How to Set Your Employees Up for Success
Employee skill development and training are critical components of employee retention. Along with increasing retention and making employees feel valued, good training programs can directly increase your company's revenue. Companies that devote resources to training see a 24% growth in their profit margins. Sales-based organizations, especially, have a lot to gain by strengthening their employee professional development training resources and programs.
In this quick guide, you'll see how to set your sales employees up for success by building a more targeted training program in just two steps: identifying key areas for growth and providing positive support. Let's jump in.
Identifying Areas of Growth for Employees
Before you start training employees, take the time to zero in on where your efforts will drive the most significant results. Not all salespeople need the same training programs. Entry-level sales reps may benefit from a general overview of skills tactics, while more experienced reps will benefit from more nuanced training sequences. Some employees will need to learn soft skills, while others will benefit from more training with your sales technology. All employees may also benefit from regular training about changing media, broadcasting, and marketing trends. But if your sales team attends training that doesn't address those needs, everyone loses. Your reps become less invested in your training programs, lose valuable hours they could have spent selling, and you don't see better results.
Instead, start with assessments. You might use a past quarter's or year's sales data to identify areas that need improvement. Alternatively, you could survey your reps and have them identify training areas in which they find the most value. You can also use simulations to gain a baseline understanding of each employee's skills.
Once you have this information, you can:
- Set up personalized learning goals for each employee
- Start to curate training resources that align with your team's needs
- Build in opportunities for sales reps to train during the weekday so increased training doesn't become a burden
Ways to Support Employee Skill Development
All training programs need employee buy-in to see stellar results. Align your new sales training initiatives with benefits your team is interested in. Offering a mix of incentives and creating a culture around continuous learning can strengthen your company's dynamic and overall performance.
Full-funnel training solutions are a uniquely valuable investment for companies, but only if sales reps feel investing their time and attention is valuable. Consider these options—while these are just a few ways to support employee skill development, they can provide a solid foundation for making ongoing learning and development a fundamental part of your company.
1. Offer ways to stay up-to-date with industry trends and technologies.
Sales reps in quickly changing markets know it's important to have up-to-date information that aligns with prospects' pain points. Sounding behind the times is bad for business and can quickly lose a contact's confidence. Offering full-funnel training that discusses your target customers' needs, considerations, and most pressing business demands can help salespeople quickly build relationships with people in their funnel and convert more sales.
However, many salespeople don't independently have the resources to stay informed and on top of trends. Providing those resources makes them better salespeople and positions your company as a helpful employer for future sales candidates.
2. Present new challenges and responsibilities.
Make training and learning critical components of each rep's job responsibilities rather than additional or optional tasks on top of their "real" responsibilities. For example, you can develop mentorship programs, make learning and development participation part of the workday schedule, and have assessments and one-on-ones part of your sales and training managers' ongoing responsibilities.
You can also set friendly challenges and competitions to engage your sales reps by making professional development more enjoyable for your employees. When surveyed, 41% of employees think boring programs can get in the way of learning, even if the information is valuable.
3. Provide career advancement opportunities.
The vast majority of employees —91% — want relevant training. They're looking for programs that develop their skills and help them advance along their career path. Good sales training programs that provide employees with in-depth knowledge about their niche, continually refresh and improve their selling skills, and give them strategic fundamentals instead of short-term tactics play a substantial part in achieving those goals. If participating in training ties to career advancement and internal promotion opportunities, that's a strong incentive.
It isn't just good for the employees—it's good for your organization. 76% of employees that get promoted internally become more likely to stay with your company long-term, reducing churn and the high cost of turnover.
4. Cultivate a culture of continuous learning and growth.
Getting your program started with enough employee buy-in can be hard work. However, once the program is in place and you build a company culture founded on continuous learning and development, it becomes much easier to maintain that momentum. So, focus on incentives and continually ask for feedback as you roll out your program. Then you can refine your approach and make it a solid fixture in how new hires and experienced employees operate.
5. Incentivize steps taken for skills development in sales and beyond.
This step is crucial, especially in the early stages of implementing professional development for employees. Your employees need a healthy mix of internal and external incentives for participating in training programs. Some ideas include:
- Offering certificates and badges for completing courses
- Creating new job opportunities and career tracks based on learning and growth
- Making training materials more engaging and accessible through mobile-friendly portals and micro lessons
- Providing rewards for participation and program completion
Invest in Professional Development for Employees with Navaquest
Ongoing learning and development programs are critical for sales departments, especially in niche B2B media and broadcasting fields. At Navaquest, we specialize in providing employee skill development resources and full-funnel sales training solutions. Contact us today to explore how our training solutions can fit into your organization.