SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Top Sales Training Best Practices Successful Managers Follow

Sales training is one of the most important investments most companies make, because it allows them to close the gap between current performance and potential performance. Nevertheless, around 80 percent of respondents to a recent study by the Rain Group Center rated their own training as being between average and poor.

Here, we take a look at some of the best sales training practices the most successful managers follow.

Use of Simulation or Role-Playing

Many organizations still utilize classroom-based, instructor-led training, which can be incredibly effective. However,Sales Training it is important to balance it with practical learning as well.

Without applying learned information quickly, most expenditure on corporate training is wasted, because unfortunately people forget new information extremely quickly. Precisely how much knowledge is lost - and how quickly - is difficult to say, as studies vary significantly, but most agree that the majority of information is lost within a week.

"Role-playing [also] provides a safe environment to encounter [new] scenarios for the first time, which builds confidence in team members that can help them in their day-to-day roles," explains John Buelow, executive vice president of the Shapiro Negotiations Institute.

Sales Coaching and Reinforcement

Successful sales training requires newly acquired sales skills to be reinforced regularly, or else staff revert to old habits, and coaching is one of the best solutions. For this reason, coaching is often one of the most important things for a sales manager to learn and is a key component of most sales management training programs.

Yet, many sales managers continue to neglect their coaching responsibilities. Indeed, the CSO Insights 2016 Sales Best Practices Study revealed that just 32 percent of sales managers are currently spending sufficient time on coaching. In companies performing to a world-class standard, however, this figure rises to 88 percent.

A structured coaching program will allow leaders to work closely with staff to highlight issues, set targets and ensure new skills are put into practice. Meanwhile, reinforcement literature should also be made available. According to Aberdeen Group, 20 percent more reps achieve quota when post-training reinforcement is implemented.

Technology and Mobile-Friendliness

Finally, the most successful managers know that technology can be utilized to significantly improve both the quality of training and its results. In truth, technology can be deployed in an almost limitless number of ways, ranging from the use of virtual instructors in classroom settings, to bite-size video content.

One growing technology trend in corporate training has been the gamification of the learning process and eLearning Industry report that gamification features, such as the ability to progress to different levels, choose a difficulty setting, etc. can lead to a nine percent increase in retention rates. Meanwhile, adult learners who participated in gamified e-learning experiences scored 14 percent higher in skills-based knowledge assessments.

Furthermore, technology can be used to make learning a mobile experience. By ensuring that learning materials are available to access and use on mobile devices, sales skills can be improved even while outside the workplace, learning can become part of staff members' daily routines, and information can be reinforced on the go.

Conclusion

When it comes to delivering high-quality sales training, or sales management training, it is not just the quality of the information that matters, but the quality of delivery and follow-up. In particular, it is important to give staff the opportunity to put new information into practice quickly, to reinforce and personalize learning through coaching, and to make use of technology to improve all aspects of your training program.

Author Bio:

Monika Götzmann is the EMEA Marketing Director of Miller Heiman Group, a global sales training and customer experience company. It specializes in providing exceptional sales coaching and helps organisations develop business strategies to achieve sales success. Monika enjoys sharing her insight and thoughts to provide better sales and service training.

Tags:
Continue reading
405 Hits

Ken and Keith Redo with Channel EQ

Ken and Keith Redo with Channel EQ

It’s been too long since I caught up with Ken Thoreson and Keith Lubner. We’ve teamed in numerous initiatives over the years. I was pleasantly surprised to hear of their latest entrepreneurial endeavor, Channel EQ. Essentially Ken and Keith are pivoting a lifetime of sales, business and technology content into an Adaptive Partnering curriculum for channel organizations (vendors, distributors, etc.). It’s a smart move in a transformative time.

Let me put vendor enablement training in context. I speak with a lot of non-partisan, independent SMB channel thought leaders each month. This past week I had a confidential conversation with one well-known figure who offered that the population of resellers is declining even faster than predicted. Meanwhile the number of vendors is growing dramatically. All of this suggests that vendors need to be more efficient and effective in connecting with a contacting population. In other industries, you’d use predictive lead scoring to focus on the top converters. In the SMB channel, Channel EQ seeks to align, leverage, and optimize the four elements most critical to channel performance: Channel Partner (external), Channel Manager (internal), Sales, Service and Support (internal) and Customer (external).

So how do they do it? It’s a behavioral-based approach that focuses on the interpersonal skills of channel personnel. Without naming names, it’s long overdue as many channel leaders aren’t exactly known as nice people. It all comes down to people do business with people they like. Channel EQ hits it head-on.

The learning platform is delivered under the brand name Channel University with the tagline “Peak Channel Performance. Fast.” The delivery vehicles include:
• Self-directed online video-based modules and tutorials
• A mobile app for anywhere, anytime learning
• Live Virtual Classroom training programs facilitated by certified instructors
• Interactive and experiential classroom training programs

Concerns? Channel EQ, while having a unique approach, enters a crowded market with many players ranging from ChannelEyes to CompTIA. And don’t forget to add business coaches who burned out the MSP community and are now kissing vendor’s asses. I’ll keep you posted on how Ken and Keith do.

Continue reading
1243 Hits
1 Comment

Deploying Windows 10 Webinar / Thursday Nov 12, 2015 12 PM - 1 PM PST

Presented by: Harry Brelsford CEO of SMB Nation & Grant Thompson Founding Partner of MG Technology Group

Want to learn more about Windows 10? Wondering where to find the information? Sign up here! 

Join us next Thursday for an educational webinar on Deploying Windows 10. - windows 10 logo

This webinar will take you through Windows10 deployment from an outside-looking-in independent expert viewpoint. Needless to say, there are new and updated ways to deploy Windows 10. In this session, we review new recommendations for upgrading existing devices using a simple in-place upgrade process, provisioning tools for transforming new devices into ones ready for enterprise use, as well as updates to traditional deployment tools and techniques (ADK and beyond). We also talk about application compatibility, hardware requirements, and other common deployment questions.

Bottom Line: You’ll learn about the new release cycle, Azure AD, upgrade paths and scenarios, dynamic provisioning, and more. And can you really run Windows 10 on a stick?
Be sure to invite your customers to show them how the Windows 10 solutions can help them operate more efficiently and empower them to grow their business.

Also remember since your customers are attending, you can register this event with Microsoft Community Connections and receive giveaway software and materials.

349 X 115 MOD REG RND2

Continue reading
1192 Hits
0 Comments

How Resellers (and Their Customers) Benefit from Training Programs

 By Pete Engler, channel marketing manager, Digium

The end of summer means most schools are heading back into session, which also signals the perfect time to think about the value of continuing education and training programs within your business. It’s not uncommon to hear kids complaining about having to go back to school, or questioning the real-world applications of what’s being taught in the classroom. As adults, we also tend to overlook or forget the benefits of a structured learning program, long after those school doors have shut behind us for the last time. Yet, continuing education should reach far into the workplace for the lifetime of our careers, particularly in our quickly evolving, technology-filled world. Ongoing training programs are especially beneficial to a value-added reseller (VAR). digium

For VARs in the technology sector, the importance of continually educating and training employees can make a significant difference in selling, installing and supporting your customers’ solutions. This customer-centric approach also plays a tremendous role in managing and improving your margin and profit. Investing in and completing technical certifications to become experts in the vendors’ solutions you sell may require an upfront cost, but it is well worth it – you should see a significant return on investment when it comes to training.

Having product experts on your technical staff acting as subject matter experts allows you to have a much more efficient and effective process when it comes to supporting customers. Additionally, once you have a set of employees certified on a vendor’s solutions, those employees can then use the training resources provided by that solution vendor to set up an internal training process for the rest of your organization, helping ensure that all of your employees are knowledgeable and able to support your customers. A well-trained staff goes a long way in supporting and protecting the lifetime value of a customer. After all, customers can lose confidence in their VAR if they do not see them as true experts in the solutions they offer.


As part of establishing an internal training process for your organization, you need to start by training the entire sales team. This includes educating your sales and sales support staff, the sales engineers, and the internal and/or external account managers. A sales team must have the ability to articulate the benefits of a product or solution, and how it can solve problems or improve processes for a customer’s specific needs. Not only does the sales process need to match the margin goals of the organization, but the training of the sales team (and training that may be available to the end users) also needs to be aligned with the sales process as it could be the key to closing deals and improving margin.

Once a deal is won, installation of the solution will begin and training will once again have a distinct impact on the process. Successful training of the installation technicians and the administrators that are installing and supporting the solution will factor heavily into your margin and cost reduction, mainly in terms of employee hours required to complete the install. Well-trained techs can cut the installation time significantly and allow more customers to be serviced by your organization. More customers, installs and monthly recurring support revenue will assist in providing the growth path for any successful VAR.

During and after the installation of the solution, the end customer can be trained in order to shift part of the support burden to that customer. This is particularly applicable when it comes to enabling the customer (and their employees) to handle basic tasks and management functions of a vendor’s solution. Sometimes, that may come down to training the customer’s organization on something as simple as knowing how to access solution help features, or training the end customers to use a database or knowledge base to assist in correcting issues on their own. Training the end customer can also provide additional revenue to any sale. Whether the sale of training is vendor provided or consists of training courses built by you as the VAR, there is the possibility of additional revenue by selling that end-user training.

Training is often an overlooked topic or is prioritized much lower compared to other business projects and goals. However, taking the time to ensure your team is well trained to sell and support the customer will bring more profit and margin per signed customer. It also allows you to free up time to increase the number of customers you are able to service, and to offer improved service and support that helps retain those customers for the long term.

Pete Engler is the channel marketing manager at Digium, a business communications company based in Huntsville, Ala., that delivers enterprise-class Unified Communications.

Continue reading
1345 Hits
0 Comments

Microsoft Free Public Event: Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center Jump Start

Microsoft LogoMicrosoft recently announced that they will be hosting a free training event for the public to learn more about Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center Jump Start. This event will be hosted by the company’s IT Pro Evangelism Team, in association with the Microsoft Learning (LEX) and Virtual Academy, and will be presented by Symon Perriman, Senior Technical Evangelist, Microsoft and Corey Hynes, President, holSystems.

Continue reading
1973 Hits
0 Comments

TechSquad IT, Bigger Brains Holding Webinar at 1 pm EST to announce BiggerMSP Partner Program

techsquadMSP firm TechSquad IT said today that it has partnered with Bigger Brains to create a new MSP-focused marketing enhancement program called BiggerMSP.  

BiggerMSP is based on Bigger Brains’ premium, high-definition video training courses, which have all been developed in the uniquely engaging “Teacher/Learner” style. Each course is divided into short, 10-minute video modules, to make it conveniently easy to learn whenever your schedule permits, and to jump straight to the training modules you need right away with our unique search function.

Continue reading
1769 Hits
0 Comments

CompTIA Adds E-learning Options to Channel Training Curriculum

CompTIA said that it will add new e-learning options to its comprehensive education and training programs for the IT channel. CompTIA Executive Certificate programs in cloud computing, mobile technologies and IT security will be available in e-learning modules beginning April 1. Additional courses will be added in the coming months.

Continue reading
2015 Hits
2 Comments