To crush your sales goals month after month, hiring the best sales representatives alone — whether remote or in-house — won’t cut it. It’s important to invest in proper and permanent employee training to equip your employees with the skills, knowledge and abilities necessary to get the job done. Most business owners, HR managers and heads of sales see employee training as an avenue to cut costs — rather than an investment for their business growth.
Instead, businesses should look at employee training as an opportunity to boost sales, in turn increasing revenue. After all, when your employees have the proper training, you can rest assured they’re producing the best quality work for your business. Let’s take a deep dive into the importance of training employees.
Why Your Business Depends on Employee Training
Sometimes, businesses avoid quality training because they believe their employees will eventually leave. However, adopting the mindset that your employees will stick around for a long time will enable you to train them better. Plus, most employees like knowing their employers want to invest in them.
Increasing the knowledge base of all employees leads to higher productivity, meaning they can help you crush your sales goals in the long run. Plus, the more sales training you give them, the more likely they’ll be able to close even the trickiest of sales. Here are five benefits of investing in employee development for your sales team.
1. Increases Employee Productivity and Work Satisfaction
A well-trained sales representative possesses more skills and brings more productivity to the job. Providing the right development program for your employees increases their knowledge about your industry, products and customers. Their newfound expertise boosts their competence and confidence at their job. In a similar fashion, confident employees are happy, enjoy greater work satisfaction and are self-driven.
All of these benefits translate to a stronger emotional attachment — employee engagement — to your company and the drive to work toward your business goals. Employees who are engaged in their workplace show 21% more productivity than those who are disinterested or disconnected. That should be enough reason to pursue employee training for your sales department.
2. Boosts Your Sales and Business Revenue
It’s no secret that employees who are well-versed in their jobs provide high-quality services and support to your customers. Investing in an employee development plan provides your employees the skills and knowledge necessary to serve and delight your customers. Happy customers will buy now, come back to buy more and recommend you to friends and family. These interactions translate to a positive brand image, increased sales, higher conversions and business revenue.
For your sales team, investing in the best sales tools and training your employees increases their ability to convert more sales opportunities and build lasting relationships with your clients and prospects. In fact, over half of employees who report effective training close over 50% of the sales opportunities they encounter.
3. Leads to Greater Employee Retention
Employee training increases employee engagement — and highly engaged employees are less likely to jump the metaphorical ship. With the average cost of rehiring standing at about $4,129 and taking as long as 42 days, keeping a sales representative is smarter and more cost-effective than hiring a new one.
Also, investing in employee development programs provides a clear career development path for your employees and increases their confidence about their future in your company. Many employees who leave do so because of unsupportive management and the absence of development opportunities.
With the right training of employees, new workers learn the ropes of their job and get up to speed in a short time. As a result, your business can keep running smoothly. There will always be hiccups when integrating new team members, but when you take the time to train them correctly, you won’t have to face nearly as many hurdles. Additionally, businesses who make it known that they invest in top training methods look better to future prospects.
4. Prepares Your Employees for the Future
Effective employee training positions your employees at the cutting edge of innovation in your industry, preparing them for changes that could affect their job performance and productivity. For example, providing continuous training on artificial intelligence (AI) equips your sales representatives to harness the power of AI to drive more sales for your business.
Keep in mind that 85% of future jobs don’t exist yet. A proper employee training program empowers your employees to take advantage of emerging technologies to drive more results for your business. It also eliminates their fear of being replaced by machines, instead making them excited and positioned to use these innovations to ensure the continuity of your business without the need to hire new talents.
5. Helps Overcome Competition
Having the best product or service offering alone doesn’t get the job done anymore. You need highly trained employees to peddle your products in ways your competitors don’t. In a crowded and competitive market, highly trained and competent employees are your greatest weapon in staying profitable and ambitious.
More than ever before, your customers have more buying options. Only companies that provide high-quality products and services on top of wonderful customer support will be able to compete. If you want to go above and beyond the other players in your field, taking the time to invest in your sales employees will give you a leg up.
How Poor Employee Training Impacts Business Results
To drive home the importance of training employees, it helps to know what happens if you neglect to train your employees.
Here are four obstacles you may face without an efficient employee training program:
- Low productivity and performance: Poorly trained sales representatives operate without proper awareness of your products, industry and customers. This lack of knowledge translates to ineffective sales calls and interactions with your customer. As a result, those employees will make fewer sales.
- Less company returns: It’s important to note that disinterested, untrained employees cost your company money. That’s because they lack the skills needed to close sales and pull in new customers. If your employees can’t answer a question or make a recommendation, customers will likely turn to other businesses — and may even leave negative reviews that impact how other people view your company.
- High employee turnover: Employees often leave companies when there’s a lack of opportunities for career development. Poor employee training leads to low employee engagement — and unengaged employees are more likely to leave. This trend creates high turnover rates, which can influence recruiting pools when you go to hire replacements. For many candidates, high turnover rates are a red flag.
- Reduced work satisfaction: If your employees don’t have the tools and knowledge needed to get the job done, they’ll likely become frustrated and stressed. These emotions can create a tense work environment, which isn’t pleasant for anyone. When employees go home unhappy, you feel the repercussions as a business.
Ultimately, neglecting to train your sales employees impacts nearly every part of your business. A lack of training can make workers feel unsatisfied, which impacts their productivity and the quality of their work. As a result, your customers and clients will feel unappreciated, so they may take their business elsewhere. On the other hand, those feelings of unfulfillment affect how long employees will stay at their jobs. If you have a high turnover rate, you’ll have to spend more time hiring new employees — and the selection of new hires will likely be limited, as many professionals see high turnover rates as a sign of poor work culture.
When to Begin Training Employees
Now that you know the importance of employee training, you’ll want to ensure your training program will be effective. After all, there’s no point in spending resources on training if the results don’t help your company and your employees grow. Let’s take a look at a few points to remember when outlining employee training.
1. Your Training Has a Goal
Don’t create a training program just because. Ensure there’s a specific problem the training will solve. For example, a high-ticket closing training will be more useful if you have a high-ticket product rolling out in the next few weeks or months. Without a specific purpose, your training will hold no water, your employees will forget what they learned and your company won’t be making any progress with the training.
2. Your Company Culture Welcomes Change
Before designing an employee training program, ensure your current work structure will embrace the changes with wide arms. Does your work culture welcome new developments? If the concept of employee development seems like too much of a jump for your sales department, you should first focus on restructuring your company’s culture. Afterward, you should be ready to introduce training concepts to employees who will run with them.
3. Your Company Structure Supports the Outcome of the Training
The way you work must support the outcome of the training. For example, an employee training program to reduce stress during work hours will be of no use if you don’t incorporate breaks into work schedules and employees are given tasks beyond what they can handle. The saying “practice what you preach” applies to this situation. Be prepared to have actionable changes attached to the training program so everyone can reap the benefits.
Good Employee Training vs. Poor Employee Training
How do you differentiate good employee training from poor employee training? While a poor employee training program is structureless and haphazard, here are five characteristics of good employee training to help you make the best of your employee training program:
- Good employee training starts with a training needs assessment: Effective training starts with figuring out what’s lacking, so you teach the right skills to the right people. Do as much research as possible beforehand to ensure you don’t waste your time.
- Good employee training has a clear purpose: Effective training programs start with a clear purpose directly tied to a business outcome. Always keep your goals in mind so you achieve the correct results.
- Good employee training is full of demonstrations: Real-life demonstrations of the concepts taught in the training helps your employees see the concept in action and give them something to relate to when they face similar scenarios at work.
- Good employee training includes real-life practice: Well-organized training isn’t all talk and materials. Employees must put the new skill to practice during the training to give them hands-on experience.
- Good employee training is fun and informative: Make learning fun for your employees by designing training with pictures, diagrams, videos, speakers and more. Infusing fun into learning makes training less tedious and increases knowledge retention.
- Good employee training provides consistent feedback: Employees participating in the training must receive constant and constructive feedback on their application of the new skill during the training.
- Good employee training is easy to access at any time: Your employees must be able to reference training materials anytime. Creating e-courses comes in handy, so you may want to set up an internal website where everyone can access what they’ve learned.
- Good employee training provides post-training reminders: Your employees may forget what they learned during the training. Post-training reminders ensure your employees recall and continue to use their new skills and knowledge.
Have the mindset that you’re creating a permanent training program you’ll continuously adjust.
Why Ongoing Training Is Important
Employee training has gone beyond weekend retreats with your sales team or a workshop for your sales representatives. To be effective and provide continuous value, employee training must be consistent and permanent.
Things change every day — new tools and techniques emerge and your customers’ buying preferences evolve as circumstances around them shift. For example, COVID-19 sent the demand for some consumer products crashing to the ground. To ensure business flow, competitiveness and profitability, sales representatives of such products must be trained on new ways to bring in the sales.
What’s the bottom line? Your employees are only as good as you train them. Essentially, your training programs should be as dynamic as the market. An ongoing and consistent learning program ensures your employees are up to date on recent trends and best practices in your field. Then, they’ll have the tools they need to get the job done more efficiently.
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