Is Your B2B Sales Training Lacking the Most Important Element?

BY C. Lee Smith
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Organizations spend billions on B2B sales training every year. New employees must be educated on how the company sells. All employees require sessions on the best features of the latest products.

Despite the heavy investment in training, some businesses won’t benefit as much as they should. That’s because they overlook the way the B2B sales world has changed. Today’s B2B buyers research their options online long before they connect with any sales rep.

What The B2B Sales Training Program Should Include

The average organization spends $1,200 a year on professional development per employee. The spending in sales departments may be a bit higher, Factor8 reports, especially if the company is launching a new product.

Businesses that want to recruit the best sales talent might tout higher training budgets. They do so to appeal to the desire of younger employees to keep their skills sharp.

The best sales training programs cover the technical skills necessary to find potential clients and close deals. In between those steps, your sales professionals should excel at discovery, personalizing solutions, making presentations, and negotiations.

Developing expertise in these areas does not happen overnight. In fact, every sales rep will naturally be stronger in some areas than others. You can make that determination by reviewing the results of the psychometric assessments they’ve taken.

Reviewing those results allows you to understand the soft skills possessed by each rep. Some of your reps may lack empathy and come across to prospects as not caring. A good sales training program will help reps improve those all-​important soft skills.

How B2B Buyers Assess Sellers

Despite being freshly trained, your reps may still struggle to connect with prospects. The old-​school tactics of cold calling and mass emailing do not yield B2B leads like they used to.

Buyers have taken control of the purchase process. They research their problems and potential solutions online. And up to 75% of these buyers “prefer a rep-​free sales experience.”

In these situations, it’s up to you and your sales reps to improve your online visibility. You can do that by standing out in the ways that impress buyers. This new buying process must be a big focus of sales training.

Buyers are making a short list of providers before they reach out. 38% of buyers prefer to purchase from a company that is a leader in the field. Nearly 50% look for providers with experience in their line of business.

Sellers should also know that buyers do not rush through the process. Companies that plan to invest over $10,000 in a solution require 11 months. This trim frame includes everything between the initial research and final decision, according to 6sense.

How to Help Sellers Position for Future Success

Your sales training should show sellers how they appear to prospects that are researching online. A good productivity app will score sellers' digital credibility and suggest how to improve their profile.

When sellers are ready to engage with a prospect, they also must demonstrate their knowledge of the account and industry. They can do so via email, the preferred communication format by 35% of buyers.

But they can easily destroy their credibility if they send out sloppy and error-​filled email communications. Train your reps to use the best tools to quality-​check their email messages.

Sales Training Cadence

With the pressure to make quota increasing, sales reps may revert to old habits or natural instincts. As a manager, you can improve outcomes by appropriately pacing sales training initiatives. Consider delivering sessions, either in person or online, on a regular basis through the month.

If you load all the year’s training into a few days early on, your reps will only retain a small amount of what they’ve learned. In follow-​up sessions, it makes sense to deliver additional training that is personalized to a rep’s needs and learning style.

B2B sales training is important and expensive. Take time to ensure that your program is designed to meet your rep’s requirements in this new era of selling.

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