In this fast pace business world companies are spending billions of dollars in training their sales forces about their product. But why only a few of the companies are successful when it comes to product training initiatives and rest are not able to yield the desired results? How can a company build an efficient and effective product training program? Let us have a look at it.
Well, product training program should impart an in-depth knowledge of the product or service being offered to the sales team. As a general rule, product training ensures that the sales team understands:
The features and functionality of the product
The features of the product are captured in detail in the input Product Features. When product features are presented to sales personnel, it is important to focus on how the features will benefit the customer. The sales team will need to be instructed on the intent and use of each feature. They may require practice using the product or demonstrations of its functionality. The corporate sales staff should have a level of familiarity with the product that enables them to explain the value of each feature, display the product’s ease of use, and answer any questions the customer might have about the features.
The customer’s use of the product
The way in which the customer uses the product, or integrates it into their existing system, is a key area that the corporate sales staff must understand. The ability to view the product’s purchase and implementation from the customer’s point of view greatly helps the sales staff to communicate with the customer, as it demonstrates knowledge of the customer’s needs. Descriptions of customer use and integration may be captured as part of the product strategy, the product features, and the sales value proposition.
Competitor’s products and their similarities and differences
The corporate sales staff needs to be trained on the specifics of any competitor’s products. Knowledge of similar products will help the sales staff focus on areas in which their product is superior, and anticipate customer questions.
How the product actually achieves the promised sales value proposition.
Being able to effectively communicate how the sales value proposition is applicable to a specific customer or target audience is a key component of corporate sales. The sales team will need training on the sales value proposition, which areas are of interest to which companies, and the quantifiable results of using the product.
Industry trends (related to product use)
Industry trends related to product use help the corporate sales team understand the usage patterns of customers over time. This can also help determine future buying trends. Knowledge of industry trends needs to be updated regularly. The corporate sales team must have access to market research reports to stay current on trends.
Additional offerings refer to any incentive programs, sales commissions, and gifts for customers. The corporate sales team must know the company policy related to additional offerings when meeting with and presenting information to customers. Many buyers in large organizations are prohibited from accepting gifts or commissions from sellers. The seller can offer “value-adds” as part of the contract. This avoids the appearance of impropriety because it provides the incentives to the buying organization rather than to any one individual.
An effective product training program focuses more towards the benefits of the product and less towards its features. It utilizes the technology and provides the information for the product team. The product training programs are one of the vital parts of the organizational culture, especially of those organizations which are performing really great in the industry.
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