Sales Training FAQ
The experts at Richardson Sales Performance are always working to help our clients and fellow sales professionals improve their selling skills and enhance their customer's buying experience.
Through our conversations with sales organisations across the globe, we have identified a number of frequently asked questions that we have compiled answers to on this page.
Click the links below to jump to a specific topic:
Consultative Selling Questions
General Sales Questions
If you can't find the answer to your specific question here you can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at +44 (0) 20 7917 1806
General Sales Training Questions
What is a sales training programme?
Sales training programmes are professional development initiatives that can be implemented at the individual, team or enterprise levels. Typically, sales training focuses on building strategic or dialogue skills that empower the sales professional to better engage their customers and close more deals. Some sales training focuses on building coaching and leadership skills to help managers drive their team’s continued success.
For more information about sales training programmes, read our article: Effective Sales Training.
Why is sales training important?
Sales training is important for many reasons, including:
- Sales training closes skill gaps that commonly exist in sales teams.
- Sales training is a strategic lever a sales leader can pull to improve overall team performance.
- Sales training builds a common language and process that builds consistency across the sales organisation.
- Sales training improves the customer experience.
- Sales training helps motivate sales teams.
- Sales training helps sales professionals adjust to changes in buyer behaviour or new industry trends.
- Sales training brings teams together after changes in leadership or a merger.
- Sales training demonstrates organisational leadership’s commitment to the success of their people.
- Sales training builds upon and improves existing sales skills.
- Sales training builds skills that create a competitive advantage for sales teams by helping them gain trusted adviser status that is difficult to unseat.
Does sales training improve revenue?
Sale training is one of many strategic levers organisations can pull to increase revenue. The sales team is often on the front lines of driving growth for the company, so it is often a good starting point to start improving revenue performance. Some of the key areas in which sales skills can drive revenue for an organisation are in driving account growth, acquiring new business and building cross-selling or up-selling skills within a service team.
What companies offer the best sales training programmes?
Sales training is not a one-size-fits-all endeavour, so finding the best sales training partner for your team will depend on a lot of factors. However, there are some trusted organisations that provide annual lists ranking top sales training companies. In addition to these lists, there are awards for superior delivery of sales training programmes.
Top Sales Training Company Lists
- Training Industry: Training Industry recognises the top sales training companies in the industry. The companies chosen provide outstanding service and a proven track record for delivering superior sales training and improving the impact of the sales organisation.
- Selling Power: Selling Power is the leading publisher in the sales performance industry. Selling Power’s four criteria for inclusion on their top sales training companies lists are depth and breadth of training offered, innovative offerings (specific training courses, methodology or delivery methods), contributions to the sales training market and strength of client satisfaction.
Sales Training Awards
- Brandon Hall: The Excellence Awards recognise the best organisations that have successfully deployed programmes, strategies, modalities, processes, systems and tools that have achieved measurable results. The programme attracts entrants from leading corporations around the world, as well as mid-market and smaller firms.
- Stevie® Awards: The Stevie® Awards are the world's premier business awards. They were created in 2002 to honour and generate public recognition of the achievements and positive contributions of organisations and working professionals worldwide. In short order, the Stevie has become one of the world’s most coveted prises.
How much does sales training cost?
According to research from the Association for Talent Development, in 2019, organisations spent an average of $2,326 per sales professional on training. However, the cost of sales training varies greatly; factors like team size, programme scope, location, technology and the decision to build vs. buy all affect the final cost.
A good way to start thinking about a reasonable price point for your organisation’s sales training investment is to consider explicit and implicit costs.
- Explicit costs are those incurred from training design, development and delivery. These are easiest to understand, and influence based on scope.
- Implied costs are those associated with taking quota-bearing, expensive and often distributed sales professionals out of the field for training. Easy to measure costs, such as travel and accommodation, need to be added to the cost of lost productivity for sales professionals and managers alike.
Why is sales training needed?
Some common indicators that your team might need sales training include:
- Declining sales numbers
- Loss of ROI
- An influx of new sales team members
- Increasing competition
- New product launches
- Changes in leadership
- Continuous performance improvement goals
- Lack of team motivation
- Changes in buyer behaviour
- Aggressive sales targets
- New processes or a shift in strategy
- Mergers and acquisitions
What makes a good sales trainer?
Good sales trainers possess a number of impressive qualities. While their specific talents are often hard to replicate, there are some common qualities that every good sales trainer demonstrates. These include:
- They are passionate about their craft, and it shows in their work.
- They connect quickly and easily with their learners.
- They create a risk-free environment for learning, and they earn the right to push participants to stretch beyond their comfort zones.
- They are subject matter experts, and they are skilled coaches who understand the real challenges salespeople face in the field.
- They model the skills that they teach while also drawing out best practises from the participants in the room.
- Most importantly, they tailor each classroom experience to meet learners where they are, which ensures the learning is real. Relevance is a critical success factor in the application of learning.
Consultative Selling Questions
What is consultative selling?
In consultative selling, the sales dialogue is hyper-focused on the customer. The consultative selling approach empowers sales professionals to confidently showcase their natural communication styles. They follow a framework that enhances the sales conversation and helps them uncover and explore the buyer’s needs.
For more information about the consultative sales approach, read our article: Defining Consultative Selling.
How does consultative selling work?
Consultative selling is a dialogue skill that is built upon a framework in which the sales professional builds trust with customers and asks open-ended questions that lead to discovering their customer’s known and undiscovered needs. It works because the salesperson demonstrates a true customer focus through their words, actions and behaviours. Some of the specific benefits of consultative selling include:
- Increased revenue by improving close ratios for new customers and expanding business with existing ones
- A competitive advantage by building a sales culture that is tightly aligned to market needs
- Creation of new and larger opportunities by surfacing unrecognised needs
- Shortened sales cycle length by driving momentum and building buyer confidence to commit
What is the difference between value selling and consultative selling?
Consultative selling differs from value selling because value selling is focused on the seller and the product or service that the seller is providing. In consultative selling, the focus is on discovering the customer’s needs and then determining if the solution provided by the seller is the appropriate fit.
What is a consultative process?
The consultative process is a framework that underlies and supports the consultative dialogue. The consultative process is primarily comprised of six key steps:
- Commit Act
Why is consultative selling important?
Consultative selling is a critically important skill for sales professionals because the competition is increasing, and the buyer journey is becoming more and more complex. The customer focus that is the foundation of consultative selling creates a competitive advantage for sales teams. It also helps the sales professional understand the nuances of their client’s organisation, which helps them gain insight into hidden stakeholders, internal processes and unsurfaced needs.
What are the benefits of a consultative approach?
The benefits of adopting a consultative approach include increased sales and account growth, but perhaps the most important benefit of the consultative selling approach is that it builds meaningful relationships with clients. These relationships are the foundation for becoming a trusted adviser, which enhances the customer’s lifetime value.
What are the key skills needed to effectively execute a consultative dialogue?
There are six critical skills that underly the consultative selling approach. They are:
General Sales Questions
How do I build trust with customers?
Building and maintaining trust across the full lifespan of a customer relationship takes attention. Sales professionals should maintain a continuous focus on six key behaviours:
- Prepare with the customer in mind
- Ask great questions
- Be proactive
- Be honest about your limitations
- Make your value explicit
- Always maintain a collaborative tone
How do I improve my relationships with customers?
Rebuilding a relationship with customers can be a difficult task. The most effective way to improve or repair a relationship with a customer or prospect is to resist the urge to succumb to your natural “fight or flight” response and instead communicate empathy, use questioning to develop a non-aggressive position and elicit honest feedback.
For more information, read our sales resource: How to Build Trust in Sales with a Customer-focused Approach.
How do I relate to modern buyers?
Modern buyers are savvy and well researched. They face an increasingly complex buying process in which they must manage multiple stakeholders, competing priorities and increased risk. They expect sales professionals to offer meaningful data and insights that help them make the best decision for their business.
For more information, download our white paper: Elevate Your Consultative Selling Approach to Compete Today.
How do I improve my sales team’s performance?
There are many levers a sales leader can pull to improve their sales team’s performance. Some common opportunities for improvement might be discovered in the organisation’s structure, compensation plan design, territory planning, individual and team productivity, talent acquisition and retention practises and sales skill execution in the field.
For more information, check out our blog post The Six Levers of an Effective Sales Strategy.
How do I help my team get better at managing multiple stakeholders?
Sales professionals can improve their ability to manage multiple stakeholders by taking three key steps:
- Get involved in the hidden dialogue: Outward conversations with the sales professional’s primary point of contact might contrast the hidden conversations among all other stakeholders behind closed doors. Sales professionals must be aware that these separate, buyer-side conversations are unfolding. They must also be proactive and seek inclusion in these dialogues.
- Help drive momentum: Sales professionals should create a sense of urgency in their sales conversations by carefully positioning the opportunity cost of doing nothing.
- Be agile: Sales professionals must be readily available to answer client questions and concerns as they arise.
How do I create an effective sales process?
One of the key elements of an effective sales process is that it is dynamic and flexible. Each step in the process should be linked to verifiable outcomes that are meaningful for your sales team and your sales organisation.
For more information, read our sales resource: Using Verifiable Outcomes in the Sales Process to Change and Track Behaviours.
How do I help my sales professionals engage their prospects?
Prospects are busy. In order for sales professionals to effectively engage them in productive conversations, they must uncomplicate the conversation, define their place in their customer’s world, and keep a consistent focus on uptiering to gain access to senior decision-makers.
For more information on prospecting to the modern buyer, download our white paper: Prospecting in a Noisy World.
How do I improve my team’s sales presentations?
Beyond homing and practising basic presentation skills, your sales team can improve their sales presentations by incorporating SMEs into the conversation and using storytelling to make a more compelling case.
The act of incorporating SMEs into a sales presentation is known as “Team Selling.” Effectively executing a team sales presentation requires the sales professional to play multiple roles in the process of preparation, presentation and follow-up.
For more information on Team Selling, download our eBook: Winning the Team Sale.
Making use of the skill of Storytelling helps your sales team deliver presentations that stick. Using stories to more effectively convey complex data or position differentiators is a great way for your sellers to better engage their clients in the sales conversation.
For more information on the power of using Storytelling in sales conversations, download our white paper: Storytelling for a More Compelling Connection.
What are some techniques for building consistency in my sales team?
Consistency is best driven by creating a common language throughout the selling team. This can be achieved through uniform training across the organisation, establishing clear and meaningful performance metrics and developing a common process.
For more information about building a consistent selling methodology in your organisation, download our brief: The Four Critical Benefits of a Consistent Selling Methodology.
What qualities differentiate top sellers?
Top sellers demonstrate these ten critical qualities:
- Follow a customer-centric approach
- Are discerning in their negotiations
- Build trust to overcome commoditisation
- Adopt an agile approach
- Become a trusted adviser
- Understand buying factors
- Seek commitment to close
- Synthesise different perspectives into one story
- Continually qualify
Richardson Accelerate™ Sales Performance Platform
Richardson’s new Accelerate™ Sales Performance Platform is a digital learning platform that enables sales professionals to develop and apply the right selling skills at the right moment to win the sale and drive revenue.Learn More
How do I shorten the sales cycle?
One of the most common stages that causes the sales cycle to elongate is the negotiations stage. When negotiations delay the close of the sale, professionals often resort to trading. The best way to avoid unnecessary delays in the sales cycle and trading in negotiations is to focus on arriving at a win-win outcome throughout the earlier stages of the cycle.
For more information, download our white paper: Winning the Sale without Thinning the Sale, Negotiating with the Modern Buyer
Get industry insights and stay up to date, subscribe to our newsletter.
Joining our community gives you access to weekly thought leadership to help guide your planning for a training initiative, inform your sales strategy, and most importantly, improve your team's performance.