Commercial efficiency
4 min reading

How to train my salespeople like high-performance athletes?

Paul Berloty
June 2022
sales team training

There are dozens of "hacks" to improve team performance.

But few teams know how to develop their skills in the long run!

Yet, sales is like tennis: can you imagine for a second that Nadal became good just by playing matches and tournaments?

He spends most of his time training, repeating the same moves until he masters them perfectly. Between each tournament, there are matches. Between each match, there are training sessions.

Yet, how many salespeople leave for a meeting with the courage to go, fail miserably, and retry the next day without the slightest improvement?

Like athletes, salespeople must repeat the same actions every day: prospecting and appointment setting, needs discovery, negotiation, objection handling, closing, etc.

  • How many times has your team actually trained to discover needs?
  • Do they know the best questioning techniques?
  • Do they know how to react in every situation they may encounter?

As you can see, I am not talking about reading an article on the subject or accompanying a junior once a year to an appointment,but about transmitting deep skills..

I know what you're thinking: ‍

"Sales can be learned on the job! That's how I did it, and it works great."

Of course, juniors learn a lot on the field. It's still the best school. But... why settle for that? Just because it works well, it doesn't mean you can't be ten times better! If your goal as a manager is to develop a team of true professionals, you will have to step up your game.

And to progress, you have to train, repeat, sometimes fail, but always and again train.

For this, I propose a simple, proven method to get you started. Here's how to implement a training culture and turn your world No. 1,378 into the Rafael Nadal of sales!

Nadal wins Roland Garros. June 2050.

1. A dedicated training slot every week

A dedicated time slot for training should be scheduled every week. At least once a week! It should become a habit that is ingrained in the daily routine. It should be an integral part of the job.

It goes without saying that attendance at training is non-negotiable. An athlete who misses a Thursday training session is not called up for the weekend game. The same should apply to salespeople.

💎 Tip: I strongly recommend including the training sessions in the job description. It is viewed favorably by candidates and demonstrates that you are committed to their skills development.

2. A specific training topic every time

There are two possibilities for choosing a topic:

  • Either you consider that one area needs to be developed as a priority, in which case that will be the topic covered.
  • Or the team defines the topics on which they feel they encounter the most difficulties, and therefore the ones they want to progress on.

💎 Tip: Modjo's managers are used to re-listening to their juniors' calls to identify the blocking points directly. Here's how internal training themes are defined.

Some examples of themes:

  • "At what point in the conversation should I start my product demo?"
  • "How do I get my prospect to admit that there is a training issue at their company?"
  • "How do I bring the decision maker back into the sales cycle?"

Your training can focus on sales techniques, market knowledge, changes in industry legislation, positioning of competitors, and so on. The topics are limitless!

💎 Tips: At the beginning of the quarter, list and plan all the topics you want to cover. Knowing in advance all the topics they will be progressing on will stimulate their interest.

3. Implement practical training scenarios

To maintain a dynamic, each training session should be conducted in a group. Start by bringing your salespeople together to...

I. Conduct role-playing exercises

As engaging as it is fun, it is a formidable training method.

It involves recreating the difficult situations encountered in the field.

🟢 Specifically: Two people stand in front of the team. One plays the role of the prospect (it could be the manager), and the other plays the role of the salesperson. Take turns having each person play the role of the salesperson and observe the different ways of approaching the same problem.

Then conduct a common analysis before retaining the best practices.

II. Re-listen to calls

🟢 Specifically: Listen as a team to excerpts of real exchanges with prospects. Simple, effective. This allows for a step back from daily situations. Also, feedback from colleagues is a gold mine of information! Even when listening to oneself, we automatically correct our mistakes. Then let the team debate the topic. The result is amazing. ;)

call replay page on Modjo for sales force training
Example of call replay with Modjo
"Ok, that sounds nice, but not sure I can motivate my team."

You're right, and it's up to you to prove to them that they have every interest in taking these games seriously, as it will help them in their job later on.

💎 Tips for motivating your team:

  • Find a way to make it fun. For example: Each member of the audience has a "buzzer" whenever the person practicing makes a mistake!
  • Offer small rewards : "I'll treat the person with the highest score to a nice restaurant."
  • Play on the salespeople's competitive spirit. Instead of putting them in competition for actual revenue (which can lead to unhealthy tendencies in some teams), transfer this motivation through these games, which will allow them to prove their level, without any real stakes.

4. Measure performances and their evolution

I'm not a fan of evaluations or tests at the end of each session.

If your practical cases are well constructed and properly animated, your teams will want to play seriously. However, I advise you once again to have your salespeople play in teams, and find a way to measure progress between each session.

‍ Explicitly define success criteria, and keep a record of each training. This will allow you to compare each performance to the previous ones. Thus, you will have material to measure the progression of each one ;)

5. Back to the real world

Beyond bonding your team, the objective remains, of course, the performances on the field, facing real clients. That's where results are really measured.

Even if they don't sell every time, failures should serve as learning for the future. The worst thing would be to repeat the same mistakes, deal after deal.

For the juniors, propose a gradual increase in skills:

‍On this meeting, your PRIMARY objective is to set up a next step with the decision-maker

It is by translating what has been done in training onto the field that results are created.

💎 Tip: Warn your team that results are rarely seen after one or two sessions. It's only after doing the exercise many times in a safe environment that one is ready and confident to do the same thing in front of real clients.

In conclusion

Since the dawn of time, animals and human beings have played games to stimulate and train themselves.

Success lies in the regularity of training and in measuring the impact of these sessions: the feeling of progress is a powerful motivator. Case studies are a lever that requires little and yields much. Don't neglect it!

Finally, if you don't yet have recording and playback tools for your client interactions, which are essential as raw material for this type of session - I invite you to contact us here, so that we can assist you on this topic.



Paul Berloty
CEO and Co-founder
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