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Its unfortunate to find that many organisations confuse between product training and sales skills development training. They try to address the low productive sales employees with Product Training and hammer them with refresher training on product features again and again.

Any sales transaction goes through 7 main stages. Sales Skills requirement differ from one stage to another. Many a times, it may happen that a particular sales employee is good at sales presentation but lacks the skills of closing the sales deal.

Now, if the employer organisation tries to develop this particular sales employee with repetitive product refresher, will it add any value? No, it will simply frustrate the employee and may led to attrition.

So, as professional sales training consultant

, we strongly recommend to follow a scientific skill gap analysis for each stage of sales cycle and prescribe appropriate training programs.

Sales Training Modules for 7 stages of Sales Cycle:

A sale is a 7 step process irrespective of product or service categories. These 7 stages are sacrosanct across industries and geographies. All marketing and sales professional have agreed on the complexities involved on each of these 7 stages.

Organisations need to plan out an adequate sales training methodology to support its sales force on each step of this 7 stages cycle for its own success.

The selling skills required for each of these 7 steps vary from one another and requires a deep understanding of the salesman’s ability and consumer behaviour.

The sales training catalogue also needs to be designed on the 7 stages requirement format. Mechanisms need to be implemented to mend the gap areas of the sales persons’ skills at each level.

Stage 1:

Prospecting – It’s basically the hunting stage of ‘Sales Cycle’. It requires customer interaction and meetings. The salesperson needs to hunt profiles that are looking out for a solution for their ‘pain’.

Skills Required: Product Knowledge, Industry knowledge, Market insights.

Recommended Training Program: The art of cold calling, Cold calling Techniques, Telephone etiquettes etc.

Stage 2:

Lead Generation - In this stage, the salesperson needs to identify prospects are willing to share their information and details to fix their need or ‘pain’.

Skills Required: Customer Interaction, Techniques of Need Analysis.

Recommended Training Program: Methods of Need Analysis, Art of Lead Generation.

Stage 3:

Prospect Qualification- In this stage a salesperson needs to assess the prospect against parameters like intent, interest, ability to pay etc.

Skills Required: Listening skills, Assessment Skills, Solution Mapping skills.

Recommended Training Program: Methods of Sales Qualification

Stage 4:

Sales Presentation: In this stage the salesperson needs to communicate his proposals and solutions to the prospect.

Skills Required: Product Knowledge, Competition knowledge, Communication Skills.

Recommended Training Program: Professional Selling Skills Program.

Stage 5:

Objection Handling: Every salesperson needs to go through this unavoidable stage. Queries and objections should be taken positively and to be addressed professionally.

Skills Required: Communication skills, product Knowledge, Evidence sharing skills.

Recommended Training Program: Major Account Penetration Program

Stage 6:

Closing the deal: It is the most important decision making stage. With elimination at every stage, few deals come up to this level.

Skills Required: Negotiation Skills, Communication Skills, Relationship Skills, Product knowledge

Recommended Training Program: Major Account Selling Skills program.

Stage 7

Reference Generation: An effective salesperson should not leave the ‘sales cycle’ at stage 6. He should always try for generating reference from his customers. A reference from existing customer is always appreciated.

Skills Required: Relationship Management Skills, after sales servicing skills.

Recommended Training Program: The techniques of Relationship Management, Up-selling techniques.

In few of the stages ‘Off the Job’ may fit in but in most of the 7 stages, ‘On the Job’ training should bring an ideal outcome. The sales trainer needs to play the role of a ‘mentor’ than a ‘teacher’.

The sales trainer should run the program on the job and need to conduct refresher programs for the weak candidates. The training modules also require several role plays and group activities (part of Off the Job training) before going on for live testing.
From India, Mumbai

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