In addition to product knowledge, which is absolutely fundamental for your sales reps, different sales skills training is a key factor in boosting sales performance as well as employee confidence and motivation. But which sales skills should be part of your Sales Training Academy?
Each team will have different gaps and areas for improvement, so it is important to start with a training needs analysis to assess what those are. That said, some sales skills apply to every salesperson and are very likely to be areas your own team could improve upon.
We have divided these skills every sales person should master to be more productive, agile, motivated and increase performance, into 3 global areas: Efficiency skills, Communication skills and Performance skills. Take a look!
1. Time management
The key to productivity is using good time management skills. Organisation, effective planning, decision making, and focus are all key skills for effective sales reps to master.
2. Lead prioritization (qualifying leads)
Sales reps must be able to effectively sort through leads, choose the most interesting ones to pursue, understand what a good fit is, know when not to waste too much time on a deal that is unlikely to be successful, understand and leverage Lead Scoring.
3. CRM and other sales-enablement tools
If your sales reps are clear on how to use your CRM and other sales tools, they are not wasting time (that they should be using to sell) trying to figure it out. Also, if the team can use these tools correctly, the reporting output will be more reliable as everything is filled out where and how it is supposed to be.
4. Leading an efficient sales meeting
Poorly managed meetings can drain your energy and your time, whereas productive meetings boost creativity and execution. This key for both internal and client meetings.
Strategic prospecting skills will set you up for success from the start. If you can correctly identify high quality prospects, the conversion rate through the sales funnel stages will improve significantly.
You might have heard quotes such as “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it” or “if you can’t measure it, you shouldn’t be doing it”. The ability to effectively measure, analyse and present different sets of data is a must-have for any sales person.
7. Setting SMART goals
Goal setting is part and parcel of your time management abilities. Ensuring those goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely is essential.
8. Sales processes
Each company has its own sales processes to follow. Learning these processes, what’s behind them and the best practices involves in each stage should be part of your onboarding experience to all sales reps.
9. Demo skills
For many products, having a demo is critical to the sales process. But presenting a demo is not just run-through of the entire product, there are some skills behind it. Have you ever asked yourself why some people are so good at demos and others simply fail?
Building strong connections will provide salespeople with an invaluable opportunity to develop face-to-face credibility and trust. Moreover, social connections and mutual acquaintances are always helpful when trying to find common ground with your prospects.
11. Establishing rapport
The ability to build rapport with clients is of the utmost importance is sales. Elements such as active listening, treating people with respect and politeness, matching their style and sounding competent and knowledgeable will help develop a sense of mutual trust and affinity.
12. Active listening
A successful salesperson must be able to listen very carefully, understand what the client wants and — most importantly — what the client needs.
13. Asking the right questions
In addition to listening to the customer, it is important to be able to ask the right questions, even the difficult ones. This is key to be able to truly qualify your leads. BANT, GPCT, BA, C&I… learning how to ask those questions is just as important as knowing what questions to ask.
14. Presentation skills
The ability to create and deliver buyer-focused presentation content that is at the same compelling and concise is indispensable.
15. Phone-based sales
Salespeople need to be effective at managing sales over the phone. This requires different abilities, such as being able to read someone’s tone of voice or measure the cadence of the conversation, but also to be able to effectively convey messages and empathy.
16. Closing skills
Are you familiar with the ABC strategy? Always Be Closing! But this is easier said than done. Closing a sales deal is usually one of the hardest skills to master, yet it is one of the more crucial for business success.
17. Developing proposals
A successful salesperson will create targeted, bullet-proof proposals that will delight their prospects and facilitate closing.
18. Social selling
Social media has paved the way for social selling. Many good salespeople now view their participation in platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook as one of their most important sources of business.
19. Lead nurturing
Lead nurturing is the process of maintaining a relationship with your leads to help them move forward through the marketing and sales funnel. There are many tactics to accomplish this successfully, and all of them can be learned.
Having strong negotiation skills is the best way successful salespeople avoid making concessions and protect their margins. Knowing their bottom line and treating their prospects like a business partner is a popular tactic amongst sales reps.
Leadership is probably one of the strongest and most marketable attributes a salesperson can develop. Successful salespeople will show sales intuition and coaching adaptability, while being target- and deadline-driven.
22. Objection handling (and prevention)
Sometimes it is possible to be proactive and address a common objection even before it becomes one, but even the best sales reps can’t prevent every objection. That’s why it is important to develop objection handling skills.
There are a few more sales skills we could add to this list to deal with common challenges, and of course, each company and team will have different needs to add.
To understand exactly what training content should be part of your Sales Training Academy should be, start by gathering and analysing two things: your team feedback, and your team’s performance reports.
If you don’t have a Sales Training programme in your company, or you feel like the one you have is not effective or adjusted, this guide will help you: 6 (easy) steps to set up sales training (download guide).
You may also find interesting:
The simple economics of Online Sales Training (article)
Why move your Sales Playbook to an Online Academy (article)
How to leverage video to teach sales skills (article)
How having a brand academy helps Marketing and Sales KPIs (article)
Would you like to learn more about how bugle can help with your Sales Training challenges?