It’s the 21st century, and selling has become trickier than ever. Here’s why: Your buyers have more power than your sales team. Forrester Research has revealed that the average customer may be as far as 90% through the buyer’s journey before needing the support of a salesperson. This raises the stakes for sales reps to be prepared and knowledgeable when that all-important sales interaction gets ignited.
Bottom line — selling is not the simple, linear process that it once was. Rather than just being a game of knowing a product and applying it to a customer’s needs, modern-day sales is much more about situational awareness and adaptability, skills that are hard to come by without feet-on-the-ground experience. This growing necessity for hands-on sales experience puts recent graduates at a disadvantage when launching their sales careers, which raises the question: What’s the best way to integrate new reps into the field without sacrificing results or investing a ton into training?
It starts with a field sales trainer, an expert who studies the marketplace and trains salespeople to succeed within it.
Isn’t a Field Sales Trainer the Same as a Front-Line Manager?
In many organizations, a front-line sales manager takes on the training and people-development responsibilities of the field sales trainer. The difference between the two roles is that a field trainer is dedicated to training, motivating, and coaching reps. A front-line manager, despite being a skilled teacher and motivator, must balance these training responsibilities with a host of other tasks. As a result, people development must be sacrificed for near-term sales performance or vice-versa.
Integrating a Field Sales Trainer into Your Team
So if field sales trainers can provide so much value, how do you fit one into the ecosystem of your sales team? Before answering this question, first explore their three primary functions.
1. Consistent Reinforcement
Harvard Business Review has reported that annual turnover among U.S. salespeople runs as high as 27%. That’s twice the rate of the overall labor force! One of the primary reasons for this rampant churn is burnout.
Sales is a dog-eat-dog job, and it can be easy for reps — especially new ones — to deal with bouts of fatigue and low confidence. A field sales trainer is there to head off those effects by being a source of consistent reinforcement, reassurance, and positivity. Whether through group sessions or one-on-one talks, field trainers are a dedicated resource that can monitor the well-being of your reps and help them recharge their batteries when necessary.
2. Sales Innovation
Sales is a highly dynamic field. Simply put — if you’re not pushing the envelope, you risk falling behind the competition, and a field sales trainer can be impactful in this regard.
Your trainer’s job is to observe the market at large to identify new methods, strategies, and tactics and introduce them to your organization. This process might include going on field rides and soliciting ongoing feedback from both sellers and customers. Your trainer is your expert on the marketplace, and, if utilized properly, can be crucial to your training/onboarding paradigm as well as the development of your entire sales methodology.
3. Training Front-line Managers
Field trainers can act as integrators for your staff, translating cutting-edge methods and tactics in the marketplace to the front-line managers at the head of your sales teams. Instead of dividing their attention between the day-to-day performance of their reps and big-picture ideas for improving processes and developing personnel, front-line managers can offload the latter responsibilities to a field trainer. This frees up managers to focus solely on hitting quotas, only being brought into the “big picture stuff” when it’s time to implement it with the team.
Field sales trainers are just one example of how the right people serving the right function within your team can make all the difference when it comes to sales results — but there are more!
Check out What is Sales Enablement? to get more ideas for combining people, processes, and technologies to turn your sales/marketing teams into a powerful sales enablement machine.