Many times, we hear that it is essential for sales teams not to become obsolete. That the trainings and the training for sellers should be engraved in stone in the values of the companies. But what is sales training?
In this article, we are going to ask and answer several questions about sales training and we will also see what tools can help us to manage knowledge and training from the point of view of sales teams.
The questions we will ask and answer are these:
What is the sales training?
Why is it important for sales teams to remain trained and up-to-date?
What tools does a sales team need to sell everything they can?
The Oxford English Dictionary says that training is:
The action of teaching a person or animal q particular skill or type of behaviour.
In Zapiens, we like to create comparisons with tribes and the ancient homo-sapiens way of living, so we like to define the sales training of vendors as:
Provide the hunters of the tribe (vendors) with the weapons (tools) and knowledge necessary to hunt (sell) and thus be able to obtain food (income) for the tribe (company).
There are many important roles within a tribe, but if a tribe has nothing to eat, sooner rather than later it will disappear and if a tribe is able to get foodstuff, it is more than likely to survive and thrive.
The questions that begin with “Why is it important …?” are usually answered with arguments that have to deal with money. And in this case too… According to several studies of large companies such as IBM or Motorola, for every dollar that is invested in training, companies get a return on investment of $ 30 in productivity. You can consult other interesting information in the IBM study : “The Value of Training”.
In future posts, we will talk about how to measure the return on investment (ROI) of training in sales teams. A fundamental task to optimize the training processes and make the best use of the budget of the training department or the human resources department.
But back to focus, let’s return to the question that concerns us: why is it important to keep a sales team trained?
Besides the money, another of the key factors of training is the motivation of the sales team. More often the professionals consider that the company where they work, or they are going to work allows them to continue training and updating their knowledge because they have realized that it is fundamental for their growth and professional evolution and for their career to move forward. This happens especially with the Millennial generation, which among other things (besides sharing our lives in social networks) we are characterized by wanting to learn constantly. For us, Millennials, knowledge is a valuable asset.
Although Fonseca will always be in our memory, the ways of motivating new sales professionals no longer work the same.
Last but not least, since everyone has access to the Internet, information about products is no longer the exclusive property of brands and sellers, so the perception of talking to an expert during the shopping experience every time requires more training and keeping the information about the products updated.
Returning to the simile of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, it would not be easy to hunt a mammoth or a sabre-toothed cat only with our body and improvisation. In order to obtain large profits, we need to have the right tools, a plan and a team capable of executing that plan.
So now, let’s talk about hunting tools. We will divide this answer into 3 blocks: CRMs, e-Learning and document management, knowledge management and people analytics.
The main tool that every sales team should have at their disposal is a CRM (“Customer Relation Tips Manager”). There are countless CRMs and depending on the moment or the needs of the team we can choose a simple Excel spreadsheet or Google spreadsheets, even monsters such as SalesForce or SAP.
Next, I leave you a list with links to some of the main CRMs, according to the phase in which your sales team is located.
Excel or Google Sheets. Google’s spreadsheets have the advantage of being free and collaborative. This could be the first approach if you have few clients and you want a simple system that allows you to identify your needs before making the leap to a professional CRM.
Trello. This project management tool is super useful. In this post, you can see some recommendations from Trello’s own team on how to use the tool as CRM. The best way to start and analyze your CRM needs.
Odoo. Open source and free, although it is more tedious in its configuration and use, it is a very powerful tool. Ideal if you are a fan of open source.
SumaCRM. The easiest professional CRM tool to use, specially designed for SMEs. The first step to automate the sales process of your company.
Pipedrive. A professional CRM, which keeps growing and adding functionalities constantly. It is halfway between Suma and Salesforce. One of its main advantages is the large number of integrations and its low price. Perfect for when your sales team starts to grow.
Salesforce. The giant. Salesforce is the ultimate tool, you could conquer the world with it. The handicap: it is more tedious to start using it than Suma or Pipe, it is also much more expensive. Perfect for mature teams who already know what they need in a corroborated way.
The next big group of tools is the one that has to do with e-learning and document management training.
For several years now, e-learning and corporative wikipedias (or digital documentary managers) have been a revolution when forming commercial teams (and of all kinds). These tools allowed us to reduce the logistic costs of face-to-face training and allowed to organize and share information as never before.
As with the CRMs, I leave you a list of the main sales training tools:
Moodle. The LMS par excellence. It is one of the most extended systems and with the most plugins. If you have mountains and mountains of content and training on paper, this software can help you enormously, although this learning system is already a bit obsolete.
xWiki. A wikipedia for your company. If what you need is to organize information and not touch it again, this is your system.
Xchool. It is a tool of training portals. Brings the ideology of Moodle to the present, with a much more careful design and specially designed for user interaction. If you are looking for an online training portal, you will love Xchool.
Neuro K. In the age of social networks and collaboration, appears Neuro K, a collaborative training platform based on the principles of neuro-didactics.
Knowledge management and People Analytics
Today, there are new technologies such as artificial intelligence or mobile training, as well as new methodologies such as microlearning or gamification. At Zapiens, we have taken the best of each system and shaken the cocktail shaker to build the ultimate knowledge management tool.
With the mobile app of Zapiens, you can train with micro-training (“microlearning”), based on questions and answers, while you earn points and unlock medals (we will also talk about gamification in other posts).
The last two great products that we have taken into our system are ZAP, an assistant with artificial intelligence that answers your organization’s questions (your own corporate Siri, but smarter still). And People Analytics, a data analysis tool that allows you to have a more realistic vision of the knowledge that the people of a company have.
I hope that if you have reached this point, you will feel a little bit more confident about what sales training is, why it is important and what tools will potentially make our sales teams sell it all!