Business is a battle fought on the frontlines by your sales channel, with the success of your company, the security of your investments and livelihoods of your staff, at stake. The right tools and products are only a small part of achieving victory. A much more important component to success is strategy. Your sales training programs must be at the core of your strategy, working to win the hearts and minds of those in your sales channel as well as the consumer.
Winning the Sales Channel
The first battle you will need to win is convincing your extended sales channel to emphasize, promote and sell your products over those of other companies. You must use the power of persuasion to show salespeople that a symbiotic relationship between your interests and theirs will reap returns for both of you. To accomplish this mission, you must focus on three crucial areas.
- Mind share: Most of the members of your sales channel are not your employees; they work for distributors that carry not just your products, but similar offerings from your competitors. The key battle in winning your sales channel is conquering mind share. This means making your product top of mind when members think about a product category or are asked for a recommendation. Sales training programs accomplish this objective through a comprehensive set of training materials that teach learners what they need to know about your product. The broad base of knowledge about your product and its features generates a level of comfort that builds mind share when those learners interact with potential buyers.
- Providing incentives: Product knowledge training is beneficial to users in its own right, but you’ll never win over your sales channel without incentives. Studies show that users are 44 percent more productive when offered incentives for their work, and companies report a nearly 80 percent success rate for new programs when they provide incentives. There are two types of incentives that are most influential for learners. First are tangible rewards, like bonuses or gift cards, which users earn as they progress through sales training programs. However, if you only focus on these rewards, users become saturated or satisfied to the point of unresponsiveness. A second set of rewards, ongoing certification or recognition, presents the best strategy for long-term incentivizing. The content drives users to stay up to date with the latest information about your products, lest they lose their certification or title.
- Profits from products: Your sales channel wants to sell great new products to clients and customers; differentiating themselves from their competitors in the distribution space. Training your sales channel before product launch, so they can begin selling right off the bat, will increase your profits and strongly position those products in the minds of your distributors before the competitive product shows up.
Winning the Consumer
Whether you are trying to win over the consumer through your own direct sales or you are using your sales channel as a proxy, sales training programs offer strategic advantages that make winning the competitive edge much easier.
- Product differentiation: Your investment in creating mind share yields a return when users of your sales training programs spotlight your products in a sea of competition. Armed with product knowledge training, users confidently discuss why your product features are superior to others and guide consumers to purchase from your company.
- Communication: The failure to communicate product features and support details to your sales channel creates the potential for disaster when consumers make a purchase. Poor product knowledge training leaves members of your sales channel to fill in gaps in their understanding on their own. Through sales training programs, you avoid the most common instances of miscommunication and eliminate headaches for your sales channel and consumers.
- Enthusiasm: Enthusiasm is the greatest tool in the power of persuasion. When consumers see members of your sales channel genuinely excited to talk about and sell your products, they become excited as well. Creating an emotional response in the consumer helps pave the way for closing the sale better than almost any other sales technique. Confidence and comfort encourage enthusiasm, and your sales training programs equip users with the information they need to build excitement.
You cannot win alone; you need the support of your sales channel to help you navigate and emerge as the dominant player. To advance your business success; supply your sales channel with the right tools, paint a picture of your strategy for members, and win them over with the power of persuasion.