With the economic recovery now considered to have taken a firm hold, businesses are enjoying greater opportunities to reach new customers and markets. The prospect of increased volumes of trade are exciting but to take full advantage of the developing economic context requires a skilled sales and marketing team ready and able to engage new sources of business. This is a time where more of the same just will not suffice – competition is rife and without innovative approaches to promoting the business, rival firms could have the edge. Help is at hand though. Partnering with a professional training organization to develop a program which meets the needs of your company is the ideal way to give your team the tools vital for increased sales success. Follow these simple steps and watch your sales and marketing team transform your bottom line.
Identify the Starting Line
If you already have a sales and marketing team in place then the good news is that you don’t have to start with a blank page. Taking some time to work with the existing team to identify their strengths and areas for development will ensure that the sales training they receive is tailored to their specific requirements. This will maximize the effectiveness of the sales training and mean they spend less time away from their operational activities.
Several tools are available which can help measure the existing marketing capability within the company. The Chartered Institute of Marketing provides a number of frameworks which help quantify competence in areas such as digital marketing, sales, innovation and leadership. These tools can give an indication of the areas where skills gaps exist and allow you to prioritize the subsequent training. Completing all this paperwork can seem a little daunting and requires time and expertise which some businesses just don’t have at their disposal. Getting help from a professional sales training company which specializes in sales and marketing skills development can therefore deliver a faster route to identifying these skills shortfalls and ensure that the resulting sales training product is accurately pitched.
Targeting the Sales Training
Once you have identified the skills gaps which exist in your company, it’s time to find the right solutions. Although each company will have their own particular needs, it is likely that common themes will emerge. Three key areas which often come up are:
– Direct marketing – Potential customers are contacted via email, letters, or by phone. This can be helpful in reaching clients who would not normally come into contact with your business. Sales Training can help teams come up with innovative approaches to direct marketing, reinvigorating their enthusiasm for this well established method.
– Online display advertising – Buying advertising space on websites, usually a banner, is popular, and can be effective if correctly targeted. Skills enhancement programmes can ensure sales and marketing teams are up to speed with the latest methods of identifying and securing appropriate channels.
– Social media marketing – Increasingly popular, the objective is to build a following for your brand on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc. This area of new media can be a bit of an unknown quantity to established sales and marketing teams and so is often a key focus for training.
Determine the Ideal Delivery Method
Only you will know what can work in your company in terms of the best method of delivery – workshops, seminars and online training all have their place. Take into account the size of your company and how long it can continue to operate effectively while employees are receiving training. Another option is to train one key individual – a train the trainer scenario – and then allow them time to cascade the information to other team members. Much will depend on the individuals involved and their aptitude and ability to undertake this important role.
Some companies also use the sales training experience to reflect on other mechanisms to enhance their sales and marketing functions. Having a team in place which understands the product and customer requirements is an essential in-house function, but many other associated marketing tasks such as emailing, content marketing and copywriting can be effectively outsourced. This can give the sales and marketing team, particularly in a smaller company, the breathing space to develop and implement growth strategies and integrate customer service best practice within their operations.
Whatever route you choose in terms of enhancing your sales and marketing function, be assured that the decision to do so could be what makes the difference between the company surviving and thriving. In the words of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak,
“Publicity is crucially important…Marketing is the most important thing.”