The gift of education is the gift that keeps on giving. Getting your higher education degree is a critical element of success for most professionals these days. But education shouldn’t stop with your college experience.
Ongoing training is also necessary to maintain your competitive edge. This is especially true for sales professionals who act as consultants to their customers. Keeping up with industry changes, new methodologies and customer concerns are an absolute necessity. More importantly, ongoing training results in more money! A training analysis showed that training geared for sales and marketing professionals resulted in 24% higher profit margins and an increase in sales of up to 6.5% (Learndash.com, 2013).
So there are two primary focus areas for training when it comes to sales professionals. First, learn the basics. There are fundamental processes that every salesperson should master to enjoy consistent success. The earlier you learn these fundamentals in your career, the better off you will be. But even the best salespeople will get away from the basics the longer they stay in business. It’s not at all uncommon to see sales professionals succeed in their first year of business only to watch them fall into a slump during their second or later years because they get away from the basics.
Taking refresher courses on the fundamentals will keep you sharp. Some of the basics include territory planning, cold calling techniques and negotiation/closing skills just to name a few. Do you know how to mine your install base customers? Only focusing on net new leads? The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20% (, 2013).
The second area of focus for sales training is keeping a pulse on the industry. Today’s business climate is constantly changing and if you don’t make an ongoing effort to stay on top of it, you will be left behind. Think about the speed at which business is changing and the impact on your customers. The types of challenges they face are evolving exponentially. Solutions to these challenges require creative thinking and the ability to leverage the latest technologies and processes. Your ability to thrive is dependent on mastering these latest trends AND being able to speak the language of your customer.
Are you aware that the amount of data stored is doubling every 18 months? This creates huge issues but also incredible opportunities for gathering meaningful business insights through data mining techniques. Are you leveraging Social Selling as a way to increase opportunities and your credibility with customers? 98% of sales reps with more than 5000 LinkedIn connections meet or surpass quota, according to Sales Benchmark Index. Learning techniques to broaden your online presence can reap significant rewards. Do you know how to sell to other lines of business within your customers than just the IT department? If you are still focusing on IT contacts, you are missing a huge opportunity and are probably seeing your sales decline. Everest Group surveyed 60 Fortune 500 companies and found that 75 percent of IT initiatives had been initiated by the business leaders; just 25 percent began in IT. Two years before, it would have been the opposite.
So how and where do you get the ongoing training you need to learn about these and other hot topics? There is an abundance of information on the internet, but it can take countless hours to find timely and relevant information. Plus, not all online information is credible. There is also a multitude of training courses available both online and in classroom. But the cost of these trainings can be prohibitive.
Why not make the most of the new Partner Plus Softskills Trainings? These new offerings for FY16 are available via webinars and as instructor led trainings in certain regions; they are exclusive to Partner Plus partners. Each month we will be exploring different hot topics (including the topics mentioned above) designed to elevate your sales skills and help you meet your sales quotas. All Partner Plus partners will be receiving invitations to these trainings throughout the year, but you can also find information on sessions in your region by visiting www.disticompass.com. Search for Partner Plus offerings and register for upcoming training sessions to ensure your spot.
So remember to invest in yourself through ongoing trainings. No matter where you find the enablement you need, make sure the content is current and relevant. And don’t forgot to revisit the basics from time to time. The investment will pay off the rest of your career.