The Sales Manager Training Challenge

Peady’s Selling Engagement sponsored by IRD Prospector

 Welcome to this week’s post on sales and selling success.

I’m sure many of you know Hubspot – they have some great sales tools and often produce insightful reports and research on selling. Recently I read one of their research studies on “How Salespeople Learn” and found 3 fascinating things I’d like to share.

  1. An amazing 55% of women didn’t intend to get into sales as a career! Given that so many are in sales today I wondered why the change in mind? 
  2. And those women in sales rely on training resources a lot more than men do. An even more interesting point.
  3. Finally, most salespeople (men and women) prefer 1:1 training rather than group training. Considering training is most commonly done in groups is it successful?

The sales manager role

In all of this it’s clear the sales manager is a key player. I believe the sales manager should have a very active role in the training and development of their teams in three areas:

  • formalised training 
  • informal training
  • personalised coaching

The formalised training should be on a specific area of skill development which then moves into ongoing group or 1:1 reinforcement, followed up by personalised coaching. From time to time, the actual classroom component is probably best led by professional facilitators (but not always). It’s best practice for the sales manager to attend so they can observe their people, join in the conversation, and get a good benchmark of where their team are.

Once that training is delivered you have informal training and that can happen in the weekly sales meeting. Focus on a subject each week like overcoming difficult objections, prospecting for new business or presenting value rather than price. Group discussion, sharing of best practices and role playing are all a part of informal training.

The most important role for the sales manager is individualised or personalised in-field sales coaching. That’s working with each sales person on two to three skill areas. A formal and written coaching plan is useful – based on observations from sales calls. From there the manager provides feedback and as the salesperson improves the coaching plan is adjusted.

The golden rule

From a sales manager’s perspective when you conduct training or coaching avoid following the “Golden Rule” which is “treat others how you would want to be treated” instead, follow the

“Personalised Rule” and “treat others how they want to be treated” 

Maybe that’s easier said than done, but there are a lot of training assessment tools out there to help including some on communication styles and personality types.

Until next week good training and coaching!

About the author 

Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.

He can be contacted at [email protected]