New sales tools and technologies are constantly being introduced to help streamline efficiencies, increase productivity, and a myriad of other reasons. Existing tools across marketing and sales departments are regularly being updated with the latest releases, which can often result in an entirely new interface. The challenge of these updates lies in proper employee training.
Why Do Employees Need To Be Trained On Sales Tools?
“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for life.” This philosophy can be applied to marketing and sales teams, and the tools that they use to complete daily tasks. If you simply give your employees the tools they need without teaching them how the tools are used, then you are essentially only “feeding them for a day.” But, if you teach your employees how to properly and efficiently use the tools at their disposal, then you will be helping them to succeed on a continuous basis.
There is a laundry list of reasons employees should be trained on the proper use of sales tools. However, for brevity’s sake, we have narrowed the list down to five simple reasons.
- Avoid Employee Frustrations. — When you are given a technology and told to use it, you might be left dumbfounded or (to continue our earlier fishing metaphor) you might take to it like a fish takes to water. The challenge arises when your sales or marketing team becomes frustrated by the disruption that new technologies cause to their daily tasks. Without the proper training, these frustrations can grow until the entire team is dysfunctional and unhappy, which will lead to poor performance results and a feeling of unrest in the office.
- Achieve Expected ROI. — Sales tools and technologies are designed to deliver an expected ROI. However, this investment can’t be achieved if a) the tools aren’t being used, or b) the tools are being used improperly. When you don’t teach your employees how to use the new sales tools they will either stop using the technologies all together or use them ineffectively. In either scenario the optimal ROI is not being achieved, which means that the sales tools are rapidly becoming a negative asset and a poor investment.
- Gain Valuable Feedback. — Not every sales tool or technology will be appreciated by your team. In fact, sometimes the very things that you purchase to help make it easier for your team to complete daily tasks are the very items that make their day to day operations harder. While the latter instance can be a hard lesson to learn, it is a valuable one. Unfortunately, the only way to gain the feedback that you need to redirect your company’s technology choices is to first train your employees to effectively use the sales tools. Without the proper training, your employees’ feedback will be biased and you will lack the insights needed to make future technology decisions.
- Create Process Improvements. — Just as you can’t receive valuable feedback from your employees unless they are properly trained, neither will you be able to create an environment of process improvements within your company. The inability to establish process improvements is especially challenging for any company that is trying to grow in size, capabilities, or revenue. As mentioned in the introduction to this post, sales tools and technologies are designed, in part, to help your employees enhance productivity, streamline efficiencies, and deliver better results. These benefits can only be achieved when your employees are properly trained. After their training, your employees will be able to better understand how to use the sales tools and subsequently what tactics can later be leveraged to further improve processes. In short, with process improvements comes company growth.
- Avoid High Employee Turnover. — We live in an age where employees are no longer staying put. Generally speaking, the millennial generation, which is the current largest workforce (by age), is constantly on the search for greener pastures. This means that a large portion of the workforce is willing to bounce from job to job in an effort to find the “perfect employment opportunity.” If your company introduces sales tools and technologies without training your employees, what makes you think that they will stick around? It is the equivalent of boarding an airplane to find that the flight crew expects you to be the pilot while they sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight. In other words, you can’t expect your employees to achieve the goals that you set for them on tools that you purchased, unless you first provide the necessary employee training.
Employee Training Made Easy
The question that remains is, “what can you do for your employees?” While the simple answer would be to say “train them,” this would probably not be very helpful. So, instead we have crafted a few helpful tips.
- Choose sales tools that have an introductory product demo. — This demo should be interactive and mandatory for all employees. It will give them a chance to see how an expert uses the tools, and perhaps most importantly, it will provide them with an opportunity to ask any necessary questions.
- Hold an in-office employee training session post product demo. — The in-office training session should be a chance for your employees to take the new sales tools for a test drive. Along the way they should be encouraged to ask questions and make comments regarding the challenges that they encounter. It is also advisable that you have at least one person on your in-house staff who is an expert at using the sales tools and can subsequently field any future questions.
- Provide a product reference book. — Some sale tools might be used on a daily basis, while others might only be used once a quarter. In the latter instances it is very likely that your employees will forget how to use certain features. Avoid these potential frustrations by providing a reference book for each sales tool. This book should be an easy to use guide that will serve as a refresher course in using the tools. It should also answer the most frequently asked questions about the features of each sales tool.
The Bottom Line: When it Comes to Sales Tools, Employee Training is Worth the Investment
The moral of the story is simple. If you want to get the most out of your sales tools and technologies, then you need to invest in your employees’ training. Taking the time needed to make them comfortable using the tools will deliver numerous short and long term benefits.