Impact Pricing Blog

Training Salespeople

Here is a question that came to me on LinkedIn regarding training salespeople.
Hi Mark, I’m reading your new book Selling Value, and I truly believe the struggle is due to a lack of salespeople’s training. In your experience, which is the area responsible for creating, structuring, and presenting “Selling Value Training” (in all aspects) to Sales Teams? Should it be #pricing, #products, #marketing, #sales, or which one besides those I cited here? Hope you can give us a direction, as always! Cheers!  A.

Thanks for the question, A.  There are many parts to the answer.  First, let’s separate the sales process from product knowledge.  A sales process outlines the normal steps a salesperson goes through while engaging in an opportunity.  They typically start with prospecting or qualification and go through the close.  The VP of Sales usually selects a sales process, like Spin Selling or Challenger Sales, and brings in professional trainers to uplevel their team.  I believe Selling Value does not replace an existing sales process but rather layers on top.

Product knowledge must come from product teams. Product managers and marketers should know the target market segment, the needs of the market, and the value of the most important features. The product team should be an expert at the product, but that doesn’t mean the salesperson is or should be.  Salespeople typically sell many more products than any product manager manages.  What salespeople need to know is the value of the product the way a buyer thinks about it.  

However, there is one piece of information that is missing from almost every company I work with.  They don’t understand their customers’ perception of value.  Product teams should know this but don’t.  Salespeople need to know this but don’t.  As you have read in the book, I use Value Tables to document this value so everyone in the company can be on the same page. 

Now, to answer your question more directly.  You probably need someone like me to teach your product team how to create value tables.  Then, you need someone like me to teach your salespeople what they can do with that information.   

When other departments try to train salespeople, it doesn’t go well.  Have you ever seen a product team train on new products?  It’s usually a description of all of the cool new features.  This is not what salespeople need.  What is needed is someone who knows how salespeople think, who knows how customers perceive value, and most importantly, someone who knows how to train.   

I don’t mean this to sound self-serving.  I’ve worked most of my life mastering these concepts.  One day we will put together a train-the-trainer program so companies can be successful doing this on their own.  

Of course, if you don’t have the budget to hire someone like me and you need to do it on your own, I recommend getting a pricing person, a product person, and a salesperson together to design and deliver the course.  You get many perspectives involved and it will hopefully resonate better with your sales team.  

Good luck A.

Tags: salespeople, value

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