Is sales training reserved only for new hires? We don't think so!
In fact, 97% of B2B sales leaders consider upskilling their existing staff as one of the top priorities, especially now that digital tools and technologies are rapidly changing.
The good news is that you don't have to organize in-person training that requires a lot of logistical planning and comes with additional expenses.
Why not create an evergreen salesman training manual that all your salespeople can use on their own time whenever they have any doubts or want to check something?
If you don't know where to start, you're in the right place to learn how to create a training manual.
We've covered all the sections you should include, together with some practical tips and useful tools, so you don't forget anything.
What is a salesman training manual?
Salesman training manuals are comprehensive guides designed to train and empower sales representatives, but they can also serve as a knowledge base that your employees can turn to whenever they have any doubts or questions.
They cover a wide range of topics, from information about your product or service to an in-depth understanding of your buyer personas, sales process, handling objections, closing deals etc.
Overall, a good sales manual should equip your sales team with knowledge, skills and techniques for interacting with customers, closing deals and overcoming any challenges that may arise along the way.
Creating a salesman training manual: Benefits
There are many reasons to create a sales manual, but here are the six biggest benefits.
- Process standardization – In the post-COVID-19 world where omnichannel sales communication is no longer an exception but a standard, a sales manual is necessary to ensure that all your employees are on the same page and provide a consistent experience to prospects and customers, regardless of the channel they're using (social media, email, in-person etc). In fact, 72% of B2B customers admit they'll look for another supplier if they don't get a consistent experience across all channels.
- Cost cutting – The sales training manual enables new hires to complete part of the onboarding process on their own, saving you the money you'd have to spend on hiring professional trainers every time.
- Time savings – A recent study shows that sales ops spend, on average, 73% of their working time doing tasks that are not directly related to sales and customers, and one of the reasons is looking for information. Creating a sales manual that would act as a comprehensive resource and knowledge base could significantly decrease the time spent searching for information as it'd all be in one place.
- Improved product knowledge – Sales manuals ensure that your employees have in-depth knowledge about your products or services and any updates that may appear. Gathering all critical information in one place also enables your employees to access them more quickly.
- Increased close rate – The sales training manual equips your employees with tools and techniques to help them overcome clients' objections and obstacles that may appear during the sales process and, consequently, close more deals.
- Stronger company culture – A training manual allows salespeople to dig deeper into company values, which can help them align their goals with the company's mission.
Salesman training manual: What should you include?
The exact outline may depend on your industry, but here are some universal sections to include as an example:
Welcome message and overview
If the manual is aimed at new hires, you should emphasize your excitement for them joining your team and welcome them on board.
You can add a brief outline explaining what they can expect from the manual and what the goals and desired outcomes are.
Another idea is to add some practical tips on getting the most out of the manual.
You should provide your salespeople with an in-depth understanding of company values because they're the ones who are representing your company in direct contact with customers.
It's essential that their daily actions align with your values, mission and vision, integrating these elements into customer service and providing a consistent experience.
A value-driven approach provides employees with a sense of purpose, motivating them to contribute in a meaningful way to a shared cause instead of just focusing on hitting their targets.
Product or service descriptions
In this section, you can dive deep into your product or service, as it'll serve as a valuable resource and knowledge base that your salespeople can turn to whenever in doubt.
Highlight key features and explain benefits, providing practical examples. You can incorporate real-life scenarios to illustrate how the product solves customer problems and how they can use it.
Don't forget to emphasize unique selling points that set your offer apart from competitors.
Break down technical jargon into simpler terms that salespeople can use when talking to customers so that everyone understands them.
Considering that 80% of B2B sales interactions will be done through digital channels by 2025, it's essential to make sure your sales staff knows how to use digital tools, such as:
- CRM systems
- Sales engagement platforms
- Lead generation tools
- Email automation tools
- Task management apps
- Online communication apps
- Analytics tools
Implementing new tools is always challenging, especially knowing that your staff may have different levels of technical knowledge and experience. It means that it'd be best to create a how-to guide for every tool they will use.
If that sounds scary, don't worry – you don't have to spend hours writing it from scratch!
With our process documentation tool, you can create detailed guides followed by pictures and screenshots in just a few clicks.
All you have to do is press the Record button and screen-record how you use a particular tool. That's it! Our software will then split the process into logical steps and make screenshots for every step.
Of course, our SOP software allows you to change and customize your manual by:
- Adding titles and descriptions for every step
- Customizing style, colors and fonts
- Adding your company's logo
- Cropping pictures
- Blurring any sensitive data
- Replacing or merging the slides
Now, it's time to share your guides with your sales team. At MagicHow, we value collaboration and provide various options for sharing documents. You can:
- Export the manual as a PDF
- Share it using a link
- Embed it in your CRM or project management tool (like Zendesk or Notion)
- Publish it on your website
Buying persona(s) information
Help your sales representatives better understand your target audience by providing them with detailed buyer personas. Here is the most important information to include from a sales point of view:
- Demographic (age, gender, location / and job title and industry, if you're doing B2B sales)
- Their goals and desires
- Challenges, pain points, problems they're looking to solve
- Buying motivation (what drives their purchasing decisions)
- Factors influencing buying choices
- Who holds decision-making authority
- What does a typical sales journey look like
- Factors preventing them from buying
- Typical concerns and objections
Some companies organize hands-on training that includes role-playing scenarios based on buying personas. This exercise allows salespeople to put themselves into their customers' shoes, which increases empathy but can also help them improve their communication skills.
Make sure that your sales reps are aware of all of your competitors, both direct and indirect.
Provide them with information about your competitors' products or services, their features and benefits, market positioning and pricing. Emphasize any aspects they might be missing that can be used as your competitive advantage.
You can include a SWOT analysis for each competitor, underlining any features or areas where your product outperforms them.
Sales process overview
This section breaks down your sales methodology into a step-by-step process, making it easier for new salespeople to follow. Start with prospecting and explain how to do effective lead generation. Then, move on to initial contract strategies showcasing various approaches and channels they can use.
Give some tips on improving communication skills and objection handling during sales calls. Then, move on to negotiation, providing proven techniques for closing deals. Finally, don't forget to mention post-sale activities, including customer relationship management and follow-ups.
For this section, you should strategically select diverse, realistic scenarios that are common in your industry and may be challenging for a new salesperson.
Think about problems and obstacles that may occur at every stage of the sales process and provide solutions to overcome them. This may overlap with some parts of your customer service training manual that you can use for inspiration.
Here are some examples:
Scenario #1: Tricky customer questions
Problem: Despite spending a lot of time preparing for a call with a customer, some of their questions caught you off-guard, and you realize you don't know the answers.
Solution: Stay calm. Be honest and say you don't have an immediate answer, but promise that you'll come back to them with a fast answer after doing your research or consulting your supervisors. This approach not only shows transparency but also helps to build trust and shows your dedication to customer satisfaction.
Scenario #2: Objections handling
Problem: Customer expressed concerns about the price, saying it's possible to find a similar product at a more convenient price.
Solution: You can emphasize the value of the product, its durability and its competitive advantage. Focus on return on investment or offer flexible payment plans if price is the only thing stopping them from buying.
Scenario #3: Difficulty when closing sales
Problem: You had a very promising prospect, but at the last moment, they said that now may not be the best moment to buy and that they need more time.
Solution: You can offer them a trial experience or create a sense of urgency by saying the offer is time-limited. Use negotiation techniques to make them feel like they're about to lose the deal of a lifetime.
Internal communication guidelines
Emphasize the importance of clear and timely communication among your sales teams, their supervisors and other departments.
To avoid misunderstandings and delays, provide the company's expectations on how often you expect updates and reports and which communication channels are preferred. Establish a hierarchy of communication, clarify reporting structures and team meeting protocols.
You should also create feedback mechanisms and implement performance reviews on a regular basis, as that's one of the best ways to improve your team's results.
FAQs and additional resources
To save time and maximize productivity, you should provide answers to commonly asked questions beforehand. If this is your first time creating an employee training manual, you can ask your sales reps to provide feedback on whether you've missed something and whether they have any additional questions.
Of course, all manuals are works in progress, and one of the best practices for process documentation is to keep updating them with new information regularly.
For those who want to continue learning, don't forget to link to additional resources such as ebooks and online courses or the company's knowledge base, where they can learn more about your products and services.
Multiple research studies have shown that there's an increased demand for digital and hybrid sales, including the omnichannel approach, which is preferred by the majority of customers.
As customer habits change and evolve, so should your sales training manuals.
It's no longer enough to teach your sales team about your philosophy, buying persona and negotiation techniques.
Adapting to the hybrid work environment requires learning to use different digital tools like sales engagement platforms, collaboration tools, CRM systems and many more.
As a sales manager or trainer, you don't have to write all sales training manuals from scratch. There's a more effective and less time-consuming way to do it.
MagicHow allows you to record all your processes in real time as you are doing them. We will take care of the rest by dividing the process into logical steps and providing screenshots that you can add directly to your sales manual.
Sign up and take your sales training manuals to the next level!