The Smith Report - Operational Playbooks

Training a World Class Sales Team – 3 Simple Categories

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Training a World Class Sales Team – 3 Simple Categories

Mentoring your sales team to fulfill their potential is never easy but I see real confusion out there and it’s making the task so much more difficult than it needs to be.

All sales training can and should be taught in three distinct categories:

3 Big Categories
  1. Product and Service Knowledge
  2. Customer, Markets and Competition
  3. Sales Process
The secret sauce is in the detail so when I mentor sales teams I include these details in each category:
#1 Product & Service Knowledge
  1. Detailed understanding of the products and their technical specifications.
  2. How to use the products.
  3. The symptoms that imply your products could improve the performance of the prospect.
  4. The outcomes they achieve.The real business results that are possible. What makes those results unique.
  5. The ROIs of each product and the reasons why.
  6. All of the potential pricing options.
  7. How to integrate them into a business.
  8. How to demo the products in the context of the prospect’s environment.
  9. Technical FAQs and their answers.
  10. An understanding of previous technical problems solved.
  11. Test the team’s knowledge on the above every month.
#2 Customer, Markets & Competition
  1. The ideal persona that the various products are aimed at,
  2. The major issues driving the success of prospects in key sectors.
  3. The marketing story behind each product explaining the reason to exist.
  4. The top 50 prospect companies in each sector.
  5. The market structure of key sectors eg number of players, relative size, the size of their investment in your products etc
  6. A cheat sheet of key competitors explaining the differences in prices and features.
  7. A detailed understanding of all case studies highlighting the challenge, solution and results.
  8. Market share stats.
  9. Reasons why customers have bought in the past.
#3 Sales Process
  1. Teach the detailed sales process you expect every member of the team to follow, eg I always embed the Prime Process because it focuses on improving the performance of the customer as a goal rather than the winning of POs.
  2. Build a playbook that demonstrates how to use the Sales Process.
  3. Teach the team how to record each stage of your sales process in the CRM whether it’s Salesforce, ACT, home grown.
  4. Assign probability to each stage of the sales process to allow weighted forecasts to be generated.
  5. Explain how sales leads are allocated.
  6. Explain how the sales targets and commissions work.
  7. Explain how the proposal system works.
  8. Teach and role play various versions of the sales scripts that marry the marketing narrative with great investigative questions.
  9. Teach basic strategic account management techniques and embed tools that allow the farming and mapping of customers.
  10. Explain the invoicing system and the importance of staying close to the customer regarding cash collection.
I’m seeing category #1 being done quite well but then never reinforced so knowledge weakens over time. I rarley see category #2 taught at all. Category #3 often gets confused with sales techniques and with CRM systems. Neither of which is a world class sales process.
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About the Author

Ian founded The Portfolio Partnership (TPP) in 2010. TPP is an operational consultancy focused on scaling private businesses safely. He believes his resume of building 4 previous businesses from publishing, investment banking to software in Europe and the States gives him a unique set of skills and a sense of humor. He remains a competitive masters track & field athlete and in 2012 was ranked #2 indoors in the world for his age at 400m.

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