For More Effective Sales Training, Go Beyond Strategy Discussion

Leaders at ServiceTitan and Revenue.io discuss their techniques and the ways in which they measure training effectiveness.
Written by Olivia McClure
October 8, 2021Updated: November 2, 2021

For Senior Manager of Sales Development Brenden Boesgaard, sales training isn’t just about going over all the right topics and strategies. Rather it’s about making sure team members are equipped to put those teachings into action. 

“Giving your team a list of objection-handling responses and scripted talk tracks simply doesn’t cut it,” Boesgaard said. “SDRs need to truly understand their prospects’ unique needs and challenges in order to connect with them.”

As a professional at ServiceTitan, a platform that helps trades businesses run and grow their organizations, Boesgaard understands the effort that goes into making teams more effective. That’s why he said his team attends weekly training sessions, which involve ample goal-setting and brainstorming. 

But a tactical approach to sales training reaches beyond the fintech space. At revenue acceleration platform provider Revenue.io, Senior Manager of SMB and Commercial Sales Jake Spear runs bi-weekly training sessions with his team that revolve around strategies and insights. 

According to Spear, there are a few elements that go into improving training sessions, such as allowing reps to lead and incorporating examples of call recordings and email exchanges. But for him, it’s especially important for teams to continuously train around the same topics. 

“If you do a training only once, it’s not going to stick,” Spear said. “Repetition is key to success.”

Built In LA caught up with Boesgaard and Spear to learn how they optimize team training sessions and evaluate their effectiveness. 

 

Brenden Boesgaard
Senior Manager of Sales Development

How often do you hold training sessions with your sales team, and what do those training sessions entail?

We hold weekly training sessions with the entire SDR team. While I or one of our enablement or SDR managers lead most of these sessions, we often invite other experts to speak. In the past, we’ve hosted panel discussions with AEs, allowed SDRs to run training sessions with their peers and invited customers to share their stories. 

Now that we’re working in a remote environment, team training sessions are more important than ever before. The organic learning that used to occur on the sales floor isn’t replicable in a remote environment, so it’s crucial to over-index on training. 

 

What techniques or approaches have you found to be particularly effective when it comes to sales training and why?

When training our sales team on messaging and strategy, we always explain the “why” behind our teachings, which helps us increase engagement and buy-in. Instead of asking our team to memorize a script, we provide them with a core messaging framework that they can adapt during calls. Before engaging with a prospect, we encourage them to set goals for what they hope to achieve during the call. We then ask them to brainstorm targeted questions that will steer the conversation toward their desired outcome. In doing so, they’re able to set themselves up for success. 

 

Keeping a pulse on sentiment is crucial to improve the process.” 

 

How do you evaluate the effectiveness of your training sessions, and how do you use that information to fine-tune your approach over time?

We rely heavily on feedback when evaluating the effectiveness of our training sessions. If our sales team doesn’t find value in the content, then it’s our job to improve it. We use both formal and informal strategies to gather this information. While we do push out surveys, we’re careful about survey fatigue, so we rely more on anecdotal feedback shared during team meetings. Keeping a pulse on sentiment is crucial to improve the process. 

Aside from surveys and verbal feedback, we also listen in on calls and analyze trends. We do our best to take a holistic and human-centric approach to our work. Our goal is to make sure everyone is set up for success the second they hop on a call.

 

Jake Spear
Senior Manager, SMB & Commercial Sales

How often do you hold training sessions with your sales team, and what do those training sessions entail?

We run formal training sessions every Tuesday and Thursday. We love to have our AEs and SDRs lead those sessions so they can share strategies and discuss how they’ve been able to convey the value of our products with buyers. When individual contributors don’t lead the sessions, other sales leaders and I will focus on something new we’re launching, such as a process or product, or share a recent insight that we want to scale across the team. We’ll dive into why it’s working or not and share specific examples, incorporating actual call recordings showcasing the behavior we either want to reinforce or avoid. Recently, we added another weekly training with our sales and CS teams focused on product enablement. This allows our customer-facing reps to come together and share strategies for communicating value around our products.

 

What techniques or approaches have you found to be particularly effective when it comes to sales training and why?

Being specific about a behavior you’re trying to change is both effective and critical. You need to come to training sessions with real-world examples of call recordings, meetings, email exchanges, and more in order to analyze a particular action, phrase or objection. You should come with both good and bad examples so your team understands what will drive success. You should also check in with employees before live training sessions to make sure they’re comfortable with you sharing their information. It’s effective to have reps lead training sessions, as it allows them to show off their skills and expertise while giving the rest of the team the opportunity to hear from one of their own. 

 

Being specific about a behavior you’re trying to change is both effective and critical.”

 

How do you evaluate the effectiveness of your training sessions, and how do you use that information to fine-tune your approach over time?

I look for behavior changes in real life. It’s not enough to give the training and say, “Everyone heard me and they’re doing it.” We actually use our own solution to accomplish this. Our conversational AI product allows us to see if the concepts we teach during training sessions are being implemented by measuring either an increase or decrease of those strategies and behaviors being used in the field. 

For example, we recently realized our team was struggling with the objection: “I don’t have time to coach my reps.” As a result, we did a training session centered around that phrase. Because our platform updates in real time, we could immediately start looking at how people were responding to that objection and measure the effectiveness of the training over time. 

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