Training is a continuous struggle for sales reps, and like any industry or role, there’s a lot that goes into resolving skills gaps, improving onboarding and certification, strengthening knowledge sharing, and avoiding attrition.
No doubt, the sales industry needs an extreme makeover in its sales enablement efforts. But what makes a strong sales enablement strategy?
For starters, a systemized, effective, and scalable strategy needs to involve coaching, peer-to-peer feedback, and ongoing training. Here’s how sales leaders can get started.
Hold Regular One-on-One MeetingsAccording to Gallup, 75 percent of the reason employees quit can be attributed to managers’ behaviors. What’s more, employees who have regular check-ins with their managers are nearly three times as likely to be engaged. These are just a few stats that show the importance of communication between managers and employees.
What are some other ways regular one-on-one meetings are crucial?
· They deliver a solution for receiving consistent performance feedback.
· They strengthen manager-rep relationships.
· They boost engagement and productivity.
· They facilitate goal-tracking.
· They foster employee recognition.
· They enable managers to quickly assign additional training.
· They actively demonstrate that employee development is valuable to your organization.
Create Individual and Team GoalsAlong with regular one-on-one meetings, make performance assessments an ongoing conversation rather than waiting until the annual review. Set up individual goals, such as annual and quarterly revenue targets or number of calls, meetings, and opportunities. Be sure to tie these goals to team or organizational goals. Then, invite your reps to share their goals and discuss how they fit into the company’s mission and objectives. Finally, track goals to keep on top of employee progress, and celebrate employee achievements when they reach milestones.
Identify Key Soft Skills and Leverage Team StrengthsIdentify your reps’ strengths and opportunities for growth in key soft skills—and help them strengthen their weak areas by leveraging your team. For example, if one rep is strong in a specific area that another employee finds challenging, invite the rep who excels to join key strategic meetings and provide feedback to peers who are struggling. Ensure everyone who needs help in weaker areas receives additional training and coaching to evolve those skills.
Create Onboarding and Certification InitiativesWhen thinking through onboarding and certification, first identify sales initiatives for your team, such as team growth, innovative methodologies, growing markets, or new products. Then, conduct a content audit on existing materials, identify any gaps, and list courses you need to create. New courses should include key message for each topics, a storyboard, and retention tools like embedded quizzes.
Start a Mentorship ProgramLeverage your team even further by pairing senior reps with new team members to serve as mentors. But don’t stop at a simple introduction. Host a meeting with the mentor and mentee to outline goals and next steps. Have both parties weigh in on what makes for an effective mentorship and establish tangible metrics.
Make sure your mentors get the support they need to share their knowledge and provide helpful feedback to their mentees. And check in with both the mentee and mentor to get feedback on how the mentorship is going and what areas need improvement. Finally, thank your mentors publicly within the organization and find other ways to show appreciation—perhaps through a mentor lunch or a certificate.
Remember that mentoring and coaching aren’t the same. Managers still need to provide ongoing coaching during regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings.
Want to learn more about building your sales enablement strategy? Check out our ebook, Sales Enablement Playbook: Train, Coach, Win, Repeat, and be sure to join us at the ATD SELL Conference.