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The 25 Best Sales Training Approaches

Sales performance improvement

approaches to sales training

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What is Sales Training?

Sales training refers to any programme that provides sales professionals with the skills to win the sale.

Often, sales training consists of many parts including instructor-led training, workflow tools, role-play exercises, and post-training sustainment.

Sales training is either a single event or a series of engagements. Commonly, a sales training programme covers a single area of focus like improved selling behaviours, negotiation skills, or prospecting.

Explore all the different types of training offered by Richardson Sales Performance by clicking here.

Why is Sales Training Important?

Sales training is important because the customer’s purchasing behaviour is more complex than ever. Sellers and sales leaders need a more sophisticated set of skills to address buyers that conduct more of the purchasing process independently.

Sales training also equips sellers with the skills to engage the customer throughout their digital buying journey and to address the growing number of stakeholders involved in a purchase.

Making the most of the seller’s limited time means choosing the most effective sales training approach.

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Top 25 Sales Training Approaches

1. Sprint Selling

Sprint Selling focuses on an agile method that equips the seller to succeed within the unpredictability of the modern sales pursuit. Sellers learn how to focus their efforts on the core actions that advance the sale. Sellers also learn how to objectively measure their progress in the pursuit.

  • Pros: This is a good approach for sellers who want to bring more fluidity to their selling and develop a repeatable strategy for engaging sellers across all industries.
  • Cons: This approach is not suited to teams selling basic products or teams restricted to telephone selling.

2. Consultative Selling

Consultative Selling prioritises relationships and open dialogue to identify and provide solutions to a customer's needs. It is hyper-focused on the customer, rather than the product being sold.

  • Pros: This is a good approach for teams that want to make a complex sale while meeting the needs of many stakeholders.
  • Cons: This approach is not suited to teams that have limited interaction with customers or teams selling commodity goods.

3. Channel Partner Selling

The sales approach is a methodology designed to help channel partner managers to develop and manage a portfolio of partners to generate higher levels of sales results. This sales training approach develops the skills required to effectively identify and recruit channel partners, jointly plan for partners’ growth and success, and significantly improve the level of relationship with channel partner organisations.

  • Pros: This training is suited for sellers and sales teams that seek to increase partner productivity, increase profitability, and boost the efficiency of channel support resources.
  • Cons: This is not a good approach for those in a field sales role or team selling environment in which channel partners are less relevant.

4. Selling with Storytelling

Selling with Storytelling is the approach of applying a framework that crafts a setup, conflict, turning point, and resolution. Storytelling programmes primarily focus on two areas: how to build a great story and how to tell a great story.

  • Pros: This is a good sales approach for those positioning complex solutions that involve a lot of data or technical detail. A narrative structure is critical for contextualising an array of information.
  • Cons: Selling with Storytelling is not a good fit for those who are selling IoT and SaaS solutions that require discussions of technical details.

5. Consultative Telephone Selling

A Consultative Telephone Sales training approach provides sellers with the skills to improve win rates on inbound and outbound telephone sales. The consultative aspect of this method aims to balance questioning with insights to deliver a buying experience that is customised to the sales professional.

  • Pros: This is a good approach for sales organisations seeking to limit the cost of travel and drive more results from an established call centre.
  • Cons: This sales training approach is not suitable for teams that are selling solutions that can only be understood with in-depth demos and conversations with numerous stakeholders at once.

6. Sales Negotiations

A Negotiation training approach prepares sellers to shape the customer’s perception of value while working toward a mutually beneficial outcome. Sellers develop the skills to justify the value of the solution and protect the deal size.

  • Pros: This is a good sales training approach for sellers positioning expensive solutions to a group of stakeholders. It is also effective for sellers who are working within a highly competitive environment.
  • Cons: This sales training approach is not appropriate for sellers who are new to the sales industry and still need to develop the foundational selling skills on which negotiation skills are built.

7. Sales Prospecting

Sales Prospecting training helps sellers develop the new skills needed to generate leads. Modern prospecting skills are critical in today’s setting in which the buyer conducts more of the purchasing process independently and across digital channels.

  • Pros: This is a good training programme for sellers seeking ways to become their own micro-marketer. Prospecting skills are also crucial for sellers who need a better way to generate qualified leads that represent larger selling opportunities.
  • Cons: Prospecting sales training is not a fit for sales teams that have a separate, internal team tasked with providing leads.

8. Sales Territory Management

Sales Territory Management training equips sellers to analyse geography and prioritise current customers and prospects.

Learners typically develop the skills to create monthly and quarterly action plans that build discipline and ensure smart time management. Sellers learn to make fact-based decisions on where to invest their time.

  • Pros: This training is best for teams that need to improve their productivity and get more strategic in their ability to correctly identify the highest potential opportunities.
  • Cons: This approach to training is not optimal for those who are not working within a territory sales model.

9. Virtual Sales Training

Virtual Sales training teaches sellers how to sell to customers over a virtual medium. As more sales teams become geographically distributed and travel costs become prohibitive virtual selling is becoming popular.

  • Pros: This sales training approach is perfect for teams that are attempting to sell to customers across the US or internationally.
  • Cons: Virtual sales training is less effective for those who sell tangible goods or products that must be seen working within a larger context like manufacturing.

10. Positioning a Price Increase Training

This training prepares sellers for the specific challenge of communicating a price increase to an existing customer. As supply chain challenges and inflation drive up operating costs sellers need a way to protect the profitability of their solutions.

  • Pros: This kind of training is best for sales teams that are in industries that are especially vulnerable to dramatic changes in resource availability.
  • Cons: This approach is not a fit for sellers who are focused on positioning lower-cost products at high volumes.

11. Major Account Planning

Major Account Planning training teaches sellers how to develop a plan for generating high-value sales and raising the level of relationships in major accounts. This approach is intended to improve margins and defend the account from competitive threats.

  • Pros: This approach is best for sales leaders and sales teams that need to reduce acquisition costs by expanding existing relationships and retaining priority accounts. 
  • Cons: This sales training approach is not suitable for sales organisations positioning basic solutions that do not present opportunities for expanded business within each account.

12. Sales Coaching

Sales Coaching training equips sales leaders and managers with the interpersonal skills to coach sellers when and where they need it most. As the buyer’s behaviour continues to change rapidly sellers need coaching that happens in the moment.

  • Pros: Sales Coaching Training is a good fit for leaders that need a framework that can be used to support sellers as they navigate the new complexities of selling including the customer’s digital buying journey, stakeholder alignment, and deal qualification.
  • Cons: Sales coaching is not suited for organisations that have not yet identified their sales methodology. Any sales coaching training must follow a formalised sales training methodology.

13. Enhanced Service

Enhanced Service sales training offers retail bank service professionals the skills to deliver a level of customer service that rises to the level of competitive advantage. This sales training approach teaches service professionals how to position additional services and products.

  • Pros: This is a good sales training approach for those in the retail banking industry who have direct access to customers. This training provides the skills necessary to address the customer’s needs by offering an expanded solution.
  • Cons: This is not a good sales training programme for sellers tasked with prospecting to find new leads because this approach is built around the scenario in which the customer contacts the seller.

14. Strategic Account Planning

Strategic Account Planning is a customer-centric approach to identifying priority accounts, capturing, and analysing critical information, and developing a strategy to expand and grow existing customer relationships.

  • Pros: This is a good sales training approach for sales teams that want to close deals faster and focus their efforts on only those accounts that have the greatest potential for expanded revenue.
  • Cons: This is not a suitable approach for sellers who are just beginning to build their book of business. Strategic Account Planning sales training is about growing existing relationships.

15. Strategic Opportunity Pursuit

Strategic Opportunity Pursuit sales training prepares sellers to develop a selling plan that is buyer-centric, strategic, and differentiated. Doing so means developing the skills to understand the buyer’s new setting, the buyer’s emotions, and the factors that trigger the buying journey.

  • Pros: This is a good sales training approach for sales teams that want to sell to buyers who work in an industry that is experiencing a dramatic change in a short period of time. This is also a good approach for sellers who engage customers with complex challenges.
  • Cons: This is not a good sales training approach for sellers that are part of an inside sales team that have fewer opportunities for direct and ongoing communication with the customer.

16. Cloud, IoT, and SaaS Sales

This sales training approach prepares sellers to engage with customers seeking digital solutions that will have an impact of nearly every part of their business. Sellers learn how to address dynamic customer challenges that require solutions that can adapt to changing needs.

  • Pros: Sellers who pursue Cloud, IoT, and SaaS sales training learn how to develop an agile approach to manage the customer’s sensitivity to risk, articulate the value of scalable solutions, and address a range of stakeholders including the CTO, CEO, and CFO.
  • Cons: This is not a good sales training approach for teams selling solutions that are not software-based.

17. Inside Sales

Inside Sales training teaches sellers how to sell from a distance, often within an office setting, rather than via in-person interactions. Sellers learn how to leverage phone conversations, email, and online communications to win the sale.

  • Pros: This sales training approach is best suited for teams in an office setting that are attempting to sell to a wide customer demographic.
  • Cons: This is not a good sales training approach for sellers who are positioning solutions that would require approval from a diverse set of stakeholders.

18. Value-Based Sales

Value-Based Selling is the act of prioritising the customer’s needs over those of the sales professional. Value-based sellers refrain from the practise of pushing a solution at every stage of the buying process. Instead, they seek to bring meaningful value to customers without directly positioning the solution.

  • Pros: Value-based selling is a good approach for teams that have the flexibility to take their time with the customer. Doing so means getting the full dimensions of the customer’s situation so that the positioning language is more resonant later.
  • Cons: Value-based selling is not appropriate for sellers focused primarily on tight deadlines to reach a revenue figure driven by volume.

19. Inbound Sales

Inbound sales training teaches sellers how to engage customers who contact the organisation to enquire about a product or service.

Inbound sales refers to selling to leads that have already expressed an interest in the product or service. As a result, sales professionals have more background information about the customer's situation and can prepare for the sales conversation.

  • Pros: This is a good sales training approach for sales teams that have an existing inbound sales process that can continually generate qualified leads.
  • Cons: This is not a good sales training approach for field sales teams or sellers tasked with generating leads through prospecting.

20. Relationship Sales Training

Relationship Sales training is an approach that prioritises trust-building in the buyer/seller relationship. Sellers learn how to grow into the role of an advisor so that their insights become valuable to buyers who seek guidance on strategy.

  • Pros: This is a good sales training approach for teams that want to foster a deeper connection with customers. This style of selling lends itself to solutions that require a longer sales cycle which affords sellers the time to create a rapport.
  • Cons: Relationship sales training is not suited for sellers in a retail sales role in which the time with the customer is limited.

21. Social Sales

Social Sales training empowers sellers with the tools and techniques to connect with customers via social channels, highly customised content, personal branding, and open dialogue.

  • Pros: This approach is good for sellers who seek to be more engaging to customers that are increasingly hard to access throughout the digital buying journey.
  • Cons: Social selling is not a good fit for sellers that depend on face-to-face conversations to fully articulate the value of a solution.

22. Insight Sales

Insight Sales training teaches sellers how to connect their capabilities to a customer’s business issues by identifying blind spots in the customer’s strategy to create added value. With this approach the seller becomes less of a product expert, and more of a strategic consultant.

  • Pros: Insight Sales training is effective for sellers that work with customers in dynamic industries characterised by frequent change and intense competitive pressures.
  • Cons: This sales training approach is not effective for sellers in a retail or inside sales setting.

23. Evidence-Based Solution Sales

This approach is designed primarily for sellers working in the healthcare industry. This sales training shows sellers how to link clinical findings to brand-based solutions, and understand the validity, statistical significance, and clinical relevance of the data that supports their brand.

  • Pros: This approach is perfect for those selling to physicians or others in the healthcare industry. Evidence-Based Solution sales training is also optimal for sellers in the MedTech industry.
  • Cons: This is not a good fit for sellers positioning any solution outside the medical industry or for those selling solutions that are not supported by data.

24. Team Selling

Team Selling training prepares the sales team to work together to deliver a cohesive presentation to the buying group. Sellers learn how to leverage cross-department capabilities, maximise the impact of sales meetings, and align the stakeholders in the buying organisation.

  • Pros: Team Selling training is perfect for sellers positioning complex solutions that require a group of people and SMEs to fully articulate the range of capabilities.
  • Cons: Team Selling is not suited for those in an inside sales role or those in a service/sales role.

25. Pipeline Management

Pipeline Management training helps boost performance in the sales organisation by providing sales managers and leaders with the ability to quickly review their team’s sales pipelines and opportunities and provide meaningful and objectively based coaching that improves their sales team skills.

  • Pros: This approach is good for leaders who want to develop a repeatable process for sales performance, improve pipeline forecast accuracy, and improve pipeline velocity.
  • Cons: This sales training approach is not suitable for anyone who is not in a sales leadership role.

Sales training has become a precision instrument. Getting the right outcomes starts with a careful selection of the training that is the best fit for the sales team.

The key is for leaders to first build a training programme that gives the sales team a solid set of foundational skills, then to add to that foundation with specialised training topics suited to the specific challenges the seller faces.

Click here to contact us and learn about the range of sales training programmes offered at Richardson Sales Performance.

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