Every member of your team should possess some degree of product know-how and customer service experience. However, your sales staffers require a niche skillset to seal the deal and follow up with qualified leads. In other words, they need sales skills training to fill in the gaps and always bring their A-game. In this guide, we explore the many reasons to launch a sales skill-building program for your organization and how it impacts your profit margin. We’ll also highlight the top soft skills to foster among your team in order to boost CX scores and retain top performers.
5 Reasons To Launch A Sales Skills Training Program For Your Team
One of the most obvious reasons to deploy sales skills training is to improve the health of your bottom line. However, there are a variety of other perks that many organizations overlook. Namely, perks that you can use to make a strong business case and get internal stakeholders on board. Here are a few notable benefits of launching a skill-building program for your sales teams.
Reduce Customer Churn
Building vital sales skills helps you retain loyal customers because they get a better return on their investment. Your employees know how to identify their needs and offer them the right products, which offers them more value for their money. They also know how to communicate the benefits of ownership, innovative applications, and proper upkeep. In contrast, employees who lack the necessary skills might focus solely on turning a profit versus nurturing a relationship with consumers and figuring out their respective pain points.
Increase Per-Ticket Sales
The ultimate goal is to secure more sales, but increasing per-ticket totals is a crucial part of that equation. You can seal a thousand deals and still barely break even if customers are making minimal purchases. A sales skills training program gives your team the leverage they need to boost those numbers. For instance, they can persuade customers to buy add-ons or upgrades. Of course, product know-how factors into your sales departments’ profitability, as well.
Hold On To Top Talent
Employees are more likely to stay with your company if they have ongoing skill development resources, namely continual support, reskilling and upskilling opportunities, and self-assessments. They’re able to identify gaps discreetly and bridge them with targeted training resources. Retaining your top talent allows you to reduce new hire training recruitment and training costs. You can also focus on internal growth versus trying to have to find replacements who possess the right skills and experience.
Improve Team Dynamics
Sales skills training doesn’t just pertain to customer service and boosting your bottom line directly. In fact, your program should also include team-building activities to strengthen the dynamic. As an example, staffers learn how to communicate effectively and resolve conflicts before they spill out onto the sales floor. Another thing to consider is competition. For instance, employees should work together to provide amazing CX instead of trying to “steal” commissions from coworkers.
Attract New Prospects
Ready to bring in new business and boost your brand image? Skill-building helps you attract new prospects because you edge out the competition and increase perceived value. In short, your employees know their stuff and can pass that information along to consumers, which gives them maximum return on their investments. Your staffers also understand how to pitch products tactfully and take the expectations, preferences, and buying behaviors of customers into consideration. Thus, new customers are more likely to choose you over other companies in your niche because you focus on CX rather than straightforward sales.
7 Sales Soft Skills That Every Team Should Cultivate TODAY
Now that you know the profit-boosting perks of sales skills training, it’s time to get down to brass tacks. Which skills should you foster in your sales team and why? You probably don’t have enough time (or resources) to cover the entire competency spectrum. However, focusing on these 7 crucial soft skills can help you improve team dynamics, customer satisfaction, and employee retention.
Virtually anyone can memorize the product specs and perks. However, effectively communicating them to customers is another story. Every member of your team should be adept communicators because it’s the cornerstone of sales success. They need to gather relevant information and distill it down so that consumers understand the product/service and how it addresses their pain points. For example, a customer may be reluctant to purchase the product because they don’t understand how the benefits tie into their personal challenges. A great salesperson can figure out which features and selling points to touch on and how.
While some employees might take the smile and nod approach, active listening is the ultimate skill-building goal. What are customers really looking for? What’s their budget? Do they have negative preconceptions about the industry and/or your brand that staffers need to overcome, first? Your team must not just act like they’re paying attention, but assimilate the information and then determine the best sales approach.
The ability to step into someone else’s shoes is a hot commodity in the corporate world. Staffers need to see things from the customer’s perspective and empathize with them on a personal level. For instance, read non-verbal cues and facial expressions, as well as respect a customer’s boundaries instead of trying to push them into a sale. Another perk of developing empathy skills is knowing how to navigate the emotional landscape of sales. Employees can gauge when to pause the pitch and take a different strategy based on the customer’s comfort level.
Of course, every sales employee needs to hone their negotiation skills to navigate customer apprehensions and increase profits. The catch is that company policy also factors into the equation. For example, they need to know how much they can reduce the price or what the rules are for bulk product sales. Thus, negotiation often goes hand-in-hand with financial literacy so that employees can monitor profit margins and company cash flow.
Sometimes it takes an anecdote or practical example to get the customer on board. This is when authentic storytelling comes into the skill-building picture. Employees must be able to personalize pitches so that they resonate with customers instead of just reciting a list of perks or features. Storytelling also builds stronger relationships with your customer base, as they connect with staffers on a more personal level.
Figuring out which product or service a customer needs and how to shine the best light on its benefits is, at its core, a problem-solving activity. Employees need to listen to customers, understand their buying habits, then determine the ideal course of action. This might involve asking targeted questions to pinpoint their challenges or expectations. The goal is to improve customer satisfaction, reduce return rates, and bring in repeat business.
Different customers call for different approaches. While one might be looking for an authoritative salesperson who knows the product inside-out, another may prefer a subtler staffer who chats with them and uses small doses of humor. Employees must be able to adapt based on the situation. This also helps create a healthier team dynamic, since staffers can step into different roles. For example, they might take the lead on a sale or act in a supporting role if it means higher per-ticket totals.
The fine art of persuasion and product knowledge are often the cornerstones of sales training programs, but you can’t forget the building blocks. Skills help your sales employees connect with customers and coworkers, as well as build their self-confidence. They’re better equipped to handle on-the-job challenges and overcome customer apprehensions. It all starts with a sound sales skills training strategy that’s backed by team leaders.
Download the eBook The Sales Manager’s Master Plan: Skill-Building Secrets To Boost Your Profit Margin to instill self-confidence, hit targets, and improve the health of your bottom line.