How to Train A New Sales Rep and Benefit Your Business


Master sales training to convert leads into loyal customers. Learn about prospecting, negotiation, social selling & more.

The first commandment of a successful sales rep begins with an ABC—“Always Be Closing”. The problem is that if a prospect doesn’t want to buy from that sales rep, it doesn’t matter how desirable or high-quality a product or service is. This is why it’s critical that all reps receive sales training, enabling them to convert leads into loyal customers.

Salespeople need to create value for their prospects. A self-oriented sales approach that sees a sales rep spend all of a customer’s valuable time talking about their business and product will not work in 2023. Clients are time-scarce, and more often than not, they want to know what they need to do to produce the required results.

With 86% of business leaders claiming that they’re more likely to purchase a product if a sales rep takes the time to demonstrate they’ve done this research on their business aims and needs, it’s important that salespeople can access the training that will ensure they aren’t wasting a prospects’ time. Sales jobs require candidates who can fill a double role as an advisor and a salesperson.

This means that sales reps need to not only understand their product or service offering inside and out, but they also need to understand how it will help their customers—and before they can understand this, they must figure out the problems their customers are trying to solve. They can achieve this by asking the right questions, genuinely listening to the answers, researching their prospects, and deciding on the areas they need to improve.

Consultative sales training can offer a new sales rep the opportunity to develop the skills that will progress prospects from leads to repeat customers that works mutually to maintain a solid long-term relationship.

In this article, we’ll discuss the essential sales training that all motivated reps should address to build the expertise necessary to raise their profile and succeed in their careers. We’ll also consider the diversity, equality, and inclusion benefit that sales training can offer businesses.

Sales Training for New Reps: Learning the Essentials

Sales training for new reps should focus on developing core competencies and drawing on some advanced techniques—tailored to their role, whether inbound or outbound sales—that will amplify their performance and give them the confidence to achieve long-term success.

Beyond understanding the product, the established sales process of their employer, and establishing an arrangement for the payment of a commission, a sales rep needs to build several proficiencies to reach the profession's highest level.

Prospecting and Lead Generation

Many entry-level candidates may ask, “what is prospecting in sales?”. It’s critical to answer this question by highlighting the skills necessary to prospect well since it’s often the first step in the sales pipeline: identifying potential customers and following leads.

It’s important that businesses invest in enhancing the skills that will allow their sales reps to generate new leads and connect those potential customers to the sales pipeline:

  • Delivering good customer service through impeccable phone and email manner and solid communication skills.
  • The ability to use effective questioning and listening techniques to understand a prospect’s pain points.
  • Understanding how to qualify and prioritise different leads and the sales cadence required by different prospects.
  • Creating effective and convincing sales hooks and telling stories that will persuade prospects to want to speak to the sales rep again.

Whilst closing a sale will require a sales rep to focus on all of the skills and competencies in this list, prospecting and lead generation are the first step on this journey.

Account Management and Development

Account management and account development are the keys to building good professional relationships. Most companies will employ full-time account managers to handle this aspect of the business. Still, new sales reps will stand in good stead if they can understand the importance of this post-sales role and how all of their touch points with a prospect can help streamline the account management process.

Successful account management will help organisations retain customers, scale their reach through word-of-mouth and a solid reputation, and establish new sales opportunities. It’s important to enhance all of these account management skills:

  • Identifying accounts to grow, accounts requiring extra attention or protection, and accounts which can be scaled through selling new products or services.
  • The creation of a stakeholder inventory and stakeholder management plan, which allows the sales rep to discover who to build a long-term relationship with—particularly important in B2B sales, where a salesperson will want to connect with the most relevant employee in that organisation, such as a CTO in the case of SaaS or IT sales.
  • Becoming a trusted advisor for their customers.
  • Creating a SWOT analysis to increase strategic resiliency and a targeted sales pipeline.

Social Selling

Helping a sales rep to understand their employer’s social media policy and how it can be leveraged to reach out to prospects proactively is critical in the modern business landscape.

Creating a social media presence and recognising how to connect with customers through tailored and targeted messaging are the first steps in training a new sales rep. They’ll also need to be able to:

  • Understand the impact and influence of developing a solid brand strategy, and how this is communicated through different social media channels.
  • Build rapport with prospects by personalising the sales process using tactics like “show me you know me”, which makes successful prospecting not feel like prospecting for that potential customer.
  • Create a social selling strategy, enabling them to hit their sales goals while collecting prospects and building better relationships.

Pitching and Negotiation Skills

Knowing how to deliver a pitch, demonstration, or presentation confidently is integral to enhancing the skill set of a new sales rep. This allows your prospect to connect to your product and understand how it will ease their pain points.

Professionally and gracefully getting past the gatekeepers that are in the way of connecting you with a key stakeholder at the business you’re attempting to sell to is only the first step in developing strong negotiation skills. A sales rep also needs to know how:

  • Storytelling can help to build the value of a business proposition.
  • Evaluating success and gathering feedback is vital to iterating on a product or service offering, improving customer retention and remaining competitive in the market.
  • Developing a negotiation strategy ensures they always understand their prospect’s vision and identify their priorities.

Using Market Insights and Data to Drive Commitment and Engagement

Whilst a new sales rep might not yet understand the ways in which market insights and data can empower them to move prospects through the sales pipeline more quickly whilst increasing customer satisfaction, it’s important that they develop an awareness of the data that can be collected throughout the sales process.

This is a particularly important skill that advanced sales training can help develop, given employers' increasing demand for digital and data analytics proficiency. Knowing which data is relevant to their roles will require a sales rep to:

  • Understand how customer profiling, psychographics and demographics can help to identify better leads.
  • Recognise how social, technological, economic and political factors—otherwise known as carrying out a STEP analysis—can affect sales pipelines and cadence.
  • Acknowledge the ways in which data analytics can empower a sales plan, especially when it comes to establishing processes and a target audience, knowing which objectives and KPIs need to be hit, and which tactics to employ to achieve their goals.
  • Maximise the value of their interactions with leads and customers through CRM software to record sales, spot future trends and gain a quick overview of where a prospect is in the sales pipeline.

How Sales Training Can Create a More Diverse Workforce

Research carried out in 2022 by the global management consultancy McKinsey & Company found that, among working professionals surveyed that had recently quit their jobs, 51% had chosen to leave as they felt they didn’t belong at work. A large proportion of these ex-employees were women of colour.

Despite holding similar qualifications and work experience, women have to work harder to overcome barriers and generally receive less mentoring than men, meaning that men experience faster career progression than women in the sales environment.

Diversity, equality and inclusion are integral to reducing staff turnover, a major concern for all organisations with the looming skills shortage. It’s been shown that diversity leads to business success by attracting the best talent.

Building a pathway for internal progression through training and apprenticeships is one way to attract more applicants for all roles, whether entry or director-level. Instead of trying to find “unicorns” with the niche blend of skills required for the increasingly complex position that a sales rep is expected to fill, many businesses are focusing on finding candidates with core competencies that can then be up-skilled to meet business requirements.

This is important within the sales environment, where 58% of sales reps identify as men. Sales training can help staff to develop the skills and knowledge which will allow them to take on mentoring responsibilities for new hires, helping to create the conditions in which all employees can thrive, and business leaders can leverage the diverse background of their employees to address emerging markets creatively.

Realise Your Potential with Pareto’s Sales Training

For over 25 years, we’ve provided market-leading sales training and talent sourcing, nurturing top sales talent across all industries. Pareto assists organisations of all sizes to up-skill their workforce, from senior staff looking to transition into a new career path to recent graduate hires finding their place within an organisation. Contact us to learn how we can help you invest in your people.

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