Perhaps more so than most other professional industries, sales people generally get on-the-job educations. To our knowledge, there is no “Bachelor of Sales” degree. And even if there were, its value would only take a rep partially through his or her necessary training.
To put things simply, there are many skills that can’t be taught. Most skills applicable in sales roles must be acquired. It shouldn’t all be trial-and-error, however. A successful sales culture undeniably starts at the front-line.Your partner reps are a natural extension of your direct sales team. And if you expect them to be selling on your behalf—essentially for free since they don't get paid unless the deal closes—it’s up to channel managers to motivate, mentor, and influence all of their salespeople.
While successful onboarding is important, continued education is paramount to your reps’ sustained success. Below, our tips on how to motivate sales reps with a culture of continued learning:
Ensuring new hires are comfortable in their new roles is the first step of a successful business culture. Often, this depends on mentoring your employees. From providing available resources—books, videos, and relevant collateral—to having your reps attend seminars, successful mentoring is manifested in a variety of ways.
Cover what they need to know. When inundating your reps with new processes and products, it’s important to not get overly granular. Provide your reps—both new hires and company vets—with internal support networks that cater to their unique needs. Define incremental goals and present information in an accessible manner. By separating the sales experience into a series of logical steps, your reps will be able to digest new information.
Above all, be a strong, reliable resource—or have someone on your team responsible for facilitating this process.
When introducing new information, there will be questions. Foster an environment that encourages inquiry. Effective training and onboarding should provide collaboration tools that help partners identify, map, and connect with coworkers. Learning from your peers is not only efficient, it’s cost effective.
Your training environment should mirror job conditions. New hires should use the same tools and systems that’ll be used on the job. Once your reps start selling, it’s important to provide valid feedback. There are far too few companies that don’t take the time to analyze failed closes with their reps.
Rather than act reactively, it’s best to confront situations before they happen. Constantly training your reps results in increased knowledge and selling capabilities.
Effective onboarding and training are essential to the ongoing success of your reps. These days, however, effective partner engagement means fostering a culture of continued education. Partner Sales Acceleration software is designed to take your education methods to the next level.
The best software includes quizzes that keep your channel reps up to speed, certifications to ensure your reps are recognized for their efforts, and personalized prospect pages to track engagement.
Unlike other professions, mastering sales is a lifelong pursuit. And implementing a culture of continued learning is the only way to guarantee partner success in today’s competitive sales landscape.