All great sales managers will tell you that training and development are the cornerstones for building an exceptional sales team. The sales industry constantly changes and evolves as prospects learn and alter tactics to deal with enthusiastic salespeople. And, every salesperson needs to learn how to adapt to these changes and continue to grow in their field of knowledge.
This is why sales managers and salespeople share common ground when it comes to learning and developing new skills, but as the 2019 Media Sales Report found, there’s still room for improvement when it comes to performance.
Sales Training Isn’t Just Important, It’s Vital
When The Center for Sales Strategy (CSS) surveyed over 650 sales managers and salespeople to get a better perspective on the state of the media sales industry in 2019, the results were both encouraging and discouraging. However, the findings from the report is a pristine opportunity for the media industry to meet this vital information head-on and improve the industry.
The report shows that nearly all sellers (95%) agree that it’s important to keep learning and developing.
The good news is that your Account Executives care and want to get better at their job. The bad news is that only two-thirds of the sales managers surveyed are conducting weekly sales training. When salespeople were asked what percentage of time they spend in sales training, 63% of them said only 5-10%.
All of these statistics indicate that we have a training gap that is a huge opportunity to help our Account Executives learn and development.
Training presents a prime opportunity to expand the knowledge base of all employees, but many employers in the current climate find development opportunities expensive. However, for many organizations, sales team training often occurs regularly in semi-formal meetings at the beginning of each week, day, or month.
A successful sales team training meeting helps sales staff gain knowledge and experience while addressing current trends and concerns of the team, recognizing outstanding achievements, providing encouragement, and bolstering employee motivation.
At CSS, we recommend that every sales meeting be a gathering that encourages and develops your staff. A good sales meeting will have a strict agenda to ensure pertinent points are addressed, and too much information is not squeezed into a short amount of time. It is not the time to go over:
- House cleaning items
- Where we are and where we need to be
- Other department news
All of this can be done in an email or memo to your staff. Rather, a good sales meeting is about:
- Celebrating successes
- Launching new sales opportunities
- Developing a culture of improving sales performance
- Providing time for questions and concerns
If your sales meetings are typically just focused on reviewing the budget pacing numbers and other housekeeping notes, then you’re missing a great opportunity.
Common misconceptions are that sales meetings have to be be an hour's worth of training or there’s simply not enough time to prepare. Absolutely not! These meetings can be a quick 15-minute refresher on the fundamentals of the sales process. A good discussion on where they see bottlenecks in the process is a great place to start.
Clients of CSS often use one of the sales meeting kits, but not everyone has that available to them. So, if you’re looking for some content to enliven your next sales meeting, try these four TED talks that we recommend.
How to Help Underperforming Salespeople
Another interesting statistic from our 2019 Media Sales Report was that nearly half (48%) of sales managers believe that 20-30% of their sales staff is underperforming.
If we're not continually pouring into our salespeople, how do we expect them to improve and develop into the high-performing Account Executives that we expect them to be?
A sales team is the heartbeat of any organization. To be successful, to grow and survive, you need a high-performing sales team, not an underperforming team. There are two big reasons for an underperforming salesperson:
- They are unequipped
- They lack support
If you don’t equip your salespeople with the right tools, you’re directly impacting their ability to operate at maximum ability. This means investing in a powerful cloud-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and other important tools for sales and marketing, such as a Sales Playbook.
And, although roughly 70% of salespeople have been given feedback on their talents and feel as though their manager talks to them about their talents often, they still don’t feel as though they’re valued and supported. Also stated in the report, 40% of salespeople don’t feel as though they are always being supported by their sales manager, so it comes as no surprise that 46% do not feel as though they are always valued, either.
Your salespeople want, and need, training and development. And 20-30% of them are underperforming, so why aren't you doing it?
Today is the day for change. Use this insightful information from our 2019 Media Sales Report to start fresh and begin training and developing your sales team!