Let’s dive deep into a phenomenon that’s rearing its head in the world of sales: call reluctance. Having chatted with senior sales leaders this month, it’s clear this isn’t just an isolated challenge; it’s a widespread issue. But why is it happening, and more importantly, how do we tackle it?
The Reason for Sales Call Reluctance
When you have reps dodging calls and taking refuge behind emails or DMs, you’re witnessing call reluctance in action. So, why are our once-confident reps hesitating? A few reasons…
The COVID Comfort Zone: The pandemic changed buying patterns. Many sellers shifted to a laid-back, order-taking mode. Now, as the world returns to some semblance of its pre-pandemic self, we need to dust off our sales hats and get back into the game.
A Crisis of Confidence: A few factors are at play here:
- The lack of immediate success can chip away at confidence and motivation.
- The absence of a clear purpose or compelling reason for calling.
- The pandemic brought easy sales, which meant we didn’t flex those traditional sales muscles. Now, they’re feeling a bit stiff.
Demoralized Frontline Leaders: These folks are the backbone of our teams. When they’re down, the whole ship can veer off course.
Rebuilding Rep Confidence to Overcome Sales Call Reluctance
So, how do we turn the tide? How do we help reps build confidence and get back on the phones?
Rediscover the ‘Why’: Tap into what truly drives our reps and managers. Align their goals and motivations with their roles and rewards. It’s all about the personal connection.
Celebrate Small Wins: Start small. Take, for instance, a client of mine: once struggling with a mere 100 dials a month across a team, they shifted focus to small victories. Now? They’re rocking 90 discovery calls a week!
Skill Refresher: It’s time to retrain and remind our reps about the art of tactical sales. Equip them with the tools they need to navigate this new landscape.
Invest in Your Leaders: Here’s the golden nugget: support your frontline sales managers. I can’t emphasize this enough. Whether it’s training, resources, or just a chat over coffee, check in with them. And hey, if you’re looking for training, I might know someone. 😉 But jokes aside, these leaders are pivotal. Ensure they have the right support, tools, and motivation to steer the ship.
Best Practices to Remember
Embrace Technology: Virtual sales tools aren’t just about tracking; they can offer insights, refine strategies, and enhance client relationships.
Regular Check-ins: In the world of virtual sales, regular team check-ins can bridge the gap, ensuring everyone’s aligned and motivated.
Client Engagement: Beyond the sale, focus on building and nurturing relationships. Virtual doesn’t mean impersonal.
The sales landscape is ever-evolving, and while challenges like call reluctance arise, with the right strategies and support, we can not only overcome them but thrive. It’s about reconnection, retraining, and relentless support.
Do your reps need help overcoming sales call reluctance?
Contact us today to learn about our customizable virtual sales rep training programs
to help rebuild rep phone confidence.
Sales is an ever-evolving landscape, with tools, techniques, and targets shifting regularly. Yet, while we often focus on training our frontline sales reps, there’s a critical group that’s frequently overlooked: sales managers.
In fact, 60% of new managers fail within the first 24 months in their role. Why? Lack of training and development. Oftentimes, companies will promote reps into management without providing critical leadership skills to prepare them for their new role.
Let’s dive into why training for sales managers is paramount and the benefits that come with it.
Why Do We Neglect Sales Manager Training?
Often, organizations operate under the assumption that a stellar sales rep will naturally transition into a stellar sales manager. However, the skills required for each role differ significantly. Managing a team, strategizing, forecasting and coaching demand a unique skill set that isn’t always innate.
The Case for On-the-Job Training for Sales Managers
- Different Roles, Different Skills: A top-performing sales rep doesn’t automatically make a top-performing sales manager. Management requires understanding team dynamics, effective communication, and the ability to inspire and lead. On-the-job training equips new managers with these essential skills.
- Rapid Adaptation to Change: The sales environment is dynamic. According to a report by CSO Insights, organizations with a dynamic sales process, which includes regular training, reported a win rate of 49% for forecasted deals, compared to those with a random or informal process.
- Consistency in Approach: With proper training, sales managers can ensure consistency in sales strategies, team communication, and performance reviews, leading to a more cohesive and effective sales team.
Benefits of Training Sales Managers
- Increased Engagement: According to Gallup, managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement. Well-trained managers are more likely to engage and motivate their teams.
- Improved Performance: With better training, managers can effectively guide their teams, leading to increased sales and higher win rates. 84% of sales reps achieve their quotas when their employer incorporates a best-in-class sales enablement strategy.
- Reduced Turnover: A report by the Sales Management Association found that improved manager training reduced salesperson turnover by up to 19%.
- Consistent Growth: A well-trained sales management team can be a game-changer for revenue growth. According to research by the Sales Executive Council, sales teams led by supportive managers are 67% more effective at closing deals than those with managers who exert high levels of pressure. This shows that the right training can significantly influence managerial styles and, by extension, team performance.
- Increased Profitability: The Harvard Business Review highlighted that companies that invest in training see a 24% higher profit margin than those that spend less on training. While this encompasses all forms of training, the impact of upskilling managers – those responsible for driving and guiding the sales strategy – cannot be underestimated.
- Stronger Leadership Pipeline: On-the-job training prepares sales managers for higher leadership roles, ensuring a robust succession plan. This is crucial for organizational stability; a study by the Gartner for HR (formerly the Corporate Leadership Council) found that organizations with proper leadership training realized a 32% increase in leadership strength, which is directly tied to financial performance.
- Cultural Cohesiveness: Trained managers foster a positive, consistent culture, enhancing team collaboration and overall company morale. According to a Gallup study, companies with highly engaged teams report 20% higher sales and 21% higher profitability.
On-the-job training for sales managers isn’t just a “nice-to-have”; it’s a necessity. By investing in our sales leaders, we’re not only boosting current performance but setting the stage for sustained success in the future. It’s high time we prioritize sales manager training for those at the helm, guiding our sales teams to victory.
Are you looking for training for sales managers?
Contact us today to learn about our customizable virtual sales training programs
available for reps and managers.
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably made an outbound sales call. You’ve probably made thousands. Stop and think for a second just how many things about this take guts – it takes sales confidence. Calling a stranger not expecting your call and essentially asking them for money. Betting a chunk of your family’s income on your abilities. Try to pretend you’ve never done it before. Can you remember your initial hesitance? The questions you had? The doubts and fears?
This is how our new hires and yet-to-be-hired people feel. We forget that sometimes. This is scary stuff.
It takes confidence in yourself, your ability to connect, to think on your feet, to pull the right phrase, the right answer, the right joke.
Not all of us are born with this kind of confidence – the deep knowing, the foundation, the deep belief in one’s own abilities. And many of those people are in sales.
How do we do it? With another word called bravery. Bravery isn’t the same as confidence.
I describe bravery to my kids as feeling scared and doing it anyway. “I know the hallway is dark honey. I know you feel scared. That’s why they call it being brave. It wouldn’t be bravery if you weren’t scared. You’ll be ok.” Bravery is suiting up! Putting on the superhero cape and facing the bad guys.
We know this as “fake it till you make it.”
I grew up in a very unstable home life. We moved so much that every 2 years was a new school for me.
22 pairs of eyes turn and stare at the new girl.
So I guess I know something about bravery.
I think that is why I’m drawn to sales. We push bravery in sales. Bravery is being a little terrified they’ll hang up or say no and doing it anyway. But confidence is being absolutely sure they shouldn’t. Really knowing and believing the value of my product and service, plus the value of me.
Which do you think sounds better on the phone? Confidence or bravery?
Confidence. Sure! Confidence is what sells. It’s what permits the deeper questions, the customer education, and the ability to challenge. It makes the extra dials, keeps customers on the phone, and overcomes objections. Confidence asks for referrals. And then does it again. And again. For years.
Confidence doesn’t burn out after a year and a half. (the average lifespan of an inside sales rep). But bravery sure does. There are only so many days we can put on that cape and that mask and pick up that phone. Suit up. Dial. Ask.
New girl. New school. New classroom. New teacher. 22 pairs of eyes…
Bravery is not a recipe for long-term success. And I assert that our sport of sales can benefit from going beyond bravery…to confidence.
But there’s a step between bravery and confidence and it’s called courage.
Courage isn’t “fake it till you make it”. Courage is the “making it”. And to make it, we have to go through the fear. Not over the fear, not around the fear, through the fear. We have to stand in it.
And it’s terrifying.
Courage is facing your fears. Naming them and then tackling them with an open mind and heart. It’s being vulnerable, being honest, and being open. It’s considering the rejection, the loss, or the humiliation and being OK with it and being you – a stronger you – on the other side. It’s letting others in to see.
It’s standing in the darkness. Until you are not scared anymore.
Like many, I have buckets of bravery, but not nearly enough confidence. And two things dawned on me recently:
- Admitting this out loud and actively learning about confidence and how we get it, how we lose it, how we can grow it is my path. It’s what I do – I find things that are hard to do, where we have a gap in public knowledge or ability, and I figure out a way to teach it. It’s my path to learn this, to share this, to teach this.
- I started 10+ years ago and didn’t know it. The reason Factor 8 is the most referred sales training company in the world isn’t just because of our curriculum. It’s our model. When we get on the phones and do what we teach, we’re not just applying skills, we’re growing confidence.
We’re asking a room full of strangers to pick up the phone and try something they learned 20 minutes ago. And we do it, together. And our facilitators stand with them in the dark. We listen, we encourage, we coach. We show everyone in the room that it’s OK to fail, it’s fun to mess up, and they don’t have to be perfect. In fact, we REWARD imperfection and risk-taking and we shine a little light into the dark room of courage. And you’ll never guess what comes out on the other side…
We’re in the business of teaching sales confidence. Our loyal clients and students probably already knew this. It feels like such a big revelation that it’s almost silly it took me ten years to figure it out. But now that I’m here? I’m immensely proud. I’ve always been proud of our model, our results, and the feedback we get that we change lives. But now I see how aligned Factor 8 is with my own path, my personal passions – and fears, and I’ve fallen in love with this little company all over again.
My challenge to you: Ask yourself if you’re pushing bravery at work or instilling confidence. Remember that bravery burns out and confidence is what sells. If you can help your teams grow the confidence, you’ll grow your results, you’ll keep your team longer, and you’ll all grow as humans. And isn’t that what it’s really all about?
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In the world of sales, the quest for effective training solutions is never-ending. For years, event-based sales training has been the norm, but is it actually effective?
I’m here to tell you 7 reasons why event-based training won’t cut it, especially for leaders managing large teams.
Lack of Sustained Learning
Concern: Event-based training is like cramming the night before a test. You get a bunch of info all at once, but will you remember it next week? Probably not.
Reality Check: Enablement leaders get that learning isn’t just a one-time thing; it’s an ongoing process. Sales teams require continuous skill development and reinforcement. Event-based training, with its one-off sessions, can’t provide the consistent support needed for long-term success.
Limited Application to Real-World Scenarios
Concern: Event-based sales training can feel like it’s all talk and no action. It’s theory-based and detached from real-world sales situations.
Reality Check: Enablement leaders know that the sales landscape is dynamic and challenging. To thrive, teams need training that is directly applicable to their daily tasks.
Poor Skill Retention Rates
Concern: Sales reps can struggle to retain the vast amount of information taught in a single training event. (That’s why micro-learning over time is critical to ensuring skills stick!)
Reality Check: Enablement leaders recognize that skill retention is the key to performance improvement. Event-based training can overwhelm participants, leading to lower skill retention. This leads to less effective training that fails to drive tangible results.
No Skill Reinforcement
Concern: Event-based training typically lacks ongoing skill reinforcement.
Reality Check: Just like learning a new language, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Skills deteriorate over time if they’re not regularly practiced and reinforced. Enablement leaders need training that includes coaching, mentoring, and opportunities for reps to apply what they’ve learned to their daily work life – something that’s missing in event-based learning.
High Cost, Limited ROI
Concern: Event-based training can be expensive, and the ROI may not always justify the investment.
Reality Check: Enablement leaders are under pressure to deliver results and prove the value of their initiatives. Event-based training’s high costs and questionable long-term effectiveness can make it a tough sell when trying to show ROI.
Challenging for High Attrition
Concern: High turnover is a common challenge for large sales teams, making it difficult to keep everyone up-to-date through periodic training events.
Reality Check: Enablement leaders understand that training should be agile and accessible. Event-based training struggles to accommodate the rapid onboarding of new hires or the need for ongoing training when turnover rates are high.
Inadaptability to Change
Concern: The sales landscape evolves rapidly, and event-based training can’t keep pace with these changes.
Reality Check: For those at the helm, it’s crucial that our teams are prepped and ready to tackle the ever-shifting industry trends and customer needs. Relying solely on event-based training might not give us the flexibility and swift adaptation we genuinely need.
A More Effective Approach: Continuous, Virtual Training
Event-based sales training has its merits. However, for those leading large teams with a notable churn rate, it might not be the optimal choice. The better route? Ongoing, virtual sales training. It promises consistent, deep learning, techniques that align with real-world challenges, enhanced skill retention, ongoing skill reinforcement, cost efficiency, and the flexibility to adapt to the ever-evolving landscape.
Ongoing learning fosters a culture of proactive growth which improves employee retention. This continuous approach ensures that every team member, whether a seasoned sales pro or a new rep, is armed with the most current strategies, insights, and best practices. In a landscape as competitive as sales, staying updated isn’t just recommended—it’s imperative.
Are you looking for virtual sales training?
Contact us today to request information on our customizable virtual sales training programs
available for reps (and managers).
Whether you’re shopping around for external inside sales training vendors or working with your internal training department, knowing what good inside sales rep training looks like is the first step to ensuring your training is checking all the key boxes.
We’ve outlined a few of the most important considerations to keep in mind when choosing an inside sales training partner.
Decide What Good Inside Sales Training Looks Like
This shouldn’t be a surprise to any sales leaders out there — but what makes good inside sales training is results. You’ll be able to know whether or not sales training worked simply because it moved the needle.
These “results” look different depending on your company, team, and goals. It’s important to go into the sales training and decide on what those goals are to you — whether it’s sales units sold or market share gained.
This is even more important when partnering with an external sales training vendor. The vendor should understand your goals as well as your sales process, product, customers, industry, and competitors. There is so much specialization in the market today, don’t let a vendor bring SDR training to your team of AEs.
In order for sales training to be considered “good”, it must achieve your goals. Outlining what these goals are, and what success looks like, beforehand is a surefire way to get what your team needs out of their training.
We recommend identifying metrics, behaviors, KPIs, and overall results that you expect to shift during and after the training. Metrics and behaviors should lift immediately showing you’re on the right track, and KPIs are early indicators that the results are on the way. Identifying metrics or results only can lead to a miss.
5 Characteristics of Good Inside Sales Training
After the goals are set, here are a few more tips to ensure you’re maximizing your training investment:
1. The Sales Training is Customized
Really great sales training is customized to your industry and product/service.
This ensures your reps aren’t left trying to figure out how to take a broad theory and apply it to their job, customer, or service.
While it’s true that customized sales training is more expensive, the ROI is up to twenty-fold when you consider how much your reps are actually retaining, and how much they can apply immediately to their practices.
Use public seminars and events to help someone get a tip or two. Use custom live training to move the needle on results.
2. Get a Professional Sales Trainer
Aberdeen reported that 85% of the sales teams that are considered “best-in-class” utilize professional sales trainers or resources.
Don’t try and turn your managers or reps into trainers. Let’s face it, they’ve got enough on their plates. Plus, even really good managers and reps have no idea how to train — it’s just not their job! They might be excellent at sales, but they have no expertise in training.
Even worse, don’t let your HR department teach sales. They’re great at training and professional facilitation in many areas of your business, but their bailiwick is in company orientation and sexual harassment training — not sales and selling. They may be excellent at training but have no expertise in sales.
See where we’re going with this?
Make sure to bring in someone who is an expert at both training and sales. That’s the secret to good inside sales training, and it’s what the best in class are doing.
3. Make Sure the Training Has the Right Focus
If you’re training your inside sales reps, make sure they’re attending an inside sales training. It sounds simple, but oftentimes well-meaning sales team leaders are duped into thinking “sales training” is enough. Shoe-horning your company’s existing field training for your inside team may actually do more damage than good.
Most popular sales books and training curricula deal with a very narrow view of selling: The conversation between Person A and Person B. Anyone who has been working in inside sales for a while can agree that the true issue lies in getting that interaction in the first place.
If your reps are struggling with connecting with decision-makers, getting callbacks, finding the right people, figuring out who to call, and capturing attention at the top of the funnel, then conversation selling and overcoming objections will miss the mark.
Make sure that your inside sales reps are being coached on topics like:
- Leaving compelling voicemails that will be returned
- Capturing a prospect’s attention in the first 30 seconds
- Leading with value
- Creating engaging conversations vs. script reading
- How to get a callback or bridge to the next call
- Finding more decision-makers in the company
- Dealing with gatekeepers
It’s important to make sure other aspects of the strategy are covered as well, so the reps can rely on their managers less for questions such as:
- Who should I call first?
- How often should I call?
- Should I leave a voicemail message?
- How often?
- Now, what do I do?
4. Sales Training NEEDS to Be Hands-On
During the training, make sure reps are getting on the phones. There’s no reason that training shouldn’t be stopped so that the reps can go try out the skills they’re learning, and role-plays don’t really tell the whole story, do they?
Live calls to live customers using the training guarantees that these training methods are going to be applied. Live calling in a safe space leads to more rep buy-in and builds confidence. When reps see the tactics work in real-time they adopt, apply, and try more often. Training fall-off (the forgetting curve) has the odds stacked against it now!
Make the training stick by actually making calls and building pipeline during training.
5. Make Sure Your Managers Get Involved in Sales Training
Put managers in the reps’ training, and when possible make sure they have their own version of the training class tailored for their needs. Managers need to learn how to recognize the new skills in action, when to coach, how to coach the new skill, when to celebrate it working, and how to keep the momentum alive when the trainers leave. Behavior change lives and dies with the management team, and their buy-in, involvement, and use of the new skills are critical to success.
Ask your vendor how the managers will be involved in retaining the new skills.
Good Training is Ongoing Training
You got it, training is a process, not an event. Reps reported a “Lack of Development” as a top 5 challenge every year for the past five years as reported by the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals. Aberdeen also reported missing development opportunities as the number one rep-reported reason for leaving companies.
Deciding to invest in rep development is a smart choice, but be sure you don’t assume that it is “one and done.” Your teams want ongoing opportunities to learn, grow, and advance their careers.
Training Magazine reported an average number of development hours/year/employee at about 48 hours – or four hours/month. Is your internal training team ready to provide this? Most corporate training teams get quickly maxed by providing new hire orientation and onboarding. Manager coaching can fill some of the gaps, but if you’re talking with learning vendors, check their ongoing offerings as well.
Ongoing training will often nurture and advance skills taught onsite – helping check the box of retaining new skills and providing the ongoing development reps crave.
The easiest way to accomplish this is with vendor-provided online skills training or inside sales training courses after their session to brush up on their skills, hone in on their weak spots, and keep skills in practice.
When evaluating sales training software, look for interactive resources such as:
- Recorded call libraries
- Sample scripts/messaging starters
- Interactive micro e-learning modules
- Printable cheat sheets
- Manager coaching
- Team activities
- Sales certifications
Reps want skills on-demand. Learning should be easy, fun, interactive, and flexible. The old days of long-form narrated slides and sales training videos are over. Anyone who has clicked their way through to the final test (or let it run in the background while doing email) can attest to the fact this isn’t engaging or effective.
Again, look for sales training software to engage your management team as well as the learners. New skills and a culture of development live and die on your front lines. Does the software provide manager resources?
How about fast-reference cheat sheets, coaching guides, or contest ideas? Is it nimble enough to allow quick reference before a big call or team meeting?
Get your sales managers involved in testing your top choices.
Are you looking for the best inside sales training programs?
Contact us today to learn about our customizable virtual sales training programs
available for reps and managers.
Sales Training Budget: Getting Started
Employee development is more critical than ever as our incoming sales reps have less experience and fewer skills, yet our customer expectations and the technology we’re required to master are on the rise.
The best practice is to budget for sales training each year alongside your normal recruiting and tech line items. Now more than ever, “Training is something you do, not something you did.”
Don’t be one of the sales leaders who wait for a budget surplus, a BHAG goal, or a massive GTM shift to train. Today’s generations prioritize career development ABOVE their paychecks.
So hats off, leader! You’re ahead of the game by searching for annual sales training budget amounts in this blog.
Why Budget for Sales Training?
Because many of us slashed or froze headcount and training budgets in 2023, we recommend that planning for 2024 should be based on 2022 budgets. Before the economic uncertainty, we saw organizations spending more on employee development. This was driven by increasing customer expectations, shrinking pools of available talent, and a resounding demand by the employee base.
In 2022, the average company budgeted approximately $1200/per employee for professional development annually – up about 14% over the previous year. Keep in mind, that this average number is for all employees – from forklift driver to CEO. Not a surprise, but services and manufacturing industries reported the largest budget increases, whereas government, education, and nonprofits largely stayed the same or decreased.
Growing customer demands = growing training demands.
We expect to see these numbers come down in the 2023 Training Industry Report with the widespread layoffs, but we anticipate a resounding rebound in 2024 for two reasons:
- Sales leaders saw the evidence of their untrained workforces in 2023. Our time to ramp to quota is still longer than pre-pandemic (or non-remote) days, and the majority of sellers missed quota – even after trimming the fat. The statistics vary by resource, but in 2023 approximately 50% of sellers hit quota vs. the normal average of approximately 70%.
- The pendulum is shifting back to quality conversations over a cadenced quantity of messages. Many believe we’ve come as far as we can with the written cadence, and all evidence now points to the need to refresh and improve the human interaction between prospect and seller. This is underlined by the overwhelming feedback that sellers today lack phone confidence and business conversation skills – two attributes we can’t solve with technology alone.
How Much Does Sales Training Cost?
Average spend on annual training per FTE is 1-3% of the total annual budget or 2-5% of the salary budget. That’s about $50.00 per $1000 of salary. If your team is new, only remote, shifting, or hasn’t had hands-on sales development for six months, aim slightly above average:
Six percent of salary = $60.00 per $1000 of salary
$100K employee = $6000/year | $60K employee = $3600/year
Remember, the benchmark is an average across all industries and employee types – landscapers, fast food workers, and CPAs. If customer experience and loyalty are critical to you, go higher. And, if your industry is complex or your product is early in the lifecycle, go higher. If you’re competing like mad for talent, go higher.
One source says sales jobs average 20% higher than the industry average, meaning 6-7% of their salary.
At Factor 8, our per-employee costs (for under 1000 employee companies) to outsource one year of sales development (onboarding to upskilling) comes in at the middle of this budget range – depending on services and other factors – again validating the research.
How Often Should You Train Your Sales Team?
In 2022, the average organization provided about 5 hours of training per month or a total of 64 hours a year. If you haven’t trained since new hire onboarding, you’re lagging well behind average. This number is up since 2021 when we averaged 4 hours a month.
We theorize that this increase is driven by two sources: Remote workers and ineffective remote training.
With most of our teams still working remotely or hybrid, we are hit from two sides when it comes to learning:
- We’re missing the “OTJ” passive shadowing opportunities of overhearing our peers.
- The ineffectiveness of remote training as compared to in-person. “Zoom fatigue” is real and an unengaged learner does not make big behavior changes (kind of like an unengaged buyer).
Factor 8, provides sales training for virtual sellers and sales managers and we do so both in-person and virtually. I can tell you firsthand that it is taking us more remote sessions to get our normal increases in connection and conversion rate results we normally see in just a few hours when onsite.
By the way, like the last ten years, most companies are increasing budgets for manager training the most (although this group still typically falls underneath “onboarding” as the training department’s top priority).
If your enablement department isn’t prioritizing the development of your sales management team, consider allocating your budget to outsourcing this critical training.
How Many Sales Trainers Do You Need?
Most companies under 1000 learners employ 1 trainer for every 80-100 learners. The exception to this rule is for start-ups where we recommend budgeting for the headcount at around 50 learners if you’re on the way up.
When beginning an enablement effort, your team literally has everything to build. Digital selling skills can be outsourced, as can some systems training, but the product, services, process, and customer acumen training has to come from within. Remember, for every hour in the classroom, there’s someone spending between 3-10 hours creating that learning interaction (and please don’t get me started on the difference between training and telling! 😉)
If you’re in build mode, I recommend a management to director-level staffer and 1 year of time before your onboarding program begins to produce reps hitting quota in industry average timelines (around 6 months, depending on role).
Why Invest in Sales Training?
Employee development and career advancement are 2 of the top 3 things millennials search for when accepting jobs. And only 50% of reps think their company provides them with the training they actually need to be successful.
More great news, the American Society for Training and Development cites companies who invest in training their people achieve a 24% higher profit margin compared to those who don’t invest.
It’s much more expensive to recruit and replace (on average 200% – 600% of salary vs. 6% – 7%).
Justification and Benefits of Sales Training
Here’s some great research to help you justify the spend:
Both HR Magazine and ATD sites double the profit per employee that prioritizes training (priority = double the spend of not a priority). In fact, companies who invest a minimum of just $1500/employee will see 24% higher profits.
CSO Insights proved a 63% average improvement across teams where the manager was getting development (that’s average you guys…what would happen with an 85% increase on entire TEAMS?)
And great onboarding can cut a new hire’s time to quota in HALF. That could be 1-2 extra months of productivity on an already-shrinking rep lifespan. Worth it!
Again, I can validate these findings. Over twelve years of partnering with BDR, AE, AM, and management teams across thousands of companies, we’ve seen lifts from 30-300%, with a huge percent of teams paying for the training before it’s even over with increased leads, pipeline, close rate, etc.
If you need an ROI model to get the spend, I recommend showing a 15% lift over about 90 days post-training if you’re still doing event-based training.
You can expect bigger spikes with face-to-face training, but longer-sustained skills with a long-term blended approach. Overall, if you can’t show at least a 5-10% lift, it probably isn’t worth the investment.
Not sure it will work? Do it anyway and measure the results. Remember this?
A recent Ambition study surveyed sales reps about training and 98% of them said they would stay with a company indefinitely if they got ongoing development.
IBM recently shared that employees who feel they cannot develop in the company and fulfill career goals are 12X more likely to leave.
Truth is, sales reps know less than they did 10 years ago and our customers expect more. If you haven’t added a development line item by now, you’re in trouble. If you haven’t increased it in the past five years, it’s time.
And, if it’s been more than a year since you provided training, increase your number.
Need help building your sales training & development plan?
Click here to watch our session on “How To Build Your Training & Development Plan” to learn what industry spend is for sales training, the critical skills you need for every sales role, how to partner with your sales training organization, and more!
Is sales training included in your budget?
Contact us today to learn about our customizable virtual sales training programs
available for reps (and managers).
In the digital age, email remains a highly effective way to reach potential customers. However, crafting a compelling sales email can be challenging. That’s where ChatGPT comes in. As an OpenAI language model, ChatGPT can help you write effective sales emails that grab your audience’s attention and convert them into customers by using artificial intelligence. In this blog, we’ll show you how to use ChatGPT to write sales emails that get results.
I’m gonna be honest with you: I didn’t write that blog intro. Instead, I asked ChatGPT—a language model trained by OpenAI—to write it. (It’s a little formal, but not bad, eh?)
It’s hard to have a sales or marketing conversation without hearing about artificial intelligence, especially ChatGPT. It’s either the best thing since sliced bread or an evil supercomputer that’ll bring about the end of the world. Most people, I think, fall somewhere in the middle.
As a sales leader, should you be scared of ChatGPT? Or should you embrace this new technology and use it to make your sales teams better?
Although there are lots of potential use cases, in this blog I’ll focus on one: using ChatGPT to write sales emails.
A tale of two prompts: why you need to be specific when using ChatGPT to write sales emails
ChatGPT can churn out sales scripts and email templates faster than a human writer can. The question is: is it any good? And for sales reps specifically: will it get you more meetings and help you close more deals?
The answer: it totally depends!
In order for ChatGPT to work well, it all comes down to the quality of the prompt. If you have a detailed prompt that provides the AI with the right information, you’re good to go.
Compare the following examples:
Prompt: Write a sales email template for Factor 8.
Subject: [First Name], Boost Your Sales with Factor 8’s Sales Training Programs
Dear [First Name],
I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to introduce you to Factor 8, a leading sales training company that can help you increase your sales revenue and enhance your team’s performance.
At Factor 8, we understand that sales is a competitive and constantly evolving industry, and we’ve designed our programs to help your team stay ahead of the curve. Our training courses are tailored to meet your unique business needs and goals, and our experienced instructors will work with your team to develop the skills and techniques necessary to close more deals and exceed quotas.
Here are just a few of the benefits you can expect from our sales training programs:
Increased sales revenue: Our training programs are designed to help your team close more deals and exceed quotas, leading to higher sales revenue and improved profitability.
Improved team performance: By providing your team with the skills and techniques necessary to succeed in the competitive sales industry, our programs will help your team perform at their best.
Customized training solutions: We understand that each business has unique needs and goals, which is why we offer customized training solutions tailored to your specific needs.
Experienced instructors: Our instructors have years of experience in the sales industry, and they are committed to helping your team succeed.
To learn more about how Factor 8 can help you improve your sales performance, please visit our website or reply to this email to schedule a call with one of our sales representatives.
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Okay, so it’s not terrible, but let’s be honest – there are a ton of problems with that email:
- It’s wayyyyyy too long (yawn)
- A lot of the copy seems canned
- There’s no personalization within the email
Now, let’s see what happens when we’re more detailed in the prompt.
Prompt: Write a first-touch sales email template initiating contact between a Business Development Rep at Factor 8 and a mid-level Sales Manager at Meta. Structure according to the AIDA framework: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. Make sure there’s at least one question in the body of the email. Be sure to reference our key value proposition: Factor 8 rep & manager training drives topline growth. The call-to-action for the email is to set up a 15-minute introductory call. Limit output to 125 words or less.
Subject: Increase Your Sales Revenue with Factor 8’s Manager Training
Hi [First Name],
As a Sales Manager at Meta, you know how important it is to have a well-trained team. That’s why I wanted to introduce you to Factor 8’s training programs. Our training is tailored to meet your unique business needs and goals. Our experienced advisors will equip you with the skills necessary to improve your team’s performance and drive topline growth.
Are you available for a quick 15-minute call this week? Let’s discuss how we can help you achieve your sales targets.
Business Development Rep, Factor 8
P.S. You can learn more about our training program on our website.
I wouldn’t call that a perfect sales email – but it’s definitely headed in the right direction. Most sales reps could probably use that copy as a starting point, then edit and personalize to be more engaging for their target prospect.
Tip: Want to sound less formal? Just add that you want a more casual tone to the prompt.
What We Can Learn from ChatGPT
Here are my takeaways:
- Understand the intent behind your copy. ChatGPT isn’t a mind reader. It doesn’t know why you want to generate copy or your intended result. So just like in the example above, you need to be specific. (Which means you need to have it figured out before you sit down with the AI. It’s a robot, but don’t waste both of your time!)
- Gather necessary information in advance. Before you begin the AI writing process, gather all the information you need to create your copy. ChatGPT can pull in some information, but others you’re going to need to specify or add in later.
- Be as detailed as possible in the prompt. The more information you provide ChatGPT, the better and more relevant it will be. Always add the tone of your messaging into the prompt.
- Fine-tune your copy. You’ll probably noticed that even with a detailed prompt, ChatGPT wasn’t able to create an engaging sales email. There’s still a gap between AI capabilities and copy that’s engaging to a human reader. Your reps (and maybe even internal your copywriters) will need to bridge that gap. Use ChatGPT as a starting point, and then refine!
- Test and optimize. Like any good sales asset, once your copy is finalized, it’s important to test it to see how it performs. Create different versions and take them for a spin! You only know if you try.
In the end, is ChatGPT worth it for your sales team? The answer is: it still depends. If it helps jumpstart your creative process to help you generate email templates faster, then it could be great!
But if your reps want to use it as a shortcut instead of doing the hard work to understand the client, gather information, and compile the best ways to engage them – then keeping it all human might be the better way to go.
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This one is for the enablement folks. Truth: I’m an enablement leader in my heart and soul.
I was just talking to an enablement leader friend who was really frustrated that they spent so many months building a robust training program – rolled it out beautifully – and had to hand their baby over to the sales manager to keep those skills alive. Which did not work…
I’m here to tell you why it’s not their fault.
I’ve been both an enablement leader and sales manager and can tell you that sales management is the busiest job in the world. We spend the bulk of our day fighting fires and there’s never been a learning emergency.
So if you’re an enablement or training leader and you’d like some tips to get sales managers to coach more often and keep rep skills alive, keep reading.
I’ve got 20 tips to help you increase the sales coaching focus at work. Below are my top 3 (get the rest at the bottom of this article).
#1 – Don’t expect them to do more work. As I said previously, sales management is the busiest job in the world. If you want them to coach, you’ve got to fit coaching into their jam-packed schedule. What meetings do sales managers have often? Rep performance 1:1s, pipeline meetings, team meetings, and sales huddles. You’ve got to find ways for your managers to keep rep skills alive during their existing meetings.
At Factor 8, we’ve built manager toolkits that have activities a sales manager can run during a sales huddle to keep skills alive after training.
#2 – Make it easy. If they need to build a deck, it’s not going to happen. If they need to create a process, it’s not going to happen. If they need to go on a scavenger hunt to find different information for the coaching session, it’s not going to happen. You’ve got to make it fast and easy for managers.
At Factor 8, we’ve created coaching guides for various rep skills that managers can easily use for skill reinforcement. They combine a cheat sheet of what “good” looks like, which questions to ask during coaching, and a ready-to-use worksheet that coaches both the will and the skill with an easy grading form.
#3 – Most managers don’t know what “coaching” means. Sure, they understand the definition, but they don’t know what it means to actually coach a rep and they definitely don’t know what “good” coaching looks like. That means you get a lot of things like this…
“Hey rep, let’s work on this deal.” You’ve been coached. ✔
“Hey team, what’s the forecast?” You’ve been coached. ✔
“Let me get on this call and help you close it.” You’ve been coached. ✔
Folks, this isn’t coaching. As enablement leaders, we know that.
So, in training hundreds of sales managers over the last few years, I’ve learned that it’s a tough skill, it’s not natural for sales managers, and they’re too nervous to do it (though they’ll never admit that last one out loud).
Just put yourself in their shoes. Imagine going to a top player and saying “Let me listen to your call and give you feedback on how to do it better.” Sounds terribly nerve-wracking, right?
That’s why we’ve got to address it and build confidence in their sales coaching, call coaching, and rep skill coaching skills.
If you haven’t taught your managers how to coach to build up their own confidence, it’s probably no surprise that you think they can be doing more coaching.
If you’d like to talk about more specific strategies or a particular issue you’re dealing with in making that connection with sales leadership so they really get behind enablement, I’m here to talk. Email me at LB@factor8.com.
Want more tips to increase the coaching focus at work?
Download our guide on “20 Ways To Increase Sales Coaching Focus At Work.”
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