If the Rocky movies taught me anything, it’s that training never ends. The result of your last big fight doesn’t matter anymore, you need to keep training if you want to keep sharp.
There’s always something to learn.
There are challenges to training a remote sales team, but it’s nothing that can’t be overcome thanks to digital technology and the internet.
In fact, I’m going to cover 15 great sales training ideas you can use right now. All of these can be run either over a Zoom presentation, in a conference call, or asynchronously whenever your reps want.
There’s a wealth of knowledge within your organization already! The best of your salespeople are obviously doing something right, so why not leverage their learnings in sales training ideas? They can deliver years worth of experience in a quick 15-minute presentation that they can present at the end of a daily or weekly stand-up. Or you block a specific time periodically for these presentations to take place.
A little bit of self-evaluation goes a long way. Have your reps listen to recordings of their own calls and score themselves. They ought to be able to catch some of their own mistakes. Over time, they should get better at catching mistakes and improving on them.
What about your own sales skills? You don’t become a sales lead for nothing, right? Running a remote sales team means you can’t listen in on calls regularly, or peek in over a cubicle wall to drop a few timely pearls of wisdom. To compensate, open up “enablement office hours”, a specified time when reps can come to for training on issues they are having trouble with.
Let’s face it, Zoom is a large part of why many companies were able to continue doing business when much of the world had to unexpectedly go remote in 2020. Everyone is used to video calling by now. So what does it matter if you can’t get your team into a classroom together? An easy sales training idea you can deploy now is to get a trainer from anywhere in the world to deliver a session on video call together.
Another sales training idea is to secure access to a trainer’s library and give it to your reps bit by bit over a long period of time. You can pay for access, or you can check out the dozens of sales training video channels online that are positively brimming with excellent material by some of the world’s most successful salespeople. We wrote a piece listing out some of the best channels you can follow, check it out here. <Link to 15 sales video channel post here>
This is particularly useful if you’re rolling out a new tool or something. It’s a fun way to get your people into the tool and looking around. All you have to do is lay out a path for them to find specific things within your system. That’s so much better than a step-by-step “how-to” guide.
Particularly to content that is specific for your industry. This is where the cutting-edge information is coming from, and it’s stuff that will help your team be better salespeople in the long run. Whereas technical training will help them tactically, sales training ideas that focus on industry trends will help them come across as knowledgeable and trustworthy.
A certification program is a great way to engage your remote reps, not least of all because a certification from a respected source looks good on a resume. A certification is also an easy opportunity for you not only to validate that your team can do their job, but also identify potential coaching opportunities for reps who are struggling.
Further to tapping into the knowledge of your SMEs and best sales folks, occasionally host panels where your salespeople are invited to be totally candid about deals they won and lost. Here they can dig into the details of what worked and what went wrong, thus benefiting your entire sales team. It might be difficult to get your salespeople to open up publicly about their failed deals, so take the lead and start with one of your own. Send the message that failure is OK, but not learning from it isn’t!
Pair up your new salespeople with seasoned reps for a mock call, and without preparing the new hire have the experienced rep play the “client from hell”. Ask them to enact all the things they have faced over the years that made progressing a call difficult for them—interrupt their flow with questions, be rude, test their patience! You all have faced this kind of call in the past, you know what I’m talking about. This will test the new hire’s patience and ability to think of their feet.
Have everyone listen in on a cold call. Everyone will have a bingo card with common sales tactics and milestones, such as “price negotiation” and “pain point identified”. This sales training idea will get your team to actively listen and train them to identify sales techniques from a live example. Theory is one thing, but being able to understand what’s going on in real-time is something else.
There are tons of excellent books written by sales gurus, but no one has time to read all of them. However, everyone ought to be able to make time for one. Assign different titles to all of your reps and ask them to come back with a presentation that distills the most important learnings from the book into 5 slides. Your reps can take turns presenting once a week. This ensures that everyone gets the complete download of one book, and everyone benefits from the best points.
Things are just a lot more fun when a few gaming elements are added. Points, leaderboards, and badges that are awarded throughout training for showing exceptional aptitude and completing milestones breeds a sense of healthy competition.
How familiar are your reps with your team’s identified buyer personas? Play a clip of a recorded sales call and see if your reps can identify which persona is being targeted based on what the salesperson says and how they position your offerings.
This is an interesting way to test if your reps know the products/services they are selling inside out. Plan out a list of questions, or better yet, ask your reps to plan out a list of questions. On a call with everyone, start by asking one person questions in quick succession. If they pause or fumble, move on to the next. The person who gets the most in a row is “the winner”. The point that this exercise is trying to drive home is that your reps should be able to answer these questions even in their sleep, it helps them be more quick-footed during sales calls, and more capable of spotting potential upsell/cross-sell opportunities. Product is usually the content you want to train on here, but you can easily take this sales training idea and apply it to other subject matter domains.
Finally, don’t forget the OG sales improvement – formal sales training and coaching. They’re going to be the workhorses of improving your reps over time, but hopefully these sales training ideas have sparked some inspiration in the meantime!
Spencer is the product marketing manager at LevelJump. He comes from the world of content and loves helping B2B SaaS companies find exactly the right people who love a product, and figuring out exactly how to tell that product story so it resonates and compels action. You can find him on LinkedIn.