Make your Channel Reps a Contender with Training.
How do professional athletes win? They have an effective training strategy. It's no different for Channel Reps. Without one, your Channel Reps won't reach their full potential. A recent study shows that every dollar a company invests in training receives about $4.53 in return, equivalent to a 353% R.O.Iⁱ. If you aren't training, you're leaving money on the table.
1. Training Needs Assessment
Take stock of the playing field. Who needs to be trained? What baseline knowledge, skills, and technical expertise are required? According to Forbes, 55% of salespeople lack basic sales skills³. Other questions are, when and where should the training take place? And is it in line with your company's goals, vision, and values?
2. Identify Skill Gaps
Coaches know where their athletes need to improve, what their opponent is doing, and changes in the game. They're identifying skill gaps. Identify your Channel Reps' gaps by interviews, surveys, and analysis. Additional holes can be determined by looking at competitors' skillset, future opportunities, and weaknesses in the company's knowledge. 58% percent of buyers report that Channel Reps cannot answer their questions effectively⁴. Buyers are becoming increasingly knowledgeable, and they demand their sales rep to have the expertise, know about the business landscape, and more.
3. Set Training Objectives
Next, prioritize training objectives. What is mandatory? What skills and knowledge add value? And what are nice to have? Once your priorities are established, it's time to make it S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely); to ensure your rep gets the most out of training.
4. Secure Buy-In
Before you can execute, a significant hurdle is getting buy-in from executives and Channel Reps. Surprisingly, this isn't a priority to some. Map out the scope of the training from goals, budget, timelines, and deliverables to convince them. This step is also an excellent opportunity to readjust your assessment and collaborate on goals.
5. Design the Training Plan
Time to layout the guts of the plan.
- Structure: Like in sports, you don't make your athlete start with complicated moves. You create a sensible training roadmap.
- Engaging content: Sometimes, information is dry, but make it enjoyable. Use gamification and use rich content.
- Incentives: Decide on the prize. Not all rewards will resonate with your Channel Reps. It is finding the right mix and options that will engage your indirect channel salespeople.
- Logistics: Figure out how you will deliver the course to your Channel Reps.
65% of employees say the quality of training and learning opportunities positively influences their engagementⁱ. You can do it in-house, but it will be a long, drawn-out process and may result in sub-par training. An alternative is to work with a third-party vendor to reduce the timeline, improve quality, and give an unbiased view of designing and managing your program.
6. Implement training
Some best practices are.
- Beta Test: To work out the kinks and bugs.
- Promote: If they don't know about it, they won't come.
- Continuous Training: According to a recent survey, 84% of sales training is lost after 90 days, don't set it, and forget it.
- Monitor: Keep an eye to keep it running as smoothly as possible.
Implementation is rarely perfect, but thoughtful planning eases the pain.
7. Evaluate and Reiterate
Evaluation is part of a successful training program. Ideally, you track variables before and after to verify improvements, spot trends, and anomalies. An important KPI is the R.O.I., a metric to ensure the effectiveness of the training. Continuously improve your training system!
Training is a massive part of your rep's success, and they agree. 26% of representatives say their sales training is ineffectiveⁱ. Having a training system & platform in place is that inch over the finish line you need to beat your competition.
At ChannelAssist, we understand what a massive undertaking it is. We make training fun, practical, and straightforward to implement. For over 20 years, ChannelAssist has helped organizations drive over $16 billion in revenue by optimizing indirect channel sales rep training with end-to-end development and management of channel incentive programs.
- 130 Eye-Opening Sales Stats You Need to Know. (2021, June 8). Spotio. https://spotio.com/blog/sales-statistics/#salestraining+https://www.brainshark.com/ideas-blog/2019/may/sales-statistics
- Glaser, B. (2021, April 16). How to Measure R.O.I. for Training Programs. H.R.D.Q. https://hrdqstore.com/blogs/hrdq-blog/how-to-measure-roi-for-training-programs
- Hyken, S. (2018, September 9). 57% Of Sales Reps Missed Their Quotas Last Year. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/shephyken/2018/09/02/77-of-sales-reps-missed-their-quotas-last-year/?sh=35ed52e052e4
- Caputa, P. (2021, June 11). The First Call Conundrum: What Buyers Vs. Salespeople Want to Talk About [Research]. HubSpot. https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/the-first-sales-call-conundrum