The Four Mistakes That Will Make Your Sales Training Fall Flat

The Four Mistakes That Will Make Your Sales Training Fall Flat

September 5, 2019

Shawn Parrotte

If your sales curriculum doesn’t exist or is in need of a major facelift, you’re not alone.

Many sales leaders admit that they have little to no formal sales curriculum in place. In fact 34.8% say they have no formal training for new hires. Another 32.5% say their teams are being inconsistently trained.

Even when teams hire roles like Sales Enablement and begin building out a sales training curriculum, leaders struggle to drive buy-in and adoption across the org.

Yet without a curriculum, sales training often falls to the wayside. And when sales training is neglected, numbers are missed. In fact reps who are not formally coached or trained are 27% more likely to miss quota.

Even worse, more than 60% of reps state they’ll leave an organization if their manager is not a good coach.

Here are four mistakes to watch out for when building and refining your sales training curriculum. If you’re particularly interested in this topic, check out our new eBook on how to develop an end-to-end sales curriculum.

1. Your Sales Training Curriculum Is Not Intentional

Rolling out a new curriculum provides a rare opportunity to get the entire team energized around the company vision and objectives. It also forces sales leadership to get aligned on the details of the talk track, process, and sales methodology. It should be rolled out with an intention in mind.

Here are three common intentions for sales curriculums:

  • Improve onboarding processes to ramp new reps quickly and consistently - reduce the time it takes to onboard new reps by re-envisioning on-boarding. Consider new ways to give hungry reps access to playlists and practice so they aren’t sitting around waiting for ride-along calls. Check out these additional tips to onboard reps.
  • Boost quota attainment - your market is always changing. As new competitors enter the market, or your team refines the product and messaging, it’s critical to provide ongoing training and certify reps. Help reps self-coach with this cheat sheet.
  • Optimize your process to decrease funnel leakage - even when the team’s performing fine, there are always opportunities to refine processes. An ongoing curriculum, including new content and talk tracks, can help the team improve the effectiveness of their sales funnel. Learn more about how to conduct ongoing film reviews.

When you roll out a sales curriculum share why and back it up with data so that team knows how important it is to follow through.

2. You Didn’t Seek Alignment On Your Curriculum

Before you even begin to outline your curriculum, it’s important to get access to the field to listen to reps and customers firsthand. You’ll also need allies on the sales team who are bought in, as well as executive buy-in and sponsorship. All of this is dependent on a strong listening tour that effectively never ends.

To seek alignment, take these steps:

  • Listen to a wide variety of calls during different stages of the sales process, including cold calls, discovery, demos, proposal calls, late-stage calls, and kick-offs.
  • Source real stories from reps in the field that you can build into case studies and curriculum.
  • Gain a detailed understanding of the end-to-end sales process. This includes questions to ask the prospects during various stages; FAQS and objections; and content to give prospects at each stage.

3. You Don’t Have Enough Dynamically Updated Content

Curriculum should be created in a wide variety of formats. Some common curriculum formats include:

  • Classroom Style
  • Reading or Video
  • Listen to Playlists
  • Self or Peer Assessment Via Film Review
  • Certification on Live Customer Call

One of the easiest ways to build a pipeline of dynamically updated content is to enable reps to submit calls to playlists that the rest of the team can access.

Here are some of the top playlists we see on Chorus:

  • Contest: First Three Minutes Your opener sets the tone for your call. Run an internal contest to see who gets the most out of the first three minutes of their sales call
  • Setting the Agenda It’s critical that reps set the agenda for their calls and control them. Share best-in-class ways to set agendas throughout the entire sales process
  • Best Of: Budget Qualifier “Best of” playlists feature highlights of top sales calls. Budget qualification is one of the most difficult things reps do, so learn from top sellers firsthand
  • One Call Close Listen to the talk tracks from deals that closed incredibly quickly
  • Delivering Pricing Hear how top reps explain pricing to customers
  • Best of: Buyer Intent Learn how to pick up clues that demonstrate whether a buyer intends to purchase or not
  • Roadmap Concerns Listen to how top reps handle objections about kick-off an implementation
  • Up-selling 101 CS calls with live clients provide great snapshots of how to identify an upsell opportunity and bring new ideas to customers
  • Customer Story Time “Story Time” playlists are all about helping reps bring customer

4. You're Not Measuring Success

It’s important to measure your curriculum’s impact so you know where it’s working and where there are areas to improve. To measure your curriculum look for:

  • Frictionless adoption. Look to see if reps are completing all of the activities in the appropriate time frame and if there’s any roadblock standing in the way.
  • Direct feedback. Listen to customer calls to see if the team is adopting the right talk tracks and methodologies.
  • Ramp time and results. The most effective way to see if your curriculum is working is to look at the ramp time and results across different cohorts of reps.

In addition, you can measure its impact on KPIS like:

  • overall quota attainment
  • improvements in productivity
  • decreases in the time it takes to close a deal
  • competitive win rates
  • increases in Average Contract Value

You should have a measurement plan in place for each lesson within your curriculum too. Learn more about how to build scorecards for the lessons within your curriculum.