With all the discussion we’ve had recently about developments in sales training, I couldn’t help but wonder: can sales style actually be taught? Or is it simply something that comes naturally for certain individuals? Without a doubt, there are some aspects of sales that simply cannot be taught.

Prospective sales representatives must be eager to learn about the environment in which they are selling and should have the desire to foster genuine relationships with clients.  Sales representatives should also have the confidence and motivation it takes to follow through on a sale.  Though these primary abilities can be strengthened through training, they ultimately come from within the individual. From my experience, however, there are many lessons to be learned through an effective sales training program. Some of the most important knowledge for a salesperson focuses on their particular market, including information about competitors and recurring trends, which can be taught by those with experience in the field.  This passing down of knowledge highlights the importance of peer-to-peer collaboration and mentorship within a sales team, since those in the market can pass on their time-tested techniques and knowledge to newer team members. It is also crucial that sales reps develop effective communications skills, no matter what their individual sales style may be.

With the advent of the Internet and social media, salespersons can open channels of real-time communication with clients that help foster genuine relationships (link to Sales Shift follow-up once it’s posted).  As a result, sales training that teaches best practices in social networking will pay dividends in the long run.  Social networking can also enhance sales training itself, since it provides an opportunity for team members to share information, collaborate, and build friendships. Sales training should also include lessons on the tools and technologies that team members can leverage on sales calls.  Mobile devices are some of the most important technologies for all of today’s professionals, and this is especially true in sales.  Smartphones and tablet PCs, for example, allow sales reps to keep crucial information at their fingertips, even when they are on the go.  Additionally, mobile devices allow sales training to occur in context, since training platforms can be accessed anywhere in the field. If you want to find out more about delivering effective sales training, check out Blackboard Learn for Sales to see how Blackboard and Salesforce can enhance the sales impact of your organization.

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