How to Build a World-Class Sales Training Program on a Budget

Most sales training is terrible. It doesn’t relate to the salespeople, and it’s outdated… if the company has any training material at all.

Back in the day, we used flip charts. Our training (like most US companies) went like this:

Introduction: Don’t stray from the script. This sales presentation is fail proof. Build some rapport, make sure the key decision maker is present, then use this flip chart.

Page 1: Our company was founded in…

Page 2: We are 20 million in sales!

Page 3: (More company history…)

Sure, company background builds credibility, but it’s no longer an effective tool. Why? You’re only talking about yourself. Today, making a sale means relating to clients — building a relationship so they can see how your product meets their needs.

Closing sales requires out-of-the-box thinking. That means it’s time for new sales training ideas to go with the new approaches it takes to sell.

Film REAL Salespeople Talking About REAL Opportunities

Interview your number-one salesperson via video. Then use their insight to teach others. Ask about recent opportunities and success so everyone learns how they’ve earned their spot as the top seller.

Then replicate this each time another sales person climbs to the top. Not only does it build your library, it also builds competition.

Stage Selling Opportunities

Want to pitch to a real client and end up with great sales training material? Hire prospects to play the part of a potential buyer.

Call a key prospect in your marketplace and say, “We’re creating training material for our reps and need to film a sales presentation. I know you’re with XYZ firm and aren’t interested in switching, but I’d like to offer you a $250 gift card if you’d be our client for the mock presentation.”

Sure, this technique may cost you a little, but think about the value of pitching to that prospect. In this scenario, you get a sales opportunity and training material. Even if you don’t need more sales training techniques, it’s a creative way to make a pitch.

Role Play

If you can’t find actual prospects to participate, hire actors or use salespeople for video role play. This works best stranger to stranger, so make sure you don’t use co-workers who know each other.

Provide the “client” with a persona. Give them a name, business details, and pain points.

Then choose a salesperson to make the presentation without knowing the client’s pain points, just like a real sales scenario.

Film their interaction and point out objections, pain points, and strategies for overcoming obstacles during a training.

Sales Program Essentials

You need more than one filmed scenario to fully train your salespeople. So, as you build your material, make sure to include these essentials.

Objections

Every organization has about 8-10 objections. Make sure your salespeople know how to handle each one. How? Ask your top 10-20 sales reps what objections they hear and how they respond to them. Then, either film these interviews or point out the objections in role play clips.

Video

Is video really necessary? Yes! It builds your library and allows people to study the details. I can train and role-play one on one, but a video is much more effective. It lets people study body language and facial expressions — repeatedly.

If you’re on a budget, use Google Hangouts to make the recording simple. All you need is a webcam.

Alternatively, you can make the video on your phone. No need to go hi-tech. Just record on your phone or in Google Hangouts, then put the footage to work.

Create for 2 Hours/Week

Sales managers, if you want to know how to develop a training program for your new hires too, start collecting these videos. It doesn’t have to take up much time. If you set aside two or three hours a week to build sales material, you’ll soon end up with an extensive resource for new hires.

You can use these videos in your hiring process. Require candidates to watch three hours of training material. Then have them “audition” for the sales role. If they don’t put in the work ahead of time, no need to waste your time.

Building a top-notch training program doesn’t require endless funds or time. With this plan, you’ll soon have the training resources you needed to equip your team with skills they’ve been missing!

How To Hire Salespeople Within Your Budget

hire salespeople within budget

“How do I hire salespeople within my budget?”

If you’re asking this question, it’s likely you have some doubts. There are customers out there who want to buy your product, and you know you need to reach them, but are you really ready to hire a salesperson?

Start by thinking through these questions to determine your approach and what type of person you need to make the sale.

  • How can you reach the potential customers?
  • Will you be calling them or out in the field driving the business?
  • Do you have access to the customers?
  • Can you make personal contact with them?

If you’ve answered those questions and hiring a new salesperson is still the goal, use these steps to stay in budget and find a salesperson who will be a great fit for your organization.

First Things First

Sell Your Product

As the owner or founder, you have the passion to make the business work and the most to lose if it doesn’t. If you can’t sell your product, you can’t expect someone else to. By being in the field yourself, you’ll learn what it takes to make a sale in your industry and can pass that knowledge on to a sales team, saving time and money in the future.

Check Out The Competition

Use your competitors’ sales process to help decide if a salesperson is your best approach. Do they have an effective sales team? Connect on LinkedIn with the competitions’ former employees and take them out for coffee. Talking with them grants significant insight into what works and what doesn’t. You may find that salespeople haven’t been effective in your industry and can go another route for your company. Or if the sales approach works, these connections may pave the way for future hires.

Time to Hire

If you lack time to manage or have more interest in your product than you can handle, that’s a good sign you need extra help. The obvious solution is to hire a salesperson, but if you’re great at selling, play to your strengths and keep selling. Hiring a manager may work better for your situation, especially if you’re unsure about how to run a business. Then, you can keep being face of the product and pass on your enthusiasm to your client and sales team.

FreeEbook

Determining What to Pay

When you hire another salesperson, you must determine the value of your clients to set a pay rate. Figure out the value of the target clients. Your salesperson should cost about 30% of the total sale. For example, if a client brings in $100, $30 should go towards the salesperson’s salary, commissions, training, and healthcare.

Working Within Your Budget

Compare the 30% rule with the going rate in your industry. Use www.getraised.com or, if you’re in a unique market, talk to others in the same market to gauge how much they earn. This will help you set a reasonable budget. Remember, it takes time for these numbers to pay off. Initially, you’ll lose money due the time it takes the new salesperson to ramp up, learn a sales approach, and complete a sales cycle. The sooner you can figure out your sales strategy, the sooner you can duplicate it and start earning a profit.

Before you hire, you have to grow your budget to a point that you can afford the initial loss involved in a new hire. If you have a six months sales cycle, add a couple of months as an insurance policy.

Gauging Success Early On

As soon as you bring on a salesperson, set up daily activity reporting so you can see if they are on track or not. You want the money you’re spending to be worthwhile. Knowing the data of a successful salesperson helps tremendously with this.

In the case of someone in office equipment sales, the industry standard is about 40 visits a day for successful sales. New salespeople should be on track with these numbers to meet their goals. Automated activity reports, like those on CallProof, will indicate whether the new hire is putting in the work to be successful long-term.

Investment vs. Budget

Remember, salespeople are investments. There’s a big difference between budget and investment: Budget is what you have to work with and investment is the long-term pay-off. Determining what customers to reach, who you need to hire, and potential profit balances the value of your investment against a realistic budget.