Today’s landscape for sales is changing. As a result, sales enablement training has emerged as a critical concern for organizations. Focusing on sales resources, actions, and the strategy that aligns them has proven to be a vital component to high-performing sales teams.
As companies work to create or strengthen sales enablement initiatives to improve sales performance, they often look at implementing employee training first. But it can be tricky to know where to begin in creating learning experiences around this dynamic business concept.
Throughout our more than 35 years of experience, we have been able to identify three best practices for sales enablement training, and we want to share them with you! We’ll use Akamai, one of our recent partnerships, as an example of how these practices helped us develop innovative training that met the organization’s objectives.
Facilitate Valuable Sales Conversations
Most of us are familiar with the old adage, “people sell what they know.” Before launching a product or service to the world, educating the sales channel on the product is fundamental and crucial. Part of sales enablement training is making sure salespeople have the product knowledge and buy-in required so they can successfully articulate value to customers.
In the case of Akamai’s sales training courses, there was a major emphasis on the promotion of products and services. But instead of simply telling learners how much value Akamai was able to offer potential clients, the trainings showed Akamai’s value by demonstrating, through interactive product libraries and sales simulations, the impact of their solutions. Learners were also given “Check Your Knowledge” questions throughout the trainings to solidify product knowledge.
Additionally, the courses provided downloadable resources for the learners to reference in the future. A Conversation Guide included sample scripts between a salesperson and stakeholders the learner might find themselves engaging with in the future. A Sales Messaging Playbook contained product information and information guides for selling to specific stakeholders. Assets like these reinforce skills needed on the job.
As learners engage with impactful learning activities and refer to useful assets, their knowledge is bolstered, and they are better equipped to facilitate valuable conversations.
Empower Tailored Sales Interactions
Consensus buying is one of the big game-changers for sales today. There is rarely a single buyer, and all buyers are different – different job functions, different companies, and different industries. Effective sales enablement training is required to be skilled in tailoring interactions for these varying customer profiles.
The Akamai custom corporate training was largely made up of simulations in which learners interacted with fictional companies. Each simulation focused on a different industry, which allowed for the imparting of industry knowledge, in addition to teaching sales skills, solution selling, and pricing. Before starting a simulation, learners would review a company profile, allowing them to consider how they might tailor their approach. Once they began a simulation, learners were asked to choose, from a selection of fictional stakeholders, the person that would engage most in conversations regarding specific topics.
Resources regarding job functions and industries were also available for reference in the trainings. The Profile resource included relevant industry-specific job titles, challenges, questions to ask, insights, and provocation examples. The Industry resource included content about eight major industries and their goals relevant to Akamai’s offering.
Armed with knowledge of industries, companies, and roles, the sales people are empowered to tailor their interactions to be insightful and productive.
Accelerate Robust Sales Results
The strategic use of technology is one of the best ways to accelerate robust results. It can quickly transform an existing sales enablement program from good to great, and allows for innovation, scale, and impact.
Let’s look at one last example from Akamai. Toward the end of the Akamai simulations, learners practiced solution pricing. The trainings provided a digital pricing tool that helped them pull pricing information together efficiently, making a potentially complicated step in the sales process easier.
The use of interactive virtual sales simulations were the foundation of the Akamai trainings, and for good reason. Innovative sales enablement training like this deliberately orchestrates quick performance wins for sales reps as well as learn-by-doing experiences in a safe, low-stakes environment.
Technology-supported sales enablement training can not only improve sales performance but using it to deliver training maximizes efficiency and ensures consistency in content, pacing, and tracking across a large organization. How’s that for results?
When it comes to sales enablement training, the goal is to make your sales force as successful as possible. By developing training around the practices of facilitating valuable conversations, empowering tailored interactions, and accelerating robust results, that goal will be realized.
Inspired to get started on your sales enablement training journey? Reach out and let us know how we can help.