are doubling down on training right now (and some aren’t).

We’re all in brand new situations today, but our companies, our people, and ourselves are affected differently.  Some of us are:

  1. Facing layoffs and massive business downturns
  2. Ramping up amidst high demand
  3. Slowing down but staying the course

And many of us are moving between these three as situations change daily and we plan for the best (and the worst).  At Factor 8, we’re seeing some companies decide it’s time for more sales training and others are pausing. Here’s why:

Most of what we’re hearing is #3 – we’ve slowed down. Smart leaders here are focusing the teams on what is in our control and on positive production.  It may NOT mean calling the list/book for the fourth time. It might mean writing case studies, cleaning out the pipeline, and spending time developing the team.  

Not only are there some obvious team development needs right now, but we’re seeing some companies push beyond “WFH” topics to really improving call quality and efficiencies in preparation for the turnaround.  Some no-brainer topics to consider starting with are:

Sales Managers:

  1. Remote management – our front line managers may have it toughest right now
  2. Remote call coaching – now is the time to better engage through coaching
  3. Essential meetings – they can’t be ad-hoc anymore
  4. Developing your team – do’s and don’ts of team development
  5. Pipeline fundamentals – hey, we’re cleaning out the garage at home…you get it

Sales Reps:

  1. Weaving empathy into messaging – we all wish every vendor was teaching this! 😉
  2. Voicemails that get returned – now’s the time to leave better messages
  3. Conducting remote meetings – enough said
  4. Engaging customers – ditching the script and getting human
  5. Pipeline fundamentals – yup.

What gets me excited are companies that are digging in even further.  Working with teams on how to attack their books and leads when we’re back online.  Capturing new decision makers, getting strategic, practicing messaging for their introductions, writing better questions, using stories, overcoming objections, asking for referrals…you get the idea.  The blocking and tackling needs we all have skill gaps in but never have time to address.

Here’s the strange but apt analogy.  Factor 8 does training inside women’s prisons for the hundred of women doing outsourced calls on behalf of clients who hire Televerde. Really amazing program that meets a business need while changing lives. In talking with these women we’ve learned that the women who make it when they are out are the ones who spend their time inside preparing for the outside. School, studying, physical and mental fitness. Quarantine is starting to feel a little like the inside, right?

Like sports, when we’re off the game field, we go straight to the practice field.  Are college basketball teams all sitting on the couch right now because playoffs were canceled?  Hell no. They’re doing drills. They’re staying fit. They’re doing all they can to come back stronger and their coaches are doing all they can to keep the team operating as a team and spirits high.

Leaders!  Get your teams off the couch and focused on sales drills!  Let’s prepare for the comeback and stay positively focused!!

OK, now the other side.  We’re NOT training teams right now if:

  • We’re planning layoffs or cutbacks 
  • Leadership is still heads-down on the transition (connectivity, remote management, etc.)
  • We don’t have a rally strategy to get behind yet
  • All budgets are frozen and time is allocated in bridging the situation

All valid reasons my friends.  But if you’re swamped, I invite you to investigate ways your team can still rally and drill without you.  Delegate to a hopeful team lead. There are free resources, self-study, and programs available (we’ve offered shorter terms, discounts, and delayed payments at Factor 8).  Employees stick with leaders and companies that help them develop, and now may be a critical time to engage our people (and may also offer us more time to do so).

And if you’re ramping up, it’s tempting to get them a log-on or a script, but I hope that you too will find time eventually to train these folks if you want to keep them.  This rapid-ramp model works for a short period only. Can you weave in a schedule where they’re on the phones for a few weeks and then digging into skills training? Your customer experience and your employee retention numbers will thank you.  

If you’re using the free webinars and resources on the web, check out my next post to help you get more out of these and better engage your team during training.  And if you wish you had access to awesome sales and manager skill drills but your budget is frozen, we’ve got your back with assistance programs. Let us know you want to learn more and we’ll show you in a no-pressure meeting (info@factor 

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