Sales training programs are crucial to every organization because they immediately impact revenue. And when done right, sales training can help improve the performance of your sales reps, close more deals and drive more revenue.
Not just that, practical sales training can improve confidence and productivity, and push your sales reps to succeed in the competitive sales landscape. Like in any employee training program, you must pick the right sales training topics for your reps.
If you're looking for relevant, performance-boosting sales training topics, you're in the right place. Let’s look at this research-backed list of top sales training topics you must know in 2023.
1. Pipeline management
Pipeline management involves monitoring and analyzing the various stages of your sales funnel to ensure that leads move through the pipeline efficiently.
Without effective pipeline management, opportunities can be lost, and revenue can suffer.
Your reps should understand the different processes involved in pipeline management and have clear next steps for moving leads from one stage to the next.
Including pipeline management in the onboarding or your annual sales training process will definitely be worth the effort. Your reps will be able to identify potential bottlenecks and make data-driven decisions. This will ultimately help them close more deals and drive revenue.
2. Competitor & market research
Research is a sales training topic that's often overlooked. You might assume it's a skill that salespeople are naturally always good at. However, that’s not entirely true.
Regular competitor research and industry trends research are skills that teams need to acquire.
Today, there are hundreds of research tools available in the market. You need to equip your sales staff with the knowledge of the right research tools and techniques to comprehend the data they can gather from these tools.
By staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends and competitor activity, your sales reps can tailor their sales strategies, improve the messaging and create better sales proposals. This will help them resonate with your target audience and gain a competitive advantage.
3. Defining ideal customer profile
Defining your ideal customer profile (ICP) is a key step in developing a successful sales strategy. This step will enable your sales reps to tailor your messaging and approach to better resonate with them and ultimately drive more sales.
Unlike the common misconception, creating an ICP is not something you do just once.
4. Digital marketing techniques & sales tools
Leveraging digital marketing techniques and tools is an essential part of the sales process. Hence, it is imperative that you include this in the list of sales training topics for new salespeople, as well as seasoned ones.
You should include digital marketing topics such as cold email marketing, social media prospecting, marketing automation, etc. Pick digital marketing topics that are highly relevant to sales processes.
Similarly, training your sales team on sales tools can help them with prospecting, intelligence gathering, outreach, and automation.
5. Prospecting and Outreach
Prospecting and outreach are key components of any successful sales strategy, and the strategies keep evolving with time. Hence, including these topics in your sales training is a no-brainer.
You should consider including topics such as cold email marketing, LinkedIn cold outreach, Twitter outreach, etc. Training on prospecting and outreach tools such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator can be an added plus.
6. Social Selling and Sales Automation
Social selling involves leveraging social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram to build relationships with potential customers and drive sales.
Sales automation, on the other hand, involves using software tools to automate repetitive sales tasks that fill up the reps’ time.
Both are critical components of modern sales strategies and hence are great topics that should be a part of your sales training programs.
You can train your sales staff on different social selling tactics, including outreach messaging, posting on LinkedIn, online events, social relationship management, etc.
Similarly, you can also offer training on sales automation tools such as LinkedIn scheduler, email marketing tools, funnel builders, landing page tools, etc.
Technology today is easier to use and you no longer need technical knowledge. As a result, sales reps are increasingly using marketing tools to acquire customers directly.
7. Using AI for sales
AI is the next big thing; your sales team needs to learn how to leverage it to their advantage. AI transforms the sales industry with insights into customer behavior and preferences, predicting customer needs, and recommending personalized solutions.
With AI tools like ChatGPT, sales reps can get real-time insights and personalized recommendations to tailor their sales pitches, scripts and proposals.
To get started with AI for sales, you can train your reps on the right prompts to use these AI tools to their advantage.
AI tools can help your reps improve their lead nurturing strategies, reduce response times, and even improve conversions by optimizing the copy to create better landing pages.
8. Lead qualification
Lead qualification determines whether a potential customer fits your product or service well. By qualifying leads effectively, sales reps can prioritize their efforts and focus on the most promising leads.
To qualify leads effectively, you can train your salespeople to identify the right target audience. Then, you can train them to use a lead scoring system to assign values to each lead based on their fit with your ICP and their level of engagement with your brand.
With a sophisticated qualification system, you can then also teach your sales reps to recognize lost leads and reactivate them. This way, sales budgets are used more efficiently and the results increase with the same effort
9. Cold calling
Cold calling was and is still an effective way to generate new leads and build relationships with potential customers.
While cold calling may not be as popular as it once was, it can still be a valuable part of your sales strategy if done correctly. Hence, empowering your sales team with the right cold-calling skills can be a huge win for your business.
Sales reps must prepare carefully and approach each call with a clear value prop. It's important to research the prospect beforehand, understand their pain points, tailor the pitch and ask the right sales questions to close more deals.
10. Online presentations & webinars
Online presentations and webinars are powerful tools for sales reps to connect with potential customers and demonstrate the value of their products or services. With the rise of remote work and virtual events, webinars are an increasingly popular way to engage with prospects and provide them with valuable information.
Train your sales team on the importance of thorough preparation and delivering a clear message. You can also enable them to use webinar tools, create a slide deck, practice delivery, anticipate questions and gather audience video testimonials.
11. Identifying customer needs & improving listening skills
Every sales employee has to communicate comfortably with customers. They need to understand client wants, pain points, objections, etc.
You can offer training on effective listening skills that involve paying close attention to what the prospect is saying and actively seeking to understand their perspective. You can also include advanced topics such as conducting buyer persona interviews.
Reps can uncover important information and tailor their sales approach to the customer's needs by asking open-ended questions and using active listening techniques. This can be key to effective lead nurturing and converting them later on their customer journey.
12. Perfecting sales pitches
Sales pitches can make or break your sales. And they're usually iterative, so you can fine-tune the script as the sales reps start tounderstand the customers better.
You can train your reps to communicate the value proposition clearly to hit the bullseye each time. You can also ensure that your reps can tweak the pitches for different platforms, such as:
- Cold emails.
- B2B sales on LinkedIn.
- PR pitching on cold calls.
Other skills include speaking confidently and clearly, using visuals and other supporting materials effectively, and anticipating and addressing potential objections from the prospect.
13. Handling objections & rejections
Even the best sales reps will occasionally face objections or rejections from prospects. The key to handling these situations is to remain calm, listen carefully to the prospect's concerns, and constructively address them.
Training your salespeople on these topics is important because these aspects define your company’s reputation. Plus, there is always a chance that these prospects will convert. Make sure that your reps are prepared to handle common objections and have responses ready.
14. Closing deals
Closing a deal is the ultimate goal of any sales process. So it's no surprise that it's the most challenging part.
Closing requires careful planning, effective communication and the ability to handle resistance. Sales reps must be able to recognize buying signals and know how to use closing techniques to bring the deal to a successful conclusion.
You can train your sales staff on practical follow-up methods and some of the effective closing techniques, such as the assumptive close, the summary close, and the urgency close.
In conclusion, sales training is a continuous process that every organization should prioritize to stay ahead of the competition. In 2023, sales teams need to keep up with the changing times by adopting digital technologies, AI, and other tools to enhance their sales strategies.
Use tools like Scribe to amplify your training program by turning any process into a step-by-step guide, so its easier than ever for your reps to understand how to do these processes and use your tools.
Sales reps need to be equipped with the right skills to meet the demands of modern-day customers. By investing in these 14 sales training topics, your organization can stay ahead of the curve and achieve your sales targets while providing value to your customers.
Eduard Klein is an International Digital Growth Marketer, Blogger, and Entrepreneur with a global mindset. He guides through the process of starting and growing a digital business, and riding the wave of digital technology and marketing without getting swept away.