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THE MANAGEMENT OF SALES TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT

WHAT IS SALES TRAINING?


Sales training is the effort an employer puts forth to provide sales people job-related culture, skills, knowledge, and attitudes that should result in improved performance in the selling environments.

PURPOSES OF SALES TRAINING


Increasing customer satisfaction.
Helping salespeople become managers. Orienting new salespeople to the job.

Improving knowledge in areas such as product, company, competitors, or selling skills.


Lowering absenteeism and turnover.

Positively influencing attitudes in such areas as job satisfaction.

PURPOSES OF SALES TRAINING


Lowering selling costs.
Informing salespeople. Obtaining feedback from salespeople.

continued

Increasing sales in a particular product or customer category.

MANAGING THE SALES TRAINING PROCESS


The sales training process consists of three phases. 1. ASSESS SALES TRAINING NEEDS The purpose is to understand the specific goals of training for individual salespeople, such as improving product knowledge, selling techniques, or relationship building. Sales managers should assess the training needs for both: newly hired sales trainees and existing salespeople.

For example: new salespeople may need training in sales techniques, whereas experienced or existing salespeople could need training in negotiating skills.
Assess sales training needs Design & execute sales training programme Evaluation and reinforcement of sales training programme

Methods used for assessing training needs

Sales managers observation Sales force survey Customer survey Performance testing Job description Sales force audit

2. DESIGN AND EXECUTE SALES TRAINING PROGRAMME (STP)


Popularly known as A-C-M-E-E Approach to sales training Aims (WHY?) Content (WHAT ?) Methods (HOW ?) Execution
(WHO,WHEN,WHER E, ?)

Evaluation

(A)Designing the STP


1. Aims of STP -- increase sales productivity

--increase sales profits,


--lower sales force turnover rate --improve customer relations

--introduce new products, markets, & promotional program


--improve teamwork and co-operative efforts.

2. Content of STP
Usually the content of the training programme for new salespeople for initial training include: 1. Company knowledge 2. Product knowledge 3. Customer knowledge

4. Competitor knowledge
5. Selling skills or sales techniques 6. Negotiating skill

7. Sales presentation skills


8. Team-selling skills 9. Time and territory management skills etc.

3. Sales training methods

1. Lectures
2. Demonstrations 3. Group Discussion 4. Role Playing 5. Case Studies

6. Simulation games
7. On-the-job training 8. Absorption training/self study

Lectures
This method is used to provide more information in a short time to a large number of participants. Company information, customer and competitive information and a basic outline of a subject can be presented by the lecture method.

Demonstration
Demonstration is appropriate for conveying information on topics such as new products and selling techniques. Demonstrating how a new product works and its uses is effective, much more so than lecturing on the same material.

Group Discussion
It is one in which the trainer leads the discussion and encourages participation from the sales persons.

Role Playing
Role play is innovative method of sales training used by many organizations for training their sales forces. Role play tries to extend the sales trainees experience by presenting them with a commonly encountered situation and asks them to place themselves in the role of the parties involved and then act out the way in which the circumstances might reach an appropriate conclusion through the play. The role playing is videotaped or performed live for a group of trainee observers, who then do critical assessment of the role play. This method is most frequently associated with interpersonal skills such as interviewing, negotiating, and creative selling, and can be extended to cover any sales situation. Role playing is learning by doing.

Case Studies
A case study method is used to present the sales trainees with a real-life business situation and provide a considerable amount of background information from which they are either expected to analyze and compute the outcome of a series of events or provide a solution to specific problems. Trainees discussing a case should identify the issue (s), Marshall the relevant facts, devise specific alternatives, and choose the one most appropriate. Most trainers believe that securing a thorough grasp of the problem situation is more essential to learning than the rapid production of solutions. To derive maximum benefit from case discussion, each session should conclude with the drawing of generalizations on lessons learned.

Simulation Games
This method resembles role playing, uses highly structured contrived situations, based on reality, in which players assume decision-making roles through successive rounds of play. Trainees make decisions on sales forecast, pricing, advertising, size of orders and the like. Thereafter the trainees are given feedback regarding the outcomes of their decisions. Business games generate a lot of enthusiasm due to competitive game playing. However, they do take a lot of time for generating decisions and from making the whole process effective.

On-the-job training Also called the coach-and-pupil method. In this training method, the new salesperson accompanies the senior salesperson for some period of time to observe the senior making several sales calls, including sales presentations, overcoming customer objections and closing sales. Later the new salesperson makes calls, initially on easier customers, while the senior salesperson or supervisor observes and coaches. This method places the sales trainee or the new salesperson in a more realistic sales situation than any of the other methods. Mentoring and In Job rotation are the most popular on-the-job training method.

Absorption training / self study Absorption training is done through supplying product manuals, books, articles, and CD-ROMs to salespeople, who read or absorb these materials without immediate questioning and feedback. This method is useful to introduce basic materials to be covered in more detail at a later date or to strengthen previous training. Audio cassettes is one best form of self study sales training method.

4. Execution or Organization for sales training


The Execution step of ACMEE involves few vital organizational decisions as:

1. Who will be the trainees?


--New and existing salespeople --intermediaries --sales managers 2. Who will conduct the training? --Line sales personnel --corporate staff trainers --outside training specialists Cont..

3. When should the training take place? Training begins the first day of work. It continues throughout the career. Sales meetings serve as important training methods.

4. Where will the training site be ?


(a)Centralized training: training programs at the central offices, or at the manufacturing plant etc. centralized training centers have excellent facilities and equipment as well as highly skilled people to teach.

(a)Decentralized training: it takes place at branch or regional offices as a part of sales force instruction, or on-the-job training.

(B) Execution of the sales training program


Execution or implementation of a sales training program is the most complicated part of the sales training process. It involves, preparation of training time table, arranging internal and external trainers, making travel arrangements of participants, arranging the conference hall and teaching aids etc.

The person responsible for the entire sales training process is usually the sales training manager or the sales trainer, who have a vision, energy, and persistence to plan or design training program on both short-term and long-term basis.

3. EVALUATION OF SALES TRAINING PROGRAMME


The second E in (A-C-M-E-E) is evaluation step which focuses upon measuring sales training program effectiveness.

While evaluating, the company must decide what outcomes will be measured, how these outcomes will be measured, and when to measure these outcomes. These outcomes/ components fall into the following four categories:

Steps in the Evaluation


Determine what should be measured.

Determine the information collection method.


Determine the measurement methods

Analyze the data, determine the results, and draw conclusions for making recommendations.

WHAT SHOULD BE MEASURED? Components to measure:


Reactions

Learning
Behavior OTJ results

What should be the information collection method?


1. Questionnaires 2. Interviews 3. Tests 4. Observation

5. Company data

When should be the measurement methods?


1. After only 2. Before/after 3. Before/after with control group

Table: Framework for Sales Training Evaluation Outcomes to Measure What to measure? (specific items to measure) How to measure? When to measure (Data collection (Information methods used) measurement methods used)
Questionnaires Interviews After the training

Reactions:Training objective achieved? Participants perceptions/reactions Training worthwhile? Learning:Knowledge, skills or attitudes learnt Behaviour:Change in behaviour Knowledge Skills or Attitudes Trainees change of behaviour

Tests Interviews

After the training tests/interviews Before & after test After training, over one year

Observation by supervisor/ customers Self-assessment by trainees Company data Managerial judgment Market survey

Results:Performance results; benefits more than cost of training?

Sales Profits Customer satisfaction

After training, quarterly , yearly