The new age of learning
The old way of training salespeople doesn’t produce results anymore. Fortunately, there’s a new approach. Let’s find out more.
‘You’ve got the job, now hit the phones.’ This used to be how you got started in sales. Companies would hire university graduates and they’d be talking to customers straight away. If they were lucky, there might be a short training course, but it would be more about the product they would be selling rather than how to sell. Is it any wonder that it used to take salespeople so long to ramp up to full production?
Today, university isn’t the attractive prospect it used to be because you can end up saddled with massive debts. (Only this week, the Government is talking about reducing the salary threshold to start paying back university tuition fees.) People who want to get into sales may prefer just to get started rather than spend three years in lectures.
At the same time, the best performers in sales have discovered that you can’t rely on only the skills you have when you start. To continue getting results, you have to commit yourself to lifelong learning. Companies can find success by enabling their salespeople to always be upskilling.
In this article, we’ll look at how leaders can say goodbye to the old way of doing things and create a culture of continuous learning in their organisations.
What is continuous learning?
Continuous learning happens when salespeople regularly spend time building their skills, no matter how long they’ve been in the profession. The best salespeople are curious, so often they’ll organise their own learning, taking online courses, for example.
However, companies will often schedule regular training sessions to enable continuous learning, as they can direct the training where it needs to go and make their people feel more valued. A recent Forbes survey recently found that top sales performers spend more time in training than other reps.
Now, here are three things leaders can do to bring about a new age of learning. It’s out with the old and in with the new!
Coaching vs managing
In the old days, the sales manager would tell you how they wanted you to sell – and that was that. If you needed help in a specific area, such as closing, for example, they’d tell you how they would do it.
In today’s world of learning, coaching is much more effective than telling. Coaching – asking the right questions so your reps discover the correct answer for themselves – is much better for building skills and growing confidence. Research by ValueSelling found that coaching brings about improvements in productivity, performance and retention.
If you’re a leader and you’re not coaching, you should start straight away. If you’re not sure of the differences between coaching and managing (many managers think they’re coaches when they aren’t), take a short coaching course.
Selling the benefits
To make continuous learning something people actually want to do, rather than just be a buzzword, you need to get your people to understand the benefits.
If you have reps in your team who have been there a long time, they might think they already know how to sell. They may also believe that taking time out for training or coaching is a waste of time, and that they would be better off spending that time on the phone with customers. You need to get them on board.
Make sure you impress the benefits of ongoing learning on your people, including:
- Building skills that will keep them relevant in today’s sales landscape
- Gaining the knowledge needed to take your career to the next level – in your company or elsewhere
- Becoming a better salesperson – and making more commission!
Back in the day, sales leaders were armchair generals, a long way behind the reps on the frontline. Those days are gone, however. If you want your continuous learning programmes to succeed, you need to get stuck in too.
Go to the training workshops with your reps, coach and let yourself be coached, call customers yourself and listen back to the recordings. Getting involved shows your reps that you genuinely value ongoing learning, that you’re not just paying lip service. And who knows, you might even learn something!
The future of learning
At SaaSLeads, we’re at the forefront of this brave new world of learning. We take raw talent and turn them into SDRs, ready-made with the skills for success and an expectation for lifelong learning. If they’ve been to university, that’s great, but it’s not a dealbreaker.
Students at the SaaSLeads Academy work for actual tech companies, calling real prospects, alongside their training. They learn by doing, not just in the classroom.
During the course, they receive regular coaching to help them overcome challenges. So, when they graduate and become SDRs, they are used to coaching situations and understand the benefits. Students are encouraged to help each other, forging a network that will benefit them throughout their careers.
For sales leaders, it means you can bring SDRs into your company that can hit the phones straight away and ramp up fast. That means more productivity and fewer lost leads in your sales team.
Find out more from SaaSLeads
At SaaSLeads.io, we recruit, develop and deliver SDRs to your organisation, ready to produce excellent results in your sales team.
Our extensive training programme teaches SDRs to generate excitement around the impact your product brings. First, they learn how to move your prospects through a structured sales process that leads to more won deals. Then, when they get to your company, they’re ready to produce unparalleled results.
To find out more, contact us by filling out the form below.
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