SalesWorks Blog

Why training your reps is more important now than ever before

Building pipeline during this unprecedented time requires different skills from SDRs, compared to how it was before. That’s why it’s essential that sales leaders invest in formal training. Let’s find out more.

At time of writing, the UK is a week into the Coronavirus lockdown. Schools are shut, we can’t leave our homes unless it’s for essentials or exercise, and we don’t know when it will end. On top of this, most of us are still working. SDRs find themselves taken away from their vibrant office atmosphere, confined to making calls from their kitchen table.

If you’re an SDR and your struggling, it’s understandable. However, if you’re a sales leader, it’s essential to recognise that building pipeline from home demands a different skillset. You can’t just tell them to get on with it and expect things to be the same. You’ll get left behind.

Last week, I took part in a webinar with Matt Iovanni from FullFunnel about how to succeed as a home-based SDR. You can watch it here. We talked a lot about demand generation tactics that reps and leaders can implement now, but what I really wanted to concentrate on is training your teams.

Formality

We put out a poll on whether companies have a formal training programme. By formal training, I mean something that is documented and followed up on, not just part of your Monday morning sales team meeting.  We also asked whether they have increased or decreased training during this time, or kept it the same.

We found that while 50% had increased training, the other 50% had kept it the same. 

Formal training is so important for three reasons:

  • It keeps teams motivated, engaged, productive and positive
  • It gives your teams the tools to shift their perspective, lead with empathy and provide value – essential in the current environment
  • You can upskill your SDRs on prospecting – essential with the increased focus on outbound

How can you retarget your training so it gives your reps the skills they need during this challenging period? There are three pillars you should consider.

1 – Investment

We still want our reps to be productive from home, even though we recognise that we need to change our approach. Maximise the time that you have now to refine and build on skill sets through virtual workshops and learning. 

Build an ongoing coaching and training plan based on these specific areas, taking into account the reality of the situation we face today, not how they prospected six weeks ago:

  • If you need to, pivot your teams from inbound to outbound
  • Leverage gamification – it will help you drive CRM usage. Keep up with incentives
  • Invest in medium-term growth – look at sharpening skills at the top of the funnel

2 – Behaviour

According to GlobalWebIndex research, 80% of buyers have changed their behaviour as a result of the current crisis. The way we build relationships, co-create value and negotiate has changed too. Salespeople need to adapt their behaviour. The skills you were using six weeks ago might not work anymore.

Most companies are not reporting a reduction in productivity, but they are monitoring it closely. When we recover from this unprecedented period, we want to be in a position where we are able to proactively address the pent up demand. 

Formal training is what will help you succeed, now and then.

3 – Messaging

Some companies are scaling back their communication and advertising in the fear that it will fall on deaf ears, but in my opinion, it’s time to scale up. Soon, we’re going to get fatigued with all the virus stories, so work on your personas, branding, positioning and messaging. Be known for quality, empathy and volume. 

From a training point of view, now is the time to employ coaching technology. Listen to real calls. Look at the traits of the top performers and identify common development areas.

Find out more

We hope that the current Coronavirus crisis will be solved soon and that we can return to something approaching normality. But until then, we must continue to get our message out there and fill those pipelines.