Throughout the past few years, the need for digital sales training continues to grow. The most significant change we’ve observed after training salespeople from all across the media space is that all media sellers need to be knowledgeable about the latest digital developments to have a “typical” sales conversation with the “average” advertiser.
The biggest challenge in the digital space is the pace of change, which keeps accelerating, and in order to keep up, you’ve got to keep your salespeople on their toes.
That means delivering training that’s ongoing and reinforced, with content continuously being updated and refreshed. All while being measured against key performance benchmarks to ensure the sales needle moves in the right direction.
There are still salespeople out there who talk about how they were able to wing it the first few years in the business. And while it might have been possible to do that in 2010, in 2017 everyone is selling and up against competitors who are savvy and seemingly one step ahead in the digital advertising arena where data-driven ROI is the key success point. “The other guy” likely has more reach, more visitors, more measurable engagement, and possibly less expensive inventory—apart from every conceivable agency marketing service.
In this marketplace, an untrained seller has no chance. And while every ad team has at least one “rocket scientist” (or at least a really smart Digital Sales Manager), learning from the smartest person on your team is never as effective as bringing in people that are specialized trainers.
Now we know what you’re thinking…isn’t a specialized trainer expensive? The answer is no, and we’re here to show you why digital sales training is important and how you can afford it.
Wait a Minute, Can’t I Self Train?
Sure you can. I mean, essentially you’re training yourself all the time and over time, you’ll pick up more techniques and get better at speaking with confidence and even increase your overall success rate. Which is why many salespeople think they don’t need actual training.
However, self-training is one not for everyone and two not sustainable or efficient and it’s certainly not going to give you a true competitive advantage in years to come.
The only sellers who are going to consistently outshine their competition are the sellers who are equipped properly. They need to be better than the competition at aligning their offering with the advertiser’s goal to bring in the right deals at the right budget. The best-trained sellers can convert a “test” budget into a long-term relationship that equally benefits the advertiser, the publisher, and the salesperson.
Ongoing training is the key to having confident conversations. Last year’s vocabulary won’t cut it when you are having a conversation about attribution, ad safe environments, viewability, and engagement metrics. Even if a seller studied programmatic, video, and mobile 2 years ago, space has changed so much that it’s like we’re starting all over again.
The Key Benefits of Sales Training
Employee education and training are designed to give your people the proficiency and tools they need to learn new skills and refresh old ones. It’s essential in every industry to stay on top of new trends, time-saving technologies, and techniques to stay competitive. Providing training will ensure the team is effective and equipped with the tools they need. Whether the company’s output is struggling or already doing a stellar job, training will only help to increase performance and deliver a great return on investment.
It’s no secret that unhappy, disengaged, and uninspired employees will become less productive. Ensuring employee happiness with appropriate benefits and perks is only one part of the formula. Keeping them truly engaged by cultivating their specific skills further, as well as, providing education in the areas where they aim to improve, will increase their interest in their work and new projects.
Higher Retention Rates
Re-engaging employees through training and further education will not only improve their overall job performance but also their personal and professional satisfaction.
They’ll be less likely to let their eyes wander for other career opportunities since they’ve increased their skill level and hopefully intend to conquer new challenges. Investing in your company’s employees helps to show them their value, potential expertise, and the company’s focus on maintaining a long-term relationship with them. Having higher retention rates will decrease the huge costs often involved in employee turnover. Making the small additional effort to train your current employees will save your company the headache of later trying to replace them.
If your company has been expanding and adding to its staff then you’re probably already familiar with the difficult task of getting new, and existing, members up to speed. If not done properly, you may later experience many unforeseen problems and confusion. Thinking ahead and providing onboarding training to your newest employees will help eliminate future turbulence due to unclear expectations and potentially unfamiliar methods. It will also convey the company’s desire to engage with and improve upon the skills new workers bring to the table.
Elimination of the Skills Gap
Some companies have trouble finding the perfect people to fill open positions, but you can close the skills gap and help great people become the perfect fit by offering training.
Whether there’s a current employee who has shown incredible potential and just needs some more knowledge to transition into the open position or a prospective hire that’s promising if it wasn’t for their minor lack of knowledge in a certain area. Taking the time to train them can be the answer.
I mean, let’s be honest, it’s unrealistic to believe that if you’ve already been waiting for months, that if you just wait a little bit longer, the perfect, absolutely spectacular candidate will come along.
Now, you shouldn’t lower your expectations but it’s important to accept the reality that no matter who you put into the role, they may need a bit of extra assistance in an area or two.
Reduction of Skill Fade
Do you remember everything you’ve ever learned? Of course not. Even the most dedicated and skilled employees will eventually start losing grasp of things they were taught decades, years, months, weeks, or even days before.
Which is why having regular training sessions, or better yet ongoing training, can help reduce the inescapable skill fade-out phenomenon. Reinforcing previously learned material will ensure employees are always current with their knowledge and continue to increase their performance.
Still debating on why you need to invest? Consider asking yourself these questions:
- If we raise the seller’s goals, do we expect them to hit their goals without improving skills, strategies, or tactics?
- If we haven’t hit the goals that our competitors have reached, what does that say about our previous forms of training?
- If your company invested in training last year but didn’t achieve the intended results, did anyone reinforce that training or was the expectation that the effect of training would be like a tattoo on each seller’s brain?
- If last year’s skills are the best we can hope for, what will that cost us this year?
So, How Much Will Sales Training Cost Me?
Well, let’s just say it’s costing you a lot more by NOT training your sales team.
You’ve probably all seen the endless statistics and reports about employee disengagement, unemployment rates, and the seemingly unrectifiable skills gap. Maybe you yourself are feeling disengaged or seeing too much turnover and not enough qualified individuals to fill open positions.
Well, if you or your company have been putting off professional development and training for far too long, then it’s time for a change. Because realizing the importance of educating, coaching, and training employees and then actually implementing effective programs is the only way to achieve long-term company success.
While some sellers and managers may view sales training as “optional” or as a “luxury,” that thinking is short-sighted and unrealistic. Simply “checking the box” on training won’t cut it anymore. If it actually worked, then everyone would do it that way.
What it comes down to is that sales organizations must redefine what training and learning means to them. Success in sales means being prepared, nimble, and continuously developing the right skills that will have a positive impact on the entire business.
The challenge with sales training has always been how to deliver affordable, yet personalized training and coaching to an entire sales team with different needs and skill levels.
Training should be about you and your unique needs.