A great Sales Academy, that actually has an impact on your team’s performance must be well planned and have a framework that ensures its effectiveness and efficiency. To do that, you need to follow these four steps.
Planning a Sales Academy
1. Define the training journey
In your team, you have people in different stages of their career and lifetime in your company. This means you need to create your sales training plan considering different levels of seniority, including leadership roles, as they will all have different needs and areas to work on.
It’s important to put in place a training plan for the whole career path of your sales staff, starting with onboarding sales reps, then focusing on continuous skills development and updated product training, performance-based training, and finally training for senior and leadership roles.
Besides the different roles and seniority, there are also different training areas you need to account for: Product training, sales process and tools training, technical skills, soft skills and leadership training, and finally training related to your company’s culture and values such as ethics, compliance and career development. These training areas serve the needs of the sales personnel through the various stages of their career, with different courses considering both career stage and training areas.
So, start by identifying and mapping out what your company’s sales personnel need to know regarding each of these five training areas, creating the training journey and including, in each moment of that journey, what are the training areas to focus on.
2. Align training needs with team performance
Your sales academy must provide value to your sales reps and help them elevate their skillset so they can improve performance. So, the next step is to drill down into the specifics of the training areas.
To do this, consider both your team’s performance and feedback. With those inputs, you can create a list of areas that are targets for improvement within the scope of each of the five sales training areas. This will give you a framework that you can use together with the map of the sales rep’s training journey.
3. Outlining training content development
Once you’ve completed the assessment of your sales team’s training needs, it’s time to think about what type of content you need to make available in your academy, what formats the content should be presented in, the optimal length of time that should be spent on it, the instructional approach to it, and how to produce the training content.
The type of content you offer in your sales academy needs to fulfill the training goals you identified when you mapped out each step in your sales reps’ training journey. This approach ensures that you’ll always be aware of the relevance of the training you’re providing and that you’ll create content that your salespeople will feel is relevant and beneficial to their professional growth and success. Also make sure that your catalogue impacts the sales teams’ KPI’s with courses on negotiation tactics, lead prioritization and management, networking training, objection handling, and so on.
When considering the format, it’s important to go for an engaging format that boosts retention like video. You can have different video formats, which will be essential as in sales training you’ll need to use different ones, for example role-playing for behavioural training, screen-casting for software training, etc.
Many salespeople are often on the road or have tight schedules between meetings. This means that bite-sized video content that can be watched on the fly is a good solution, for both convenience and retention.
Your approach to the content in your academy should be both relevant and on-brand. Make sure that you look at the content from your team’s perspective, and that the content is practical, and performance driven. It’s important they actually feel like they’ve acquired new knowledge that they can apply directly to their jobs when they complete a course.
As to producing the training content, you’ll need to define whether you’re going to do it in-house or get help from an external team, such as your training platform’s instructional design team. Usually this option, when available, is the way to go, as they’ll have both the instructional design knowledge and know the platform inside-out so they will be able to leverage its potential to the max.
4. Make training part of your team’s culture
Establishing a culture that values sales training helps to foster a sense of belonging, empowerment and confidence in every salesperson. Providing your sales teams with a space where they can learn new skills and brush up on forgotten ones helps boost morale and productivity, and it’s also a major drawcard in the recruitment and retention of top talent.
To do this, it’s important that you emphasize that continuous learning is critical to the success of every team member and the company, and make sure management is involved in your training activities. Here’s an article on how to get your team on board with training without making it mandatory.
Once you’ve launched your academy, follow up with your sales team regularly to get feedback. You can involve them by, for example, getting the top performers to contribute with a lesson with their tips for success. Also, to get your sales reps to keep up the enthusiasm for the academy, plan to invite some of them to become academy ambassadors.
To learn more about how to create, launch and run a successful sales academy in your company, you can take the “Managing an Online Sales Training Academy” certification course, for free, at the bugle Academy.
You can also learn more about how to setup an effective sales training programme in your company in this guide.
You may also find interesting:
Why move your Sales Playbook to an Online Academy (article)
How to leverage video to teach sales skills (article)
How to make the case for a Sales training Academy (article)
7 ways to improve sales training in your company (article)
The sales skills training you should provide in your sales academy (article)
Why use online video training in pre-boarding sales reps (article)
Onboarding sales reps that work remotely (article)
Would you like to learn more about how bugle can help with Sales Training? Let's talk.