A significant number of newly appointed sales managers find themselves lacking a major tool when assuming the role: sales leadership training. According to our Sales Agility Assessment, 94% of companies do very little sales training. Beyond that, more than half of small and midsize businesses don’t engage their salespeople in leadership training of any kind.
A sales cycle for a salesperson is predicated on cultivating and nurturing relationships, which are strengths any sales manager should possess. That time pounding the pavement and following up on leads, however, doesn’t provide new sales managers with the leadership tools they need to be effective.
This is particularly true when quick transitions are involved. Many salespeople go from trying to close leads on a Friday to overseeing an entire sales team on a Monday, with no leadership training of any kind over the weekend. Unfortunately, those people are often fired when they fail, leaving those individuals without jobs and their organizations without some of their best salespeople.
Salespeople and sales managers are failing because their onboarding process is failing them. It’s easy to see why there is a tremendous need for effective sales training.
The Benefits of Sales Leadership Training
There are a few critical benefits of sales leadership training as well as several serious consequences that result when that training is subpar. Let’s start by covering a few of the benefits of adequate training:
1. It provides skills that direct selling doesn’t.
When great salespeople become managers, they get more than just a new job title — their whole world changes. Many new managers struggle to find the balance between being overly involved with direct sales and empowering their team members to achieve their personal sales goals without interference.
It’s natural for them to want to achieve sales goals because they have departmental goals that determine their compensation — they’re also hard-wired to close deals. Because they built their careers based on their talent for direct sales, they continue to focus on it. This is where sales leadership training becomes essential. It gives developing sales managers a way to see beyond personal sales goals to instead look at the big picture.
2. It increases the likelihood that sales teams achieve — or surpass — goals.
Effective sales leadership training also gives sales managers the skills they need to coach individuals and larger teams toward their goals. When you’re a salesperson, you’re required to bring in enough sales to achieve your quota. But as a sales manager, that isn’t the case. Instead, you have to learn how to push your team toward achieving collective departmental goals.
Leadership training teaches managers how to administer compensation plans, go on ride-along sales visits with team members, and hold people accountable. Without guidance, those aren’t skills new managers immediately gain just because they get a promotion.
3. It decreases salesperson turnover.
Salespeople need sales training tips for success. Providing them with the proper training tools and support increases their satisfaction and reduces turnover. The battle to retain employees is a serious obstacle for many businesses, with up to 20% of turnover occurring in the first 45 days of employment. To keep both employee retention and satisfaction high, sales managers must be equipped to help.
Too few companies spend an adequate amount of time onboarding new employees. In the same way new salespeople require training to excel in their jobs, incoming sales managers need plenty of training in their new roles. Companies that allocated more than 50% of their sales training budget to working with new sales managers exceeded their revenue goals by 15% more than companies that dedicated less than a quarter of their budget to training.
When sales teams feel better prepared, they come through with better production.
The Negative Consequences of Inadequate Sales Leadership Training
A team is a reflection of its leadership. In the case of sales departments, inadequate training has serious consequences:
1. It weakens morale.
Without leadership training, sales managers risk being unable to address low team morale. If they aren’t taught how to identify and resolve potentially toxic team dynamics, then the team culture can become problematic in a hurry.
2. It leads to team instability.
Good managers know the importance of having a supportive, productive, and faithful team. When they don’t have training on how to help their organizations achieve this equilibrium, they risk fostering an unstable and dysfunctional environment. This can lead to consistently high turnover.
3. It decreases business viability.
Without a successful sales team, businesses can’t survive. Effective sales leadership training prevents the harm that can come from frequent turnover, weak morale, and insufficient sales. Proper training creates leaders who can navigate the ins and outs of sales and guide their teams to success.
The Pillars of a Successful Training Program
Effective sales leadership programs should always be designed to benefit sales leaders and managers. If every element of the program is rooted in understanding and defining how to equip sales managers with the skills they need to lead teams toward their goals, it will be incredibly valuable.
Successful leadership programs will give new sales managers the strong foundation they need to create a unified vision for their teams and organizations. They’ll highlight and build on managerial skills that are necessary to inspire, lead, and motivate teams to succeed. Ultimately, these programs will empower new sales managers with the confidence they need to manage the process and move forward strategically.
More specifically, though, successful leadership training programs stand on the same three pillars:
1. They’re comprehensive.
Great sales leadership training addresses the key skills all managers need — not just a few topics. Our Sales Xceleration Certified Sales Leader program, for instance, covers 16 essential skills ranging from forecasting and onboarding to improving performance. It helps new sales managers learn how to get the best results from their teams by leading with a coaching mindset.
The best programs ensure that developing sales leaders learn advanced ways to manage and instill confidence, but they should never take a one-size-fits-all approach. Each program should be tailored to the needs of the new manager as well as the organization. New sales leaders typically sign up for or attend leadership training for different reasons, which means the training will need to be relevant to their specific needs to be effective.
2. They’re steeped in practical application.
If sales leadership programs don’t teach practical and applicable skills, new managers in attendance won’t leave with knowledge they can use. To ensure sales managers can apply these lessons in their day-to-day duties, leadership programs can use role-playing to show managers how to implement everything they’ve learned. These exercises give managers a way to practice using their new skills in a safe environment — before using them to lead and teach their teams.
Role-playing also lets trainees see how these new skills can apply to real customer situations, such as holding a sales rep accountable or coaching someone to their best performance. If they understand and have already applied these concepts well, they can more effectively teach sales representatives how to connect the dots to improve their performance, increase revenue, and get results.
3. They’re taught by experienced sales leaders.
Finally, effective sales training programs should be run by veteran sales leaders who can take trainees beyond the surface to answer in-depth questions. When people with experience teach new sales managers what they know, they can define a clear path forward based on a long history of learning and success. Experienced sales leaders are good coaches because they’ve seen enough during their careers to be able to identify weaknesses and bolster strengths.
They have already led sales teams to job satisfaction, productivity, and growth. They can teach new sales managers to incentivize their teams properly by illustrating the importance of recognition and enthusiasm. And more than anything, they’re adaptable and agile to changing environments. Because of their experience, they know that what worked last year won’t necessarily work today. They can also teach new managers how to understand the market, pricing, competition, and products and services.
The Challenges SMB Owners Face When Implementing Sales Leadership Training
Several things can hinder small business owners from having strong training programs in place. For instance, owners might not have experience providing training. In some cases, they might not know what sales leadership content their new managers need. Remember that most small business owners are in the role of a sales leader not because they’re qualified to do so but because of necessity.
Small businesses also don’t have the same resources as their larger competitors, and many struggle to stay afloat. Because they don’t rely on major investments or venture capital, sales processes have to be strong for these businesses to flourish. Their margin of error is much smaller, so they need sales leadership training, tools, and templates to be successful.
Leaders at small and midsize businesses are often forced to wear many hats. They’re involved in multiple facets of operations, including sales. As such, most find themselves answering the same three questions:
- How can I get all of this done without the time to do it?
- Can we achieve our current revenue and profitability goals?
- How do we attract — and retain — top talent?
Because it’s so important for these leaders to create and implement effective processes to increase efficiency and productivity, they need their sales managers to specialize in what they do to ensure that their sales teams are poised for success.
Executives can’t have a hand in everything, but many try their best. They want and need to spend more time growing their businesses strategically than in the weeds of day-to-day operations. Effective sales leadership training gives new sales managers the skills they need to take some work off the plates of other company leaders.
Why Sales Xceleration Is the Solution
Our sales leadership training is unique and goes above and beyond any other training available. No other program addresses the depth of content ours does, and we’re set apart by our national designation as a CSL.
The program takes place in a classroom — not virtually — which means sales managers can learn more thoroughly and more interactively. We provide them with the tools they need rather than just advice. For eight weeks, we teach 16 lessons that cover topics like understanding clients, hiring the right people, developing compensation plans, and building sales plans that effectively lead teams to their goals. We also offer the same content in a three-and-a-half-day course, allowing trainees to apply the content they learn to a mock organization.
Because our program is classroom-based, attendees can role-play, receive coaching, participate in team activities, and network. We equip attendees with tools that enable them to implement what they learned in their organizations. At the end of the lessons, they take the CSL certification exam and add it to their credentials when they pass.
The CSL program and certification offers the following benefits:
- Training by an experienced sales leader.
- Essential sales tools.
- National standing.
- One-on-one training.
- Certification exam with no extra fee.
- Free continuing education.
- Helps small and midsize businesses foster excellent sales leadership and achieve growth.
Don’t miss the opportunity to have your sales managers be part of effective sales leadership training. Our program can be a massive asset to your sales team and your business as a whole, and it can be the defining difference between failure and success. To learn more about our program, click here or contact us at 844-874-7253.
- 5 Sales Compensation Plan Mistakes that Damage Morale and Ruin Revenue - May 21, 2020
- Home is Where the Heart Is (and Where the Consulting Clients Are) - April 24, 2020
- How Effective Sales Leadership Training Delivers Results - April 21, 2020