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Sales Training: Objectives, Techniques, and Evaluation

Management of the Modern Sales Force Marketing 6228

Training Investment

Mark W. Johnston and Gary W. Marshall, Sales Force Management, McGraw Hill, 2006

Sales Training Issues


Who should be trained?  What should be the primary emphasis in the training program?  How should the training process be structured? on-the-job training and experience? on-the formal and more consistent centralized program? web-based? web instructor-based? instructor

Sales Training Objectives


 Increase  Improve  Lower

productivity morale customer relations selling skills

turnover

 Improve  Improve

Obstacles to Introducing Training




Top management not dedicated to sales training Lack of buy-in from frontline sales buymanagers and salespeople Salespeoples lack of understanding of what training is supposed to accomplish Salespeoples lack of understanding regarding application of training to everyday tasks

WellWell-Designed Training Program


 

Analyzes sales force needs Sets specific, realistic, and measurable training objectives Allows for adequate development and timely, effective implementation Subjects itself to evaluation and review What do we want to measure? When do we want to measure? How do we do it? What measuring tools are available?

Modifies to achieve greater effectiveness

WellWellDesigned Training Program

Mark W. Johnston and Gary W. Marshall, Sales Force Management, McGraw Hill, 2006

Recent Shifts in Training New Sales Recruits




Companies with less than $5 million in annual sales are spending more on sales training per new hire - $5,500 worth of training per salesperson. Training in smaller companies has increased from 3.3 months to 4.4 months. Smaller companies are placing more emphasis on training than several years ago. Companies are spending time and money on training experienced salespeople Companies with more than $5 million in annual sales, are spending less money on training

Source: Christen P. Heide, Dartnells 30th Sales Force Compensation Survey: (Chicago: Dartnell Corp., 1999)

Training Costs and Duration

Mark W. Johnston and Gary W. Marshall, Sales Force Management, McGraw Hill, 2006

Recent Shifts in Training Experienced Sales Personnel




Experienced sales reps are given, on average, 32.5 hours of ongoing training per year at a cost of $4,032 per rep Continuing increasing amounts of training reflects a commitment to provide ongoing learning opportunities for senior salespeople Companies are spending an increasing amount of time on product training and less on training in selling skills

Source: Christen P. Heide, Dartnells 30th Sales Force Compensation Survey: (Chicago: Dartnell Corp., 1999)

Training Costs and Duration

Sales Training Topics


       

Product or service knowledge Market/Industry orientation Company orientation Selling skills Time and territory management Legal and ethical issues Technology Specialized topics

Product Knowledge
 

Enables a salesperson to provide prospects and customers with the critical information for rational decision-making decisionInvolves Knowing how the product is made How the product is commonly used, and How it should not be used. Customers often want to know how competitive products compare on price construction performance compatibility with each other Companies that produce technical products spend a greater amount of time on product knowledge

Market/Industry Orientation Topics




How a particular industry fits into the overall economy Knowledge of the industry and the economy Economic fluctuations that affect buying behavior and require adaptive selling techniques Customers' buying policies, patterns and preferences in light of competition Customers' customers and what satisfies them Needs of both wholesalers and retailers

 

 

Company Orientation Topics


Company polices that affect their selling activities  How to handle customer requests for price adjustments, product modifications, faster delivery and different credit terms  Sales manuals that cover product line information and company polices  A well-prepared sales manual gives a wellsales representative quick answers to a customer's questions


Time and Territory Management


 Sales

trainees need to learn to manage time and territories  80/20 rule applies:
20% of the customers account for 80% of the business and Require a direct proportion of time and attention

Legal/Ethical Issues


Federal law dictates corporate action or avoidance of action in areas of marketing, sales and pricing Sales personnel need to understand the federal, state and local laws that constrain their selling activities Statements made by salespeople carry both legal and ethical implications Lapses in ethical conduct often lead to legal problems

Technology


Notebook computers
Presentations connecting to company intranet or extranet delivering documentation quickly and accurately

Home offices eliminate the need to go to another office Salesperson can be almost totally self-sufficient with self high-speed network connection high computer printer cell phone

Effective computer use affords sales personnel more face-toface-to-face customer contact time

Specialized Training Topics


 Overcoming  Holding

price objections

the line on price  Working the trade show  Problem solving

Training Methods - How

Mark W. Johnston and Gary W. Marshall, Sales Force Management, McGraw Hill, 2006

Training Methods - Where

Mark W. Johnston and Gary W. Marshall, Sales Force Management, McGraw Hill, 2006

Keys for Effective OJT




Teaming - Bringing together people with different skills to address issues. Meetings - Setting aside times when employees at different levels and positions can get together and share thoughts on various topics. Customer interaction - Including customer feedback as part of the learning process. Mentoring - Providing an informal mechanism for new salespeople to interact and learn from more experienced ones. Peer-toPeer-to-peer communication - Creating opportunities for salespeople to interact together for mutual learning.

Source: The Education Development Center (www.edc.org)

Classroom Training


Trainee receives standard briefings in


product knowledge company polices customer and market characteristics selling skills

Formal training sessions avoid wasting executive time Classroom sessions permit use of audiovisual materials and technical resources Interaction between sales trainees builds camaraderie

Measuring the Costs and Benefits


 Sales

training consumes substantial time, budget and support resources between sales training and revenue is difficult to measure

 Relationship

Broad Benefits
Improved morale  Lower turnover  Higher customer satisfaction  Managements commitment to quality and continuous improvement  Measuring changes in skills, reactions and learning assists both new and experienced sales personnel


Training Evaluation

Mark W. Johnston and Gary W. Marshall, Sales Force Management, McGraw Hill, 2006

Training Evaluation

Mark W. Johnston and Gary W. Marshall, Sales Force Management, McGraw Hill, 2006

Key Terms
 sales

training analysis  on-the-job training (OJT) on-the role-playing role electronic training methods  sales training costs