The goal of a sales academy is to develop a team of skilled and effective salespeople who can help the organization meet its revenue goals and grow its customer base. The curriculum may include topics such as lead generation, closing techniques, customer relationship management, and product knowledge.
Sales enablement teams should look for a B2B sales academy that offers comprehensive training and development opportunities for their sales team. The academy should focus on providing practical, hands-on experience and real-world scenarios to help salespeople hone their skills and improve their performance.
To help guide you in your search, here are 7 key principles to look for in a B2B sales academy:
Getting your team to sell at their best requires more than watching a series of videos or reading the latest research. Upskilling in sales takes practice. At Global Performance Group, we call this a “content light – application heavy” approach to sales training which is a methodology that focuses on teaching salespeople how to apply their newly acquired knowledge and sales skills to real-world situations, rather than just providing them with an understanding of the training content itself.
This approach is particularly useful for B2B sales teams that sell premium-price premium-value solutions, where the sales process can be complex and involve multiple decision-makers.
In practice, a B2B Sales Academy that adopts a “content light – application heavy” approach provides salespeople with an understanding of fresh and effective selling methodologies, and more importantly developing their ability to apply this knowledge to their own real world sales opportunities. This process includes role-playing exercises, simulations, and exercises where salespeople practice identifying customer needs, building solutions, and communicating the value proposition.
Additionally, this approach often involves coaching where the academy focuses on building the salespeople’s ability to think critically and apply the knowledge they have learned to new and unfamiliar situations, rather than just providing them with a script to follow. This is crucial to make the salespeople become adaptable and able to handle new challenges that arise as they go through different stages of their sales journey.
One key area that a B2B Sales Academy should focus on is product knowledge and understanding. Salespeople need to be experts on the products they are selling, so they can effectively communicate the benefits and value proposition to potential customers. A good B2B Sales Academy will provide in-depth training on the features and benefits of the products, as well as any relevant industry knowledge and trends.
A B2B Sales Academy should provide training that covers the features, capabilities, and benefits of the products in detail. This will give salespeople the knowledge they need to explain the products in a way that resonates with customers and highlights the value proposition. Salespeople should also be trained on how to position the products in relation to the competition, so that they can effectively communicate how their company’s products are superior.
The ideal Sales Academy should also provide training on industry knowledge and trends. Understanding the market and industry is important because it allows salespeople to see where the opportunities are and how their products fit in. This will enable them to have an informed conversation with the customer, and show that they have done their research and understand their customer’s business.
Unified Sales Approach
Another important aspect of a B2B Sales Academy is teaching effective selling techniques and strategies. This should include training on how to identify potential customers, ask the right questions to uncover customer needs, and build relationships with prospects. The academy should also provide guidance on how to handle objections, negotiate effectively, and close the sale.
A unified sales approach is an important aspect of a B2B Sales Academy because it ensures that all salespeople are using the same techniques and strategies to sell the company’s products or services. This can help to create consistency across the sales team, which can lead to better sales results.
Customer Success & Retention
In addition to product knowledge and selling skills, a B2B Sales Academy should also provide training on customer service and support. This is an important aspect of the sales process, as it can help build trust and credibility with customers, and ultimately lead to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals.
One of the main focuses of this training should be on how to proactively identify and address the needs of customers. This can include training on how to conduct customer interviews, surveys and collect feedback, and how to use that information to improve the product or service offerings, as well as to identify potential upselling opportunities.
A foundational component of a B2B Sales Academy is a focus on helping salespeople and their managers develop the right mindset and attitude for success. This includes training for front line sales managers to become better coaches, setting and achieving goals, staying motivated and positive, and overcoming obstacles and challenges.
One key aspect of this training should be on goal setting. Salespeople should be trained on how to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) goals, and develop a plan to achieve them. This can include training on how to prioritize goals, how to set short-term and long-term goals, and how to track progress towards achieving them.
Sales can be a challenging and often stressful occupation, so for a behavior change process to fully take effect – it’s important for salespeople to learn how to stay motivated and positive, even when faced with rejection or difficult situations. This can include training on how to develop a growth mindset, how to find and maintain a positive attitude, and how to use visualization and other techniques to stay focused and motivated.
Reinforcement & Coaching
A B2B Sales Academy should also provide ongoing support and coaching to help salespeople continue to improve and grow in their careers. This could include regular check-ins with a mentor or coach, opportunities for ongoing learning and development, and access to relevant resources and tools.
Reinforcement and coaching ensure that the skills and knowledge learned during the training don’t disappear the moment the training is over. For any training to be effective and for salespeople to make meaningful improvements in their performance – continued application of the skills and feedback are a necessity.
Another important aspect of reinforcement and coaching is providing ongoing formal learning and development opportunities. This can include regular training sessions, workshops, or webinars, as well as providing access to relevant resources and tools. This can help salespeople to stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and best practices, and continue to improve their skills and knowledge over time.
Flexible Learning Options
In today’s fast-paced business environment, it’s important for sales organizations to provide flexible learning options that can accommodate the needs of salespeople with different schedules and learning styles. This is especially true for salespeople who are busy with travel, customer visits, and other work-related activities. A hybrid Sales Academy is an ideal solution for modern sales organizations, as it combines the benefits of online and in-person learning.
Hybrid academies typically consist of web-based courses, in-person workshops, and webinars. Web-based courses are a convenient and flexible option for salespeople who are short on time or who prefer to learn at their own pace. They can typically be accessed from any device with an internet connection, and can be completed at any time, which allows salespeople to fit learning into their busy schedules.
In-person workshops are also an important component of a hybrid Sales Academy, as they provide an opportunity for salespeople to learn and practice new skills in a collaborative and interactive environment. They can be particularly effective for learning and practicing new selling techniques and strategies, as well as for networking with other salespeople and learning from industry experts.
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Global Performance Group is a worldwide leader in behavioral transformation with experts in procurement strategies, sales methodologies and leadership and team development practices. We have over 30 years of experience working with large companies in 14 languages and six continents.Contact us online to learn more about our sales training programs!