Upskilling your Sales & Marketing Team and Unlocking Their Potential: Training vs. Consultancy – which one do you need?
External circumstances are ever-changing, and it’s vital for businesses to survive and keep up with competitors. You need to respond to such changes by developing the best teams to produce strong results. Training your Sales and Marketing teams can be an effective way to improve the bottom line. It can increase employee, team and company productivity and performance. Before you invest in training your Sales and Marketing teams, it’s vital to consider some key factors.
Read the full article to learn how to identify who should receive training, which training methods to use and whether training or consultancy is the best approach.
Sales and Marketing training
Your Sales and Marketing teams are pivotal to your business, and they overlap a lot. Whether you treat them as separate entities will depend on your internal structure. Regardless though, it’s essential that they compliment each other. Investing in training for these teams will show commitment to them. It also demonstrates their importance to the company, both of which may improve employee morale. Specific Sales or Marketing training should improve productivity by introducing techniques to manage workload and time efficiently. Training will provide a competitive advantage because your people will understand their market, their customers and will offer enhanced knowledge and customer service.
The wider benefits
In terms of company-wide benefits, your Sales and Marketing teams are responsible for attracting customers and developing relationships, without which the company would not survive. Therefore, well-performing Sales and Marketing teams benefit the rest of the company in terms of profitability, motivation and growth. Effective training should also reduce employee turnover, which is hugely important to keep recruitment and training costs down.
Quality training is essential
There’s no point putting all members of your Sales or Marketing teams through training if it’s not appropriate: it will just be a waste of time and money. One study of over 2000 companies showed that only 9% of the respondents rated their sales training as ‘exceeding expectations’. 53% believed their training ‘required improvement’. However, those companies whose training exceeded expectations, experienced a 3% increase in their Sale reps achieving their target as opposed to the companies whose training met expectations. They experienced an 8% increase compared to those who required improvement. Similarly, those companies who exceeded expectations had higher win rates of new business. They were also more able to align solutions to the needs of the customer and had a lower Sales force turnover.
Ensure the Right training
It’s essential to ensure the right training for it to be effective. You can use a simple skills matrix to evaluate each individual in the team against their specific role. The matrix will identify their strengths, skills gaps and specific development areas and therefore team development needs. You can then identify who needs training and what type might be appropriate. Training is not a one approach fits all: it will need to be tailored to suit the individuals.
Types of training
- On the job
One study found that 50% of respondents believed that on the job training was the most effective form of training for development. This training approach can be an effective way for new starters to learn Sales or Marketing techniques through observation and real-life shadowing. Such training can be carried out anytime and does not require team members to go offsite. It’s just important to ensure that the individuals the learner is shadowing are approachable and able to answer questions and demonstrate good practice.
- 1 to 1 training
Your skills matrix will identify strengths and gaps in the team so that you can utilise this information into training. For example, if you have a person in your Marketing team who is strong at writing press releases or proposals, they could work closely with someone who has gaps in this area to train them on the job. It may also be beneficial for cross-training so that someone from Marketing works alongside someone from Sales.
- External training
A team member may require specialist training if they lack a specific skill required for success in their role. For example, an external training company will offer courses in negotiations skills or other specific skills. It might be that there is more than one person who requires such training who can also attend to keep costs down.
Online or eLearning training is effective because it allows employees to be responsible for their training and complete modules when they can. It can be used regardless of experience and skill level, as there will be different levels available. It provides instant access from most locations and will be cheaper than external training. Another benefit of online training is that it can often be customised to specific companies and managers can check and track progress.
- Group training
On occasion, it may be necessary to hold a team training session. This might be to introduce new products or for a team building event. It’s important to keep the sessions short and infrequent because it’s not effective to regularly have all the team on a training course at once.
Regardless of the type of training the employee participates in, it’s important for managers to invest time in follow-up sessions. These don’t have to be long meetings, but a time for the employee and manager to discuss the training. They can also investigate how the training has impacted performance, what benefits it is bringing and whether more training is required.– Rachael Simpson – Content Labs
What about consultancy?
There might be reasons why training your team is not enough to deliver the results required for optimal performance. It might be that due to restructuring you have a new team and you don’t know how to grow their potential into new business. Consultancy involves an external consultant coming in and reviewing your current team. They may do this with a performance benchmark analysis and then provide recommendations. Such recommendations may include a plan of action to effectively and quickly implement improvements or ways to restructure or train the team.
It costs money to invest in training and take members of the Sales and Marketing teams from their roles. However, if the right training is identified and carried out, it can lead to better performance. It can also benefit the rest of the company. If carried out properly, effective Sales and Marketing training will be repaid in terms of enhanced performance and productivity.
Whatever the training approach both teams should have the same goal: to increase brand awareness, customers and profits.
If you have a requirement for training or consultancy in your team, get in touch today.