Sales managers take on a host of responsibilities when they step into a management role. Not only are they responsible for understanding how their team’s work fits into the company’s goals, they’re also responsible for training members of their team so that the group can work together to meet its goals.
Have you ever trained another salesperson before? No? This guide will walk you through the basics on where to begin.
Understand and communicate the big picture.
Sales team members rely on their managers to see the bigger picture. Your sales staff are busy with their day to day tasks and immediate goals; they trust their leaders to help them connect the dots between those daily tasks and the department’s or company’s overall goals.
Start by taking a look at the big picture from the point of view of your sales staff. What do they need to know? Which parts of the larger view make their individual tasks – especially tasks they struggle with – more meaningful?
Take sales staff from the known to the unknown.
Good teaching involves leading the learner from what they know to what they don’t know. By starting with what your sales staff know, you make the entire process of learning more familiar. You help them draw connections more easily between what they’re learning and what they can already do.
When training a sales staff member, start with what they know. This may mean, for example, asking them to demonstrate a task up to the point where they need to learn more, or comparing a new task to a familiar one they’ve already mastered.
Use hands-on training and teachable moments.
Few people do their best learning in the abstract. Rather, learning hands-on helps most learners see and apply new skills right away. It also gives you, as their manager, the opportunity to spot and correct problems before they become habits.
Whenever possible, teach new sales staff the skills they’ll need within the context of their day to day work. Take advantage of mistakes as a chance to correct and strengthen good habits, rather than a chance to scold. Focus on the goal of building a team with the skills to handle challenges.
Plan with your team members to build on strengths and address weaknesses.
Like hands-on learning, collaborative goal-setting creates a sense of ownership in the learner, allowing them to learn and retain information more easily.
Ask your team members to evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses. Explore options with them for building on strengths and making weak areas stronger. Doing so will encourage sales team members to take charge of their own learning.
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