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4 Key Ingredients of Effective Customer Conversation Training

Insights on how to effectively prepare sales teams for customer conversations based on experience working with hundreds of companies and training thousands of sales people and their leaders. The most effective training sessions integrate knowledge transfer, application, skill practice, and change motivation.  Creating customized sales messaging content based on the best practices and insight of top performers will ensure the sales training program creates tangible momentum in the field.

We work with sales and marketing leaders who frequently ask, "How do we more effectively prepare our teams for customer conversations?". Sales teams are typically required to go through annual product training. Though they may survive the death by PowerPoint experience, very little is retained and even less adopted in the field. Let me share our insights from working with hundreds of companies training thousands of salespeople and sales leaders.

The first step is to think about four ingredients. The first is knowledge transfer. What do they need to know? The second application is thinking about when and where that knowledge is applied. The third is skill practice. How do they use it, and how are they doing as they practice and receive feedback in the session? The fourth aspect is change motivation. Salespeople need to be motivated by the importance of training and knowledge. As the training program builds, you can create a learning cycle that allows the session to flow through each of those four ingredients throughout your time with the sales teams.

When you think about building content, you could choose to go with an outside package training program or methodology. However, when the content is customized and launched based on the best practices of your top performers, the sales teams see the training, materials, and tools actually fit the selling strategy, solutions, and the conversations they are going to have with customers. As you bring sales teams together face-to-face, we recommend that they stay intact as a sales team with a manager at the table acting as a co-facilitator, literally coaching them on current accounts and live opportunities. It is not an event with a manual. It is a leader coaching their teams over what will likely be an 18 to 24-month transformation as they develop those skills in conversing with clients.

This approach and these recommendations are based on sound, adult learning principles conclude that the more relevant the information is, the more active the learning process. Embracing this methodology will lead to greater adoption and more effective conversations your sales team will have with customers.

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