December 11, 2020

6 Characteristics of an Effective Sales Training Platform

It’s fair to say sales is an art as well as a science. Some people simply have an innate knack for dealmaking. However, that inherent talent isn’t the norm since most skilled sales agents started as novices and honed their talents over time. 

This isn’t a bad thing. As a sales manager, it’s important to recognize that you have a better chance of slowly but steadily building a talented sales team with the help of a strong sales training platform than you do of hitting home runs on every hire and creating an elite group out of sheer luck. An effective platform of this kind will be central to your onboarding process and ultimately critical to the success of your sales reps and your business as a whole. Contrarily, a subpar platform can actively detract from the operational efficiency and performance of the sales department. 

In this post, we’ll review six of the most important features that should distinguish a powerful sales training platform and produce serious bottom-line benefits for your organization.

1. Your platform must be collaborative.

Generally speaking, the various departments within any organization don’t operate in silos separate from their counterparts. If that is the case, there’s likely a bigger problem at hand. 

Sales is extremely dependent on collaboration with complementary teams. Marketing and production, in particular, provide significant support: The product development team, of course, makes sure there’s something to sell. Meanwhile, the content that marketers create — videos, email campaigns, social posts, blogs, brochures, case studies, graphics, whitepapers and so on — engage buyers so that a sale is possible. Even IT plays a role, keeping your e-commerce page and mobile applications up and running. 

If these segments of the company factor into sales as a whole, it naturally follows that a high-performing sales training platform should be integrated with software used by those other departments. Marketing content can help novice agents get a sense of the organization’s brand and messaging, while integration with CRM platforms provide a better perspective on the customer experience.

2. It must feature a vast content library.

We’ve already mentioned the value of content in the context of sales training, but it’s just about impossible for us to overstate its importance. 

The content library within your training platform must be vast and comprehensive. It should include not only marketing and sales collateral from current campaigns, but also material from the organization’s past: Sometimes, the best way to impart a lesson that’s relevant to a current sales drive is to contrast it with approaches from the past, even if those weren’t successful. A well-rounded onboarding experience for a new hire should involve learning about both wins and losses. 

3. It must support your sales training program.

Not all of the elements of the onboarding processes you follow for new sales agents need to be virtualized — there must be room for workshops and informational sessions where you discuss the interpersonal aspects of sales in real time. But as a sales manager, you know there’s only so many hours in the day, and you can’t spend all of them on training. 

A platform that effectively and efficiently supports your sales training program must be designed so that agents who are still getting used to the organization can complete certain exercises themselves. Training courses, quizzes and “homework” assignments should be easy for your rookies to self-administer. Ideally, they should also be able to interact with one another and provide feedback on sample pitches and other exercises.

4. It needs tools for personalization and data analytics.

Data is essential to sales (not to mention most other organizational processes in today’s tech-driven world). Because you have clear goals for each onboarding class, doesn’t it make sense to quantify those goals with data that tracks key performance indicators?

The specific metrics you follow will vary based on the nature of your business. You should focus on how long it takes your new hires to complete various assignments, their performances on quizzes or tests, their engagement with supplementary content and so on. When you’re using a training program to refresh the skills of more established agents, you’ll be more likely to zero in on how the re-training helps improve win rates, shorten the sales cycle and boosts quota attainment. The platform you use should support analytics that measure all of these KPIs and any others important to your business.

5. It should place a focus on individual, trackable coaching. 

No two sales agents are alike, at least not in terms of how they individually make sales on a case-by-case basis. As such, your sales training platform must account for the differences between agents and allow you to determine training or coaching regimens based on the specific strengths and weaknesses of every seller. The solution should also track individuals’ performance data on a granular level. 

6. It must allow for seamless delivery of virtual training.

The modern work environment is always evolving. As organizations become more comfortable with the idea of partially or fully remote operations, the solutions employees use to accomplish essential functions must be adaptable to this new reality. This is as true for your sales training platform as it is for any other software: The platform should function just as effectively in a remote capacity as it would in the traditional office, with sales agents able to receive exercises and other critical content no matter where they are.

The cutting-edge sales enablement solution from Showpad is ideal for all of these functions and more, serving not only as your one-stop shop for all things sales enablement, but training and coaching as well. 

To learn more or request a demo, get in touch with us today!