Sales training is great way to get more sales from your sales team. A relatively small investment in sales training can yield big returns.
However, not every 3rd party logistics company is getting the most for their training dollars. Many 3PLs fall for the quick fix training that is soon forgotten. If you want lasting results from your sales training, you need to do it right.
Done right, sales training has a great ROI, done wrong and it is a waste of time and money.
Most 3PLs waste their time and money on cookie cutter, quick fix sales training. If you treat sales training as a project critical to your company’s success, you will get great results.
Below are 10 attributes of effective 3PL sales training:
Forget the cookie cutter solutions. Sales training should be customized for your sales team and your service offering. When you design the training specifically for your sales people, you can include lessons learned and integrate service / product information into the training.
The sales training should be owned by your company. Sales is too important to let an outside company own your sales training. Companies can and should utilize knowledge and skills learned from outside sales training, but ultimately the sales training should be owned and managed by the company’s sales leadership.
A sales process should always be aligned to the client’s buying process. Aligning to the buying process means the sales team needs to really understand how and why their client makes buying decisions. Today, the shipper’s buying process typically begins online, while most 3PLs begin their sales process through cold calling. Big disconnect!
Any project that requires people, resources and money needs a sponsor. Training projects are no different. Training supported by a strong sponsor in senior management is much more likely to succeed. The sponsor must believe in the training, be a vocal advocate, clear obstacles and squash internal resistance.
5. Buy in.
To maximize the effectiveness of sales training, you need to get buy in from the sales leadership within the company. The sales managers typically know the problems and most likely the solutions too. Use this knowledgeable group to customize the training for their sales teams. When sales managers help develop the solution, they are going to be more engaged and more likely to support the training.
The training should be continuously updated as you learn more about your customer and their purchasing decision process. The best sales training evolves over time. There is no silver bullet when it comes to sales training. Continuous improvement is key.
Sales training should be delivered live via webinar and recorded for people who missed the webinar. Transportation and logistics sales teams are usually spread out geographically and it is not feasible to get everyone in the same place at the same time. The recorded webinars can also be supplemented with video training. The digital approach is less expensive and is conductive to ongoing training and reinforcement. Also great for training new hires to the sales team.
Sales training should be comprehensive and include everything a sales guy is expected to know including, but not limited to lead generation, sales and account management. The sales job has become too big in many ways. In my experience, 3PLs sales teams have high turnover, spotty performance and more than their fair share of problems. Some of these issues can be addressed with a comprehensive sales training program.
People have different strengths, weaknesses and learning styles. The best sales training utilizes a personal assessment tool that will help participants (and sales managers) to leverage their sales strengths. My favorite assessment tools are Myers Briggs, Strength Finder and DISC, but there are lots of other great products on the market.
To be successful, sales training needs to be constantly reinforced. I recommend a monthly meeting lead by the sales manager, where the sales team shares things gone right and things gone wrong. These lessons can be discussed and potentially used to update training. The meetings should be structured, but free flowing. The key is reinforcing the training until it becomes habit.
I Can Help
I work with transportation and logistics companies who want more sales. My customized sales programs transform sales functions using proven best practices like the ones listed in this article.
Connect with me at [email protected] or 517.375.0631.