Do you really know your target audience? Sales Training 101

I recently had a short term contract helping the head of sales onboard her new sales team.  The company where she worked was impressive.  They had literature targeted to industries, products, types of buyers, etc.  They also had 3 tiers of self-paced training classes for their sales people, depending on their level of expertise.  So why did they bring me in?  Well, their annual customer survey was saying that customers were less loyal to the company over time, because of the inexperienced sales team.  Yes, there was a new sales team, but they had everything they needed to get up to speed, right?  So why was there a problem?  Well here’s the reality.  The sales team did have a lot of information to learn from – including ten 45 minute entry level recordings, but it was just too much.  How much could those sales people realistically retain and over what timeframe?

This company was having a challenge of not understanding its target audience.  Their system was a sophisticated one, which would be very effective for an experienced sales team.  But when you are new to a company, you don’t want to get everything at once; it just becomes too much.  Instead you need to start with the basics and progress in baby steps.  So rather than offering all ten classes at once, we started holding 30 minute monthly webinars on each of the ten classes.  Each class had an agenda at the beginning with three objectives for that session.  Each subsequent slide only had six bullets with comprehensible verbal explanations, and at the end of the 30 minutes, we re-reviewed the three objectives.  Then there was a Question and Answer period to address anything that still wasn’t clear.  Only then was the recording for that session available for the sales team.  As the classes progressed, each new presentation also had a quick summary of the previous classes to reinforce the training.

Baby steps for solid learning.  That’s what this new sales team needed.  It’s also true for your customers.  So make sure that whenever you are communicating your messages, you’re sharing just enough information for the intended recipients so that it’s easy for them to digest what you are trying to say.

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