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Ten Traits of an Ideal Annual Sales Event Speaker

The annual sales event is important for your sales team – maybe even the most important part of the year. It’s an opportunity to accomplish several different things, from boosting morale to developing your team as professionals and even making an operational forecast for the coming year. It’s a social event, as well as an educational opportunity.

The keynote speaker at your annual sales event will be the foundation for a successful event for your organization. The ideal speaker can accomplish everything you set out to do and leave you feeling fulfilled and your sales team eager for success in the coming year. Given this, it is important to put time and consideration into choosing the right speaker. First, consider what is important to accomplish at the event, given your professional goals as well as your sales team’s expectations.

 

  • Focus on the team. There are specific points you will want to cover with your team. For instance, you may want to talk about quotas for the coming year, or forecasts for the industry in general and your team specifically. You may want to give them information on sales growth. It is also a good idea to solicit input from your team. What topics do they want to cover? What information do they feel they need to know or learn better?

 

  • This is an excellent chance to provide ongoing education to your sales team. Are there areas where they might need improvement? Perhaps you just want to give them a good review of policies and practices. Everyone needs refreshers from time to time, and the annual sales event is the perfect time to do it while adding an element of fun and camaraderie to the event.

 

  • Sales is about motivation and drive. Your sales team needs to look forward to their work and be excited about their prospects. A good charge of inspiration at the annual sales event can mean a lot for the coming year. This is a good opportunity to think big, to talk about broad topics like leadership or perseverance. Often, a person outside your organization is the ideal candidate to do this.

 

  • Recognize excellence. Nothing generates excitement like the pride a salesperson takes from getting their due recognition. Your team has worked hard over the course of the year, and now is the time to make sure they know you value their contributions. You can hand out awards, for instance, for achievements. Try to include everyone in some way, and don’t leave the planning for this until the last moment.

 

With these goals in mind, you can begin your search for the ideal keynote speaker for your annual sales event. There are certain traits that indicate the right person, the one who can develop your professionals and motivate them. The one who can uplift them with deserved recognition and prepare them for the coming year. These are ten key traits to look for when choosing the keynote speaker for an annual sales conference.

 

1. They have a strong social media presence. Modern conference speakers engage with a following on social media. The number of followers can be faked, but true audience engagement cannot. Look for a speaker who knows the importance of social media engagement.

 

2. They don’t work for free. They say you get what you pay for, and this usually proves to be true. A gifted speaker is in demand and unless it is for a cause, does not usually choose to donate his or her time for free. A lot of work goes into making a good keynote speech for any type of conference, and a good speaker is going to charge a fee for that.

 

3. They are active on Slideshare. Professional quality slides are a given with an ideal speaker. When a speaker has put in the effort to make slides of quality, they will cultivate a following on Slideshare. Look for engagement there as a sign of a worthwhile speaker.

 

4. They know audio and video. A good speaker will ask you questions about your setup. They will want to know the projector display ratio and whether there is WI-FI available. They will ask about mobile apps for the event. A good speaker is knowledgeable and their questions will demonstrate this to you.

 

5. Their slides are professional quality. The slides are a key component of the speech, and will aid in maintaining audience engagement. If a speaker has poor slides, the audience will lose trust.

 

6. They solicit the audience’s opinion. Every event should poll the audience while it is going on. A good speaker will be familiar with the practice and use it him or herself.

 

7. They know your audience. A good speaker will get to know your audience before the event. This way, he or she can address specific points important to your team and even participate in the recognition portion of the event. The more the speaker tailors the speech to the audience, the more engaged the audience will be.

 

8. They get audience members to interact with each other. When a speaker has electrified the audience, they will engage with each other, not just sit there and passively listen to the speaker.

 

9. They engage with the mobile app of the event. Every event should have a mobile app, and a sign of a good speaker is that he or she engages with that app to make the most of the event.

 

10. Their content is meaningful. A modern speaker knows how to use social media like Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube videos to make their content relevant and accessible before, during and after the show.

 

The right keynote speaker at your annual sales conference can give your sales team a sense of satisfaction in what they have accomplished, give them some professional development and leave them eager for the coming year’s challenges. The event should be a reward and an inspiration. Knowing what to look for in potential keynote speaker candidates is vitally important to choosing the right speaker for your event. Keep these qualities in mind when the time comes to find the right speaker for your annual sales event.

How a Keynote Speech Transforms an Event

The keynote speaker sets the tone of a meeting or event. He or she will usually kick things off with a speech that is longer than most or all other speeches or addresses delivered during the event, such as a weekend conference. The keynote speech will be a broad speech, covering many topics. The other speakers will then dig deeper into one aspect of the keynote speech. Whatever the theme of the conference, the keynote summarizes the ideas that follow and generates excitement for the event.

For people who do not attend the event but still have some interest in the topic, the keynote speech is what they will most likely listen to later. For this reason, the keynote speech can serve as an advertisement for the entire conference. It is quite common, therefore, to get a popular personality or a person of prominence or notoriety to deliver the keynote address.

A keynote speaker is often confused with other kinds of speakers, such as a motivational speaker. However, while a keynote speaker can motivate people, the terms are not synonymous. A keynote speaker is the one who delivers the big picture speech to the audience, who develops the overall theme of an event and creates expectations for what is to come. In whatever manner he or she chooses to do that, whether by motivation, humor, edification or other method, the speech that kicks off the event with the broadest coverage of what is to come is the identifiable keynote speech.

 

What Kind of Keynote Speaker Is the Right Choice?

Some occasions call for a specific kind of keynote speaker due to the type of event, while other occasions lend themselves to a less-specific style of speaker. It all comes down to subject matter, audience and what the goals of the organization are. An event organizer needs to consider what the specific goal of the event is for the organization. There are several possibilities.

  • It could be a scientific symposium or a political event about an important issue. If the main goal of the event is to educate the audience, the speaker will have to have a familiarity with the topic. If the audience is going to consist of experts in the field, the keynote speaker must have impeccable credentials. If it will be a general audience, the keynote speaker will need to be adept at communicating material to a lay audience.

 

  • Motivation is often the goal for sales conferences, or other industry-specific events open to people working in the field. In this case, the keynote speaker will need a flare for oratory. However, it will also be important to set an example. At a sales conference, a motivational keynote speaker should have achieved something notable in the field, or in some way done remarkable things through dedication and effort.

 

  • An inspirational speaker is like a motivational one, and often the same person can deliver both kinds of keynote address. An inspirational speaker often focuses on overcoming the odds. This type of keynote speaker, for instance, might have excelled as an editor despite being dyslexic, or lost his or her legs in combat and has learned to live a fulfilling live despite their setback. An inspirational speaker focuses on a feeling and a lesson, while a motivational speaker focuses on action.

 

  • Promote change. If the goal of an event is to achieve change in behavior or attitude, a keynote speaker who can motivate as well as educate might be the best solution. The purely motivational speaker is often speaking to people who already share a common goal and are just looking for some emotional energy to get them going. An educational speaker is usually addressing an audience that came eager to learn. An organization that seeks change may have to overcome biases and predispositions in the audience, and so a more complex approach is warranted.

 

  • Increase Awareness. If there is an important issue that an organization deals with, the first step on the path to promoting change could be raising the awareness of the general public. An educational speaker may tell an audience of professionals about a new cancer therapy, but a keynote speaker who seeks to increase awareness will speak more about the prevalence and consequences of cancer to a more general audience. If the goal is to increase awareness, expertise in a subject matter may be less important than the high profile of the keynote speaker.

 

  • Promote development. This sort of keynote speech is usually for professionals of a common industry. There should be an element of education as well as motivation. The keynote speaker must have experience in the industry, a recognized leader with many stories to tell and a wealth of wisdom gained from experience. In dynamic, evolving industries the keynote speech may highlight the latest advances and developments in the industry.

 

  • Sometimes the goal is simply to entertain. Rather than giving an overview of a theme or delivering the essence of a conference, the keynote speech is more about setting the right mood. The event may not have a single topic and thus there is no core theme to sketch during the speech. The event organizers simply want to make sure the audience enjoys themselves. The keynote speaker should have a gift for connecting with an audience. A proficiency in humor is also important for such a speaker.

 

There are many ways to deliver a keynote speech. One should consider the audience and the subject matter when determining the tone and approach of the speech. Smaller conferences might have more specialists in a field and therefore the keynote speech can reflect this with more in-depth coverage. For a large audience or a lay audience, humor may work better.

The keynote address could be the most important part of a rally, meeting or conference. It is important to choose the right person who knows the subject matter but can also bring a higher profile to the proceedings.

The keynote speaker needs to understand the size and composition of the audience to fashion the appropriate speech for the occasion, and he or she must also understand the tone the organizers of the conference wish to imbue to the occasion. The success of a conference often hinges on the effectiveness of the keynote speaker; getting the keynote address right is a large part of the battle.

What Sales Metrics Should I Measure?

To make the correct decisions that will increase sales and maximize profits, a sales leader must prioritize measuring sales metrics. The results of sales metrics can decide what move to take next and whether it will benefit your company. Continue reading to learn more about sales metrics, key performance indicators, and which metrics you should keep an eye on to maintain company progress.

 

What Are Sales Metrics?

Sales metrics are data representing the performance of individuals, teams, or entire companies. Sales leaders use sales metrics to keep track of numerous information pieces about the company, some of which include:

  • Tracking progress towards goals
  • Adjusting sales compensation
  • Awarding bonuses and incentives
  • Spot areas of concern before they grow worse
  • Preparing for the future

This list barely covers all the purposes that sales metrics have for the company.

 

What Are KPIs?

KPIs (key performance indicators) are often associated with sales metrics. However, not all metrics qualify as KPIs. A KPI usually reflects a major priority or goal, such as the sales percentage of a major product a company is trying to push out. KPIs measure performance, and tie into the core strategy of a company.

In terms of sales, KPIs vary between companies and between departments. No single set of KPIs exists that a leader must supervise. Factors such as structures, targets, products, and obstacles vary between teams.

 

Sales KPIs

KPIs are the sales metrics that are important for measuring the performance of the entire company. Some of these metrics include:

  • Customer Lifetime Value. The customer lifetime value (CLV), also known as the average lifetime value (LTV), shows you how much value a specific customer brings to the company over their lifetime. LTV is usually measured at regular intervals to track changes over time. This metric the multiplication of the annual revenue provided by the customer and the years of relationship, divided by CAC.
  • Sales Growth. The most potent of the sales metrics, sales growth determines the ability of the sales team to increase revenue over a fixed amount of time. Due to its direct tie to time and revenue, it is very important, and the fate of the company depends on its growth. A large enough drop can result in the company becoming absorbed by another one.

There are several other types of KPIs, such as:

  • Total revenue
  • Market penetration
  • New business revenue
  • Existing customers’ revenue
  • Business lost to competition
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Territory revenue
  • Market revenue
  • Sales reps reaching 100% quota
  • Year-over-year growth

 

Sales Productivity Metrics

Sales productivity accounts for the rate at which a sales team hits revenue targets. The less time it takes to meet a quote, the higher the productivity is.

  • Time Spent Selling. This metric allows you to determine some of the largest time consumptions during your sale process. Lead generation is one of the biggest factors that results in lost rep time, since many reps struggle with finding leads that are interested in buying anything. Tracking the time spent will make it easier for you to determine the specific issues that are slowing down the process and resolve them.

Measuring productivity for sales reps also includes other factors (numbers), such as:

  • Calls made
  • Conversations
  • Emails sent
  • Scheduled meetings
  • Social media interactions
  • Demos and sales presentations
  • Sent proposals

 

Lead Generation Sales Metrics

These metrics measure how your sales team is prospecting.

  • Monthly New Leads. The number of leads each month measures the number of possible customers that are available in the pipeline. The leads depend on the chosen business model or the industry. Leads can either claim a free trial of your product, contact your sales team, or download a specific piece of content.
  • Average Lead Response Time. The longer it takes for your sales reps to respond to leads that show interest, the greater the chance of that sales opportunity slipping away. If a prospect is seeking a solution, and one of your reps takes 24 hours to respond, that prospect will reach out to another business. According to the Harvard Business Review, lead response time is important, as this study proves that a response time within one hour increases the rep’s chance to make a sale by seven, while it decreases by 60 if it takes 24 hours.
  • Customer Acquisition Cost. By tracking customer acquisition cost (CAC), you can understand the costs associated with business growth and expanding the customer base. This metric is particularly useful for startups attempting to demonstrate their values to their investors and to understand where to allocate your budget. To calculate CAC, you must add the money and time spent, then divide it by the customers acquired.

Other metrics (percentages) for lead generation include:

  • Dropped leads
  • Qualified leads
  • Followed-up leads
  • Followed-up leads in a time range

 

Sales Per Rep

Sometimes, to foster friendly competition, a leader will look at the sales per sales rep to see how each individual representative is performing. This metric also serves other purposes, such as making sure a rep did not chase unqualified leads to fill their pipelines, or how veteran reps may outperform newer team members.

 

Pipeline Sales Metrics

These metrics allow you to gauge the health of your sales pipeline. This information can help you understand what is working and what is not regarding the holistic sales process.

  • Sales Pipeline Coverage (SPC). This metric allows you to analyze the opportunities for your sales team on making a quota for a specific amount of time. The SPC ratio compares the capacity of the pipeline to the quota for an amount of time. Not every opportunity ends up as a sale, so it shows how many opportunities need to occur at any point.
  • Opportunity Win Rate. This metric measures the percentage of total sales opportunities that end up becoming customers. For example, 100 sale opportunities have 25 sales, which creates the rate of 25%. Calculating this metric allows you to set more attainable quotas for your team and create a more effective budget. This rate applies to both teams and individuals.

 

Other pipeline sales metrics include:
  • Average sales cycle
  • Average contract value (ACV)
  • Conversion rate by sales funnel stage (team and individual)
  • Total open opportunities by month and quarter (team and individual)
  • Total closed opportunities by month and quarter (team and individual)

 

Cannibalization Rate

Cannibalization rate refers to the impact the release of your new product has on the sales of the older products. While a company usually has a goal of releasing new, more advanced products into the market, competition between the company’s own offerings is not always beneficial. Cannibalization can make your older products obsolete and alienate part of your customer base.

 

Learn More About Sales

Learning how to measure sales metrics and how they affect your company is overwhelming for a novice, but with the right training, you can ease yourself into learning more about sales. SNI’s sales training program does not just teach “what to do” when it comes to sales, but also the “how-to.” The program takes a systematic approach to increase the effectiveness of salespeople. We even measure your progress through several metrics systems, such as key performance indicators. Sign up today.

Building Rapport With Sales Clients

One of the most essential skills salespeople must have is the ability to build a rapport with their clients. You can have an excellent product and a persuasive and researched pitch, but none of those elements will matter if you or your client do not have a connection with each other. If you want to excel at building rapport, you must have a clear rapport definition in mind. You must also develop your communication skills to bond with different clients. Learn more about rapport and bonding with clients by following the techniques below.

 

Rapport Definition

Before you even start thinking about approaching clients, you should understand what rapport means in a broader sense, and specifically within the field of business. For instance, the Oxford English dictionary defines rapport as “a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well.” Meanwhile, the Business Dictionary gives rapport the definition of “a positive or close relationship between people that often involves mutual trust, understanding and attention.”

Both definitions emphasize rapport as a close relationship. A salesperson must establish a connection with the client strong enough for the client to consider it “close”. The relationship should also be positive, harmonious, and facilitate the transfer of ideas. The second definition is slightly different in that it lists the components of rapport: the establishment of trust, understanding, and attention between the two parties.

The fact that the business-oriented definition does not differ much from the general definition also means that building rapport is not just a specific business technique, but a broader one that people use to meet their goals and improve their lives daily. Approaching the construction of rapport with a client the same way you would to have a pleasant, constructive conversation with any person can help put you at ease. If you are relaxed, you can share that feeling with the client, and that goes a long way when building rapport.

 

Mirroring Your Client

A subtle technique that creates a bond with your client fast is analyzing their body language and imitating it occasionally. Mirroring builds a subconscious connection with the person you are talking to, and when done correctly, is proven to achieve sales increases and positive evaluations. Anyone can accomplish mirroring through three steps:

  • Face your client and show attentiveness to their conversation via eye contact and nodding.
  • Match the client’s speaking volume and pace.
  • Identify the client’s punctuating action when making a point and imitate it the next time they perform it.

Remember to practice mirroring in moderation. Repeating these steps frequently can become obvious, make the customer uncomfortable, and break the connection instead of building it.

 

Asking Interesting Questions

One of the simplest methods a salesperson can use to build a rapport with clients is to learn more information about them by asking questions. When a salesperson shows interest in a client by asking questions, it shows the client they can trust the salesperson. This allows the salesperson to gather more information about the client to customize their sales platform, and keeps the client engaged throughout the process. Not every question is effective, however, so you should craft a rapport-building question carefully.

An effective question must consider the following aspects in order to build a genuine connection with the other person:

  • The question should apply specifically to the client you are seeing and the situation around both of you. Observe the person’s actions, clothing, mannerisms, and other specific details to build questions from.
  • Catching a person off-guard by asking them a nontraditional question raises their interest and keeps them engaged in the conversation.
  • At the same time, make sure that the question is not invasive or does not make the client uncomfortable.

Keep these elements in mind when coming up with the questions, and you can build rapport with a client and establish trust and understanding while also keeping their attention. A small sample of some of the best questions to ask the other person include:

  • What’s something most people don’t realize about [client’s city/state]?
  • Have you always wanted to work in [client’s field]?
  • What was your favorite class you ever took at college?
  • Are you subscribed to any newsletters or blogs about [topic, client’s industry]?
  • I noticed that your office is in [city neighborhood]. Do you like to go out to [local restaurant] to eat?
  • You seem like a busy person? Do you use any apps to keep organized? I am considering using them, so I’d appreciate some recommendations.

Asking questions that you can specialize to the client and are somewhat specific keeps conversation interesting.

 

Empathetic Statements

A salesperson must understand the client’s personality, needs, and wants in order to give their sales approach a direction. Understanding the client also helps establish a connection, as the client will feel less isolated and better about themselves. Using empathetic statements is an effective way of mirroring the person’s verbal messages, physical status, and emotions without parroting and putting off the customer.

You can build a simple empathetic statement by starting with “So, you…” followed by a small assumption about their words or their actions. Even if those assumptions are not entirely accurate, these statements demonstrate you are paying attention to the client’s actions and you are seeking to understand their feelings.

Some specific empathetic statements further develop a connection while also suggesting an action to a client.

  • Empathetic presumptive. This empathetic statement presents a presumption around a fact about the client but allows the client to interpret the fact. Whether the assumption is correct or not, the client can provide additional information that the salesperson can use to guide the conversation and dig deeper into what the client wants. For instance, if a client is looking around, the salesperson can ask, “So, you’re looking for [product].” The customer can confirm or deny it, and clarify the assumption.
  • Empathetic conditional. This statement keeps the focus on the client but adds specific circumstances where the client would decide. To follow on the previous example, after making an empathetic presumptive, if the client says they are looking for a product, but does not know if they can afford it, the salesperson can state, “So, you’d buy [product] if it was more affordable.” This allows the seller to identify with the customer’s specific issue and guide them towards a specific solution.

Using empathetic statements, you can get an understanding of the client’s goals and issues in reaching those goals without having to say much, and then you can help your client in a personal manner.

 

Listening to the Client

Gauging your client’s needs is important when understanding them, but sometimes, it is just as important to sit back and listen. If you establish a mutual interest or if the conversation takes a turn where the other person talks constantly about a hobby, a story, a problem, or any other topic, then simply listen. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the other person and how you can sell to them. In addition, the client will appreciate your consideration and interest, and when you discuss sales, they are more willing to return the favor and listen to you.

 

Establishing Trust

Another technique in presenting yourself as an ideal person to build a rapport with is establishing trust. Maintaining connections and making sales is easier if the customer believes you are reliable and dependable. There are a few steps you can take to establish trust in your client:

  • Respect the client’s time. Always arrive early when meeting with the client and never try to stop them from doing something else.
  • Sell only a realistic solution. Be honest about what you can offer to the client, and let the client make the decision.
  • Show respect towards the competition. In case the competition ever comes up in conversation, show respect and avoid trash talk. The customer will see you as mature and professional.
  • Practice authenticity. Rather than relying on programmed pitches or slogans, lead with stories or humor. This step makes you appear sincere, honest, and approachable.
  • When in doubt, offer referrals. In the rare case you cannot help your client in any way, do not hesitate to refer the customer to other qualified people who can do the task. This shows the client that you care about their wellbeing, not just their business.
  • Deliver on your promises. If you offer a realistic promise and the client takes you on it, make sure to deliver.

 

Keeping the Client’s Attention

Another important element required when building a rapport is keeping the customer’s attention. No matter how much you work to keep the conversation interesting and engaging, distractions will always manifest and hinder your communication efforts. These tips should help you keep your conversation with the customer lively, while also keeping your sale on focus.

  • Keep them involved with questions, listening to them, or filling in forms
  • Make your main point as soon as possible
  • Change the topic, pace, or emotion every 10 minutes to keep the conversation interesting
  • Use humor to ease them between points
  • Summarize your points occasionally to keep your focus

 

Take the Next Step in Building Rapport

The development of communication skills to bond with others is essential in everyday life and relationships. Now that you have a stronger sense of how to build a rapport with clients, you should take your knowledge to the next level and consider corporate sales training. The corporate sales training program at Shapiro Negotiations focuses on maximizing the effectiveness of salespeople. While the program works as a standalone sales process, it can also integrate into your existing sales skillset, giving it a boost. Sign up today to optimize your sales.

 

What Is Sales Prospecting? A Prospecting Definition and Some Tips

You’ll find the process of sales prospecting at every successful business. Prospecting involves an excavation, or a hunt for qualified leads, as well as efforts to convert them into customers. Learning the prospecting definition is only the first step toward creating opportunities for sales. The next is acquiring prospecting skills that will turn your leads into loyal, lifelong customers. Achieve more fruitful sales prospecting with these tips.

 

Prospecting Definition

Prospecting traditionally referred to the search for minerals, such as gold. As a business term, the idea remains the same: to strike “gold” in a warm sales lead. The Oxford English dictionary gives the prospecting definition of, “the possibility or likelihood of a future event occurring, or a person regarded as a potential customer.” The Business Dictionary defines a prospect as a, “potential customer qualified on the basis of his/her buying authority, financial capacity, and willingness to buy.”

In essence, sales prospecting is the act of sales reps reaching out to leads in the hope of creating sales opportunities. Prospecting can refer to marketing tactics, cold calls, email campaigns, and other ways to nurture leads. Prospecting in particular refers to reps contacting leads who have gone cold, or who have lost connection with the brand. It also encompasses researching leads and categorizing them based on their likelihood to convert.

Prospecting is a very important sales process, as it is typically the first step in the sales funnel. It involves identifying potential customers, developing a database of prospects, and then communicating with leads with the goal of converting them into customers. It can be a difficult process if a salesperson does not know what to expect or how to do it effectively.

 

What Does Sales Prospecting Look Like?

Sales prospecting secures leads and moves them through the sales funnel, until they convert into customers. A lead will become a prospect if something qualifies him or her as a potential customer. This could mean that the lead fulfills the persona of the target buyer, or that the lead has already expressed interest in the brand (clicked on the website, came to a landing page, etc.). Once the lead becomes a prospect, the real work begins. Here are the basic steps for high-converting sales prospecting:

 

1. Salespeople should know their prospects. They should conduct as much research as possible into the prospect and his or her buying habits. The goal should be to determine the quality of the lead. Come up with a set of criteria to assess the probability of the person buying. Most companies use customer relationship management (CRM) software to keep track of leads and prospects.

2. Once the salesperson has done his or her homework, it’s time to connect with the lead. Making a connect could come from a phone call, an email blast, or a personal connection. The goal of the first connect is generally to schedule a follow-up sales meeting.

3. At this stage, the rep should evaluate the prospect’s unique needs and aim to fulfill them. The salesperson should identify needs and potential objections, and prepare arguments for the service or product. The salesperson’s job is to continue moving the prospect through the sales funnel.

4. Follow-up. The follow-up connection should be the deal-closer. It is the meeting in which the salesperson puts the prospect’s fears to rest, fulfills a need, answers questions, and sets the lead up for conversion. The salesperson should make it as easy as possible for the lead to turn into a revenue-generating customer.

5. The final step in successful sales prospecting is closing the sale. A salesperson can turn to many different techniques to close a sale and convert a prospect into a customer. Closing is one of the most difficult steps in sales prospecting. It is also one of the most important skills a salesperson can master.

 

Sales prospecting generally refers to the first few steps of researching and acquiring qualified leads, as well as the initial connection. However, it can encompass every step of the sales funnel or buyer journey, until the prospect becomes a loyal customer. Like everything in business, practice makes perfect. There are proven techniques and best practices that can increase the success rate of sales prospecting in all industries. Becoming a Master Prospector takes time, training, and commitment.

 

Tips for Striking Gold While Sales Prospecting

Sales prospecting isn’t optional. It is necessary if a company wishes to grow its bottom line. Digging for new customers doesn’t have to mean reinventing the wheel. Sales reps can look at pioneers before them for proven ways to master prospecting. The following are a few tips and tricks from seasoned sales professionals:

 

  • Put in the time. Too many salespeople rush prospecting, failing to conduct proper research to discover the qualification of the lead. Setting aside time for prospecting each week can keep the pipeline full.
  • Know your personas. It may seem obvious, but knowing the buyer personas is critical for successful prospecting. Salespeople should know their ideal buyers in and out, and be able to spot them immediately.
  • Prioritize prospects. A sales rep should dedicate the majority of his or her time to the most qualified leads. Qualifying factors should group leads into categories based on their likelihood to convert. Software is available to do this automatically.
  • Personalize connections. Connecting with a prospect is much more likely to lead to a follow-up appointment if the initial message is personal. Reference a specific issue the prospect has, or mention another relevant tidbit about the person. Connect with the prospect on a personal, human level, aiming to help instead of to sell.
  • Use technology. Social media, CRM software, marketing automation, Google Alerts…there are plenty of technological solutions available to make sales prospecting easier and more effective. Use the technology at your disposal to become an efficient converting machine.

 

Being a skilled prospector is one of the most important techniques a salesperson can master. Find a mentor to teach your team the best tools and habits for success. Join the Corporate Sales Training course at SNI to discover a proven, systematic approach to maximize the effectiveness of salespeople. You and your sales reps will learn how to optimize sales prospecting, find and evaluate qualified leads, and close more sales. Sign up today.

7 Things That Must Go in a Cold Call Script

Cold calling is not dead. In fact, 78% of consumers in a 2018 poll took an appointment or attended an event they learned about through a cold call. When done right, cold calling can be more effective than other types of marketing efforts.

To achieve success with this sales tactic, however, your reps must be prepared with a flawless cold call script. The strength and effectiveness of a cold call script template can determine whether the seller will clinch a sale or annoy the consumer. Insert the following seven things in your company’s cold call script for maximum persuasive power.

 

1. A Strong Introduction

The way a salesperson opens a cold call to a prospect is key. A cold call script must start with an excellent opener. Opening with a boring statement, a mumbled greeting, or too many questions can immediately turn a prospect off and stop the conversation in its tracks. The salesperson should come off confident, friendly, and positive to warm up the cold call. He or she shouldn’t rush the introduction. Instead, the seller should take his/her time saying, “Hello, I’m [Name] from [Company].” A simple but clear introduction can start the conversation on the right foot.

Make sure your company’s script template starts with a concise but positive introduction, followed by something light and conversational, ideally with personal details about the prospect’s life. A simple, “How are you?” can multiply the odds of success by 3.4. Do not start immediately with a bunch of questions. This can make the call feel like an interrogation, and put the prospect on the defensive. Instead, your salespeople should take their time and avoid sounding pushy. They only have a few seconds to form a first impression, so they should start with a concise pitch.

 

2. Personalized Connections

Although cold calling is about selling a product over the phone, the best way to seal the deal is by starting a conversation. Make the call more about a connection than about prospecting. Studies show that the longer a salesperson can keep a prospect on the phone, the higher the odds are of a sale. Striking up a conversation with the recipient can increase call duration and create a back-and-forth dialogue that can help the seller succeed. Instead of making the cold call feel like an interrogation or a preloaded list of questions, sellers should insert personalized details into the cold call script, such as:

  • Where the prospect went to college
  • The prospect’s home sports team
  • What the prospect does for a living
  • A fun fact about the seller
  • How the seller has helped similar prospects or companies

Get this information from your company’s research prior to making the calls. Your team should have identified the best prospects for the product, and spent time researching any available information about each person. This should give your reps plenty of talking points that sound personal, friendly, and conversational. Your sellers should open the prospect up to the idea of chatting, rather than making the call about sales alone.

 

3. Good Questions

The questions a salesperson asks during the call can make all the difference. For this marketing practice to work, the seller must know exactly what questions to ask, and when to ask them. One study on cold calling analyzed 519,000 calls to draw connections between the script template and the effectiveness of the call. The study found that the ideal number of questions to ask during a discovery call is 11 to 14. Asking more or less than this range drops the effectiveness of the call equally. The best questions during a cold call are leading:

  • What’s it like living next to/in [insert city or landmark]?
  • What are your top [insert industry] priorities right now?
  • What would make you more likely to switch companies?
  • What concerns do you have about switching?
  • How can we best serve you?

These questions encourage conversation, rather than allowing the prospect to simply answer yes or no. Furthermore, good salespeople spread questions evenly throughout the conversation. This maintains a more positive pace throughout the conversation, rather than several questions frontloaded at the start of the call. Your sales reps should think about the call like a tennis match, with a lot of back and forth. The right questions can lead to a more naturally flowing conversation.

 

4. Collaborative Words

Prospects prefer to talk about themselves rather than hear about the salesperson. The same study of 519,000 cold calls found that using collaborative words, rather than “I,” increased success rates by 35%. Similarly, the number of “our” vs. “my” in the analyzed calls was 55% higher in successful calls than unsuccessful ones. According to another analysis of over 500,000 sales calls, top sellers were 10 times more likely to use collaborative language than low-performing ones.

Collaborative language is more inclusive. This gives the prospect the impression that the seller is part of something bigger, rather than on his or her own. The impression of a company supporting the seller’s promises can foster greater trust in the salesperson. Collaborative language also serves to include the prospect in the conversation, rather than isolating the seller and creating separation.

 

5. Solutions for Common Objections

Every good cold call script must include go-to answers or solutions for common prospect objections. Around 35% of salespeople say overcoming price objections is the biggest challenge they face. Preparing for objections and having proven handling techniques ready could save an otherwise doomed cold call. A few tips include:

  • Pausing for at least a few seconds after an objection.
  • Continuing to talk at the same slow, back-and-forth pace as before.
  • Clarifying the prospect’s concerns with questions.
  • Confirming that you’re both on the same page.
  • Connecting with a fellow salesperson or manager for a team sales strategy.

In answering an objection, a salesperson should use the most effective language possible. This means using the strongest words to get a point across. Words like “imagine,” “successful,” “fair,” and other decisive language can help restore confidence in the seller and bring the conversation back to a light and positive place. Giving your salespeople a cold call script with best practices for answering common objections already built in can help them increase the duration of calls.

 

6. A Strong Closer

Making sales is all about the closer. Successful prospecting is all about planting seeds and getting follow-ups. The best cold call script templates stress the importance of the salesperson’s closing statements. A seller should always have more reasons for a person to buy than the number of objections. Closers should be persistent, and can be more straightforward than the rest of the conversation. It is the rep’s chance to ask the buyer one more time, or to circle back to the sale after receiving a no.

Closers are also the most appropriate place to insert discussions about price. Since price is one of the most common prospect objections, introducing price at the end of the conversation can reduce the odds of the buyer rejecting the offer. Your salespeople should give the price of the product or service as close to the end of the conversation as possible to avoid objections. At this point, the prospect is already more likely to buy. Tie the prospect’s financial goals to the closing statements. Position the product or service as the solution. The goal of the closer should be to either close the deal or get a follow-up.

 

7. Conviction from Beginning to End

Although not necessarily something in the cold call script, it is important for salespeople to use conviction during cold calls. Nothing convinces like conviction. Words that inspire confidence can help close sales. The most successful cold callers use affirmative, confident terms throughout the call, such as “absolutely,” “definitely,” and “certainly.” These words show a prospect the seller knows what he or she is talking about, and is willing to guarantee the truth behind his/her words. Conviction from start to finish during a cold call conversation can make the prospect trust the seller, and be more willing to give them his/her business.

Good sellers often practice cold calling by recording themselves speaking out loud. That way, they can hear whether their voices come off with enough strength, confidence, and conviction. A good script template is important, but delivery is where the magic happens. Sales reps must deliver scripts with confidence for them to be effective. Believing in the product or service and being extremely knowledgeable about it can help a salesperson achieve a strong tone of conviction.

 

Improve Cold Call Scripts, Increase Your Bottom Line

Cold calling does not have to be uncomfortable or pushy. It can be warm, friendly, inviting, and effective with the right script. Cold calling may be one of the most difficult marketing techniques to perfect, but the results can be worth the effort. Your team’s success depends on the tools you give them for closing sales. Excellent sales training can help a team of cold callers achieve better results from their efforts.

Shapiro Negotiations knows how to get real, measurable results from cold calling. Our corporate sales training program teaches top-converting tools, habits, and processes for optimal sales success. One of the modules in this program focuses specifically on how to overcome potential customer objections with confidence. Learn new tips and tricks for cold calling, build trust more quickly with prospects, and increase your bottom line.

 

How to Have an Effective Sales Meeting

If sales meetings feel more like necessary evils than productive meetings of the mind, you may have an issue with management. It is up to you to breathe new life into your weekly sales meetings. It is possible to get more from your meetings and make them more enjoyable for your team. All it takes is a little advice on how to run a meeting, and a few top-shelf sales meeting ideas. Use these tips to achieve more effective sales meetings at your enterprise.

 

Prepare Talking Points

As a sales meeting leader, it is your job to use the allotted time wisely. One of the most time-consuming issues many meetings encounter is lack of direction. Without clear leadership for the meeting on your part, your salespeople will lose focus and the whole meeting may run off track. This means more wasted time calling your team to order and figuring out what to discuss next. Preparation is key for a strong, productive sales meeting.

Create an agenda to make the most of your meeting time. Your agenda should be as detailed as possible, creating a step-by-step guideline you can use to walk your team through the meeting. The more you prepare for a meeting, the easier it will be to stick to your most important talking points. Prioritize your agenda in order from most important to least important. That way, if you run out of time, your team will at least have gotten the most critical points you needed to make.

Send a copy of the agenda to all reps who will be attending. That way, your salespeople can peruse the items on the list, prepare questions ahead of time, and be ready to dive right into the topics when they arrive in the conference room. This can eliminate wasted time reading over lists during the actual meeting, as well as give your team more time to come up with value-driven questions.

 

Ask the Right Questions

Productive sales meetings ask the right questions. The goal of a sales meeting is to answer important questions, come up with new marketing ideas, and to increase sales in the future. Write down a list of questions prior to the meeting so you can come prepared. Before you plan your meeting, ask yourself questions such as:

  • What is the purpose of this meeting?
  • What challenges are we facing today?
  • How long will this meeting need to last?
  • Who is in charge?
  • What actions do we need to take next?

Answering these questions will give your meeting greater direction and purpose. Once you have the answers to these questions, you can start giving your sales meeting agenda shape. The amount of time you’ll have, for example, can dictate how many topics you’ll have time to sufficiently cover.

 

Focus on One Key Issue

Another common problem with sales meetings is an overambitious leader. You may have a long list of things you wish to discuss with your team, but laying them all out at once might not be the most efficient way to run a meeting. Tackling too many talking points results in the inability to dive into the most important issues. Instead of covering more ground, you’ll really be taking a step backward.

Your meeting will run smoother and be more productive if you control the agenda by choosing one main item to discuss per meeting. This is why weekly sales meetings are often necessary – to cover a wider range of topics without stuffing too many discussions into a single conference. Your team will benefit from the ability to review one topic in-depth, with ample time to take notes and ask questions, more than several topics briefly discussed.

 

Think About Your Team’s Interests

The most effective sales meetings are the ones in which everyone feels encouraged to contribute to the conversation. Sharing ideas and bouncing ideas off one another can help you keep everyone engaged and review a topic more thoroughly. Generate a steady stream of sales ideas during a meeting with a bit of motivation:

  • Give incentives for good ideas
  • Build a more creative meeting environment
  • Be transparent with business goals
  • Ask your team questions and listen to their answers
  • Encourage “no bad questions” and mistakes
  • Provide positive reinforcement for idea-makers

Making your sales meeting more relevant for the reps attending can spark innovations, motivate salespeople to do better, build better workplace culture, and keep everyone on the same page for the duration of the meeting. It can show your reps you appreciate their hard work and loyalty, and make them want to show you the same kind of respect during meetings.

 

Start on a Positive Note

Most salespeople do not look forward to sales meetings. Yet if they know there is a chance a higher-up will recognize them for outstanding performance that week, they may have more of a reason to anticipate a meeting in a positive light. Start each sales meeting by recognizing performance. Consider giving incentives to top performers during each meeting. Put it at the start of the meeting to begin on a positive note, and to make sure you always have time to get to it. This can help your team look forward to attending each week.

 

Stick to Your Time Frame

Never host an open-ended sales meeting. This not only can allow your meeting to run on for an indeterminate amount of time, but it can also make your salespeople dread future meetings, since they do not know how long they may last. Your reps will benefit from having some expectation of meeting timeline and structure. Decide how long your sales meeting will last and stick to this time frame as much as you can.

Announce to your salespeople the exact start and finish times of your sales meeting. That way, they will know exactly how much time they will have to discuss a topic and ask their questions. A strict deadline to finish the meeting can create healthy pressure for everyone to focus, stay on topic, and use the time wisely. It can also help eliminate dawdling, chatting, and getting off-topic for an overall more productive meeting.

 

Come Away With Specific Action Steps

One of the most important aspects of any great sales meeting is how it will shape the future of the company. Sales meetings should not only review past performance and check in on where salespeople are now – it should set them up for success post-meeting. As the leader of a sales meeting, make sure to come away with specific action steps and a timeline for completing them. You should at least have the next step to continue moving the process forward. The next step may include:

  • Sending follow-up emails or calls to prospects
  • Initiating a new idea for better sales
  • Writing or rehearsing sales scripts
  • Developing new sales skills
  • Scheduling sales training sessions

Give your sales reps a clear next step post-meeting, for better direction and a more productive workplace. Show your reps that sales meetings are more than just a monotonous necessity, but a way to motivate real change and improvements in marketing. Giving actionable steps and advice for what to do after a meeting can give your employees a purpose and boost productivity.

 

Revisit Sales Training

Curious about how to make your sales meetings even more effective? Invest in corporate sales training for fresh sales meeting ideas, total meeting overhauls, or coaching on how to run a meeting. Sales meetings can make a real difference for your organization. Contact us for more information about sales training today. Your team – and your bottom line – will thank you.

New Sales Tips and Trends for 2019

As a salesperson, you always want to improve your sales techniques, volume, and practices. There’s always room for improvement in the fast-paced sales world. Our experts at Shapiro Negotiation designed our Corporate Sales Training Program to equip you with cutting-edge tools, habits, and techniques to increase your sales efficiency. Using our six-step approach to sales techniques, you’ll be able to close deals and sniff out prospects in an effective manner.

Here are a few tips that you can utilize to improve your sales efficiency today.

 

Keep Track of Prospects

Prospecting is a mindset and a practice that should be applied everywhere you go. Always think about where your next sale is or who your next lead will be when going about your daily sales operations. In addition, keep track of your best prospecting practices for reference.

Keeping a running document of prospecting tips can help you perform at peak efficiency. Record your best opening lines from emails, cold calling scripts, and LinkedIn practices that have won clients over. Refer to this document and keep adding to it to create a comprehensive prospect guide.

 

Know How to Qualify a Lead

Lead qualification is an important skill that all salespeople should master. This process helps you determine how to approach a potential client with your sales pitch. Knowing what their needs are can help you connect a potential lead with your company’s goods and services.

Always analyze the following key factors to determine if you should pursue a lead:

  • Budget: Can the lead afford your product?
  • Need: Does the lead have a need for your product and how can your product satisfy that need?
  • Interest: Has the lead expressed interest in a similar product before?
  • Role: Does the contact person for that lead have the authority to purchase your product? If not, can you reach the person with that authority?
  • Timing: Does the lead need your product within a certain timeframe? Can you and your company satisfy that time frame?

 

Prepare Questions

You want your leads to feel connected to you and your company. This will encourage them to purchase your product. To establish credibility with your potential client, make sure to adequately research and prepare materials before meeting with them.

A great way to establish a relationship with your client is to ask them engaging questions. What is their current experience without your product like? How can you help solve their problems? What do they wish they could have to make their job easier? All of these questions create a connection between you and your client. In addition, good preparation signals to the client that you care about their experience with your company.

 

Provide Options and a Safety Net

Presenting your potential client with one product option can put a lot of pressure on the client. They might become hesitant and refrain from committing to a purchase. To alleviate this risk, make sure to present your client with at least three product options so they feel in control of the sales situation.

In addition, you should also provide a safety net in case they don’t enjoy your product. This could be a free trial, a money back guarantee, or a product pilot. These techniques will ease your client into a sense of security when it’s time to close the deal.

 

Focus on Trustworthiness

A client will not commit to a purchase if they don’t trust you. It is up to you as the salesperson to build a trustworthy rapport with the client by integrating credibility, integrity, and reliability into your sales calls.

Before your meeting, research beforehand and make sure you prepare questions and sales points. This signals to the client that you are credible and knowledgeable. Always keep your client’s best interest in mind when negotiating a deal. In addition, always deliver what you say you’re going to deliver. In fact, you should over-deliver whenever possible. These actions combined will allow a client to feel at ease and develop a sense of trust.

 

Interested in gaining in-depth knowledge and interactive practice with these sales techniques? Shapiro Negotiation’s Corporate Sales Training Program uses this curriculum to provide sales professionals with the habits, tools, and practices they need for optimal sales success. Our workshops offer an integrated and systematic approach and expert design to the corporate sales world.

Contact Shapiro Negotiations to schedule a training session for your team today.

Why Am I Not Hitting My Sales Goals? Here Are 10 Possible Ways to Hit My Goals

If you are a leader of a corporate sales team, you are constantly searching for ways to boost sales volume and flow. Effectively marketing products and services to potential clients is more difficult than it seems – a fact that you and your team know well. The key to effective sales goal attainment lies in strong leadership, close communication, and personal motivation.

How do you implement measures to encourage these factors among your sales team and achieve your target sales? There are certain behaviors and initiatives that you can begin practicing around the office. By encouraging team building, knowledge, and positivity, your team will have the tools and confidence they need to enter difficult sales situations.

 

1. Set Clear Goals

Your sales reps need to know the exact set of goals they need to attain in order to reach peak sales performance. They need to know the number of leads they must obtain, the prospects they need to contact, and the total revenue the company wants to bring in. Often, corporate operations unintentionally shroud these goals from salespeople on the ground.

Keeping the details of your sales goals a mystery isn’t useful for your sales team. Communicate your goals clearly and regularly to your team. Send out an email with the goal for that week to everyone on the team. Write each week’s goal on a whiteboard and display it in the office. Encourage your team to ask questions about the sales goals if they need clarification. This practice encourages open communication between higher ups and the people who drive sales volume.

 

2. Take Advantage of Technology

In today’s modern world, we’re constantly connected to vast amounts of data at our fingertips. Why don’t we take advantage of this technology to drive our sales volume? When your salespeople are out in the field, they may need to contact another sales rep or look up information on a product.

Developing an app that lists product specifications can help your salespeople have instant access to product knowledge, boosting your company’s credibility among your consumer base. Consider using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform to further connect your salespeople to their potential clients.

 

3. Encourage Mentorship

When new salespeople join your team, they are at a disadvantage when compared to your more senior sales reps. A seniority divide can alienate your younger sales reps and decrease their confidence in the field, which can hurt your sales goal attainment. Instead of encouraging competition between your older and younger salespeople, encourage mentorship between the two groups.

You can formally pair a new salesperson with a more senior level employee to help orient them to your company. The older employee can discuss their experience in the position and offer coaching for the new rep’s first sales call or field day. When every team member is on the same level of achievement, the whole company will succeed.

 

4. Fail as a Team

It’s easy to place blame on an individual salesperson for the loss of a contract or important lead. However, public shaming can alienate that rep, further weakening your company’s potential for sales goal attainment. Avoid singling out any weak links and encourage your team to examine the failure as a team effort.

If a salesperson believes that he or she is to blame for a sales goal failure, this could lead them to focus only on their individual performance. This leads to less focus on strengthening the team as a whole. You want to develop a team mindset. Always examine failures as a team effort – and make sure to celebrate your successes as a team as well.

 

5. Celebrate Accomplishments

While you should focus on team interactions to encourage sales team growth, you shouldn’t shy away from rewarding individuals who deserve it. Don’t be afraid to congratulate a colleague for landing a major deal or for increasing the team’s sales volume by 5%. Not only will this leave that salesperson with pride, they will be excited to continue contributing to the team effort. In addition, your other salespeople will want to work at peak performance so that they can receive recognition as well.

However, always treat the success of an individual as a success for the team as well. This helps you practice individual praise with team building.

 

6. Listen to Feedback

The best leaders understand that they can always improve. Feedback is a crucial part of figuring out if your leadership and team management style is effective for your salespeople. If you’re doing something that isn’t helpful, you’ll want to catch it before it affects your sales goals.

To combat this, consider administering a monthly or quarterly survey to collect employee feedback. Ask questions about the workplace environment, about specific practices and trainings, and what you could do to improve the quality of their job experience. You should keep this survey anonymous for optimal honesty. Review survey responses carefully and incorporate changes into your daily leadership practice.

 

7. Avoid Internal Competition

Similar to pitting older and younger salespeople against each other, you should always avoid internal competition among your team. It has been a common practice to split a sales team into factions and encourage each faction to beat the others in sales volume. This is not an effective way to encourage long-term sales goal attainment.

Always emphasize teamwork and collaboration within your sales team. Friendly internal competition can take place against other departments, but save any inter-team conflict for the company picnic.

 

8. Utilize Your Company’s Mission

Your sales team wants to feel like they’re part of attaining a larger goal or ultimate mission through their work. Working with a purpose will make reaching target sales feel like even more of an accomplishment. In addition, your sales team will become more motivated to reach sales goals.

To encourage this, share your company’s mission statement with your sales team. Have a discussion on what the mission means for your team. Identify what actions you can take to turn the mission into reality. Try to incorporate aspects of the mission statement into your sales goals, meetings, and training sessions. This will create the sense of working towards a larger goal and motivate your reps.

 

9. Track Sales Performance

You should implement a system that tracks your team’s sales performance throughout the overall sales cycle and allows you to target areas of improvement. While this may seem like an obvious action, you should always monitor your team’s actual sales performance. Many team leaders neglect regular performance analysis in the hustle and bustle of the corporate world. Set aside time every day to review your team’s performance and identify improvement actions for specific members. Remember not to single out or publicly share failures of individual sales representatives.

 

10. Provide Creative Incentives

Don’t be afraid to inject some fun into the workplace. Many effective team leaders encourage their sales reps to attain their sales goals by implementing an interesting team incentive. These incentives can be as simple as buying donuts and coffee for the office on Friday to hosting an outing to a sports game. These rewards will encourage your sales team to work even harder towards their sales goals.

If you want to get a bit more unusual, some team leaders even pledge to shave their heads, wear a fun costume, or allow their employees to throw pies in their face when they achieve a sales goal. Remember to keep these incentives appropriate for the workplace, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Stay professional and have fun!

 

Do you want to help your team meet their sales goals using an expertly designed training program? Contact Shapiro Negotiations to inquire about our corporate sales training sessions today.

We offer integrated and systematic approaches to sales that will help boost your team’s confidence, lead procurement, and sales volume. Shapiro Negotiations will provide your company with the habits, tools, and processes necessary for greater sales success.

 

 

SNI’s Guide to the 2018 Training Industry Report

The 37th edition of the Training Industry Report has been released by Training Magazine. From its results, training industry experts, corporate leadership, and company training staff can gain valuable insight into the current status of training programs across the country. In addition, the findings of this report enables industry professionals to benchmark against industry standards and trends.

The Shapiro Negotiations Institute (SNI) is not exempt from this learning opportunity. We find this annual report very valuable and as a result have decided to create this post in order to pass along some of our takeaways to our community.

 

Report Methodology

The first Training Industry Report was released 37 years ago and the publication is now a trusted source of data for industry professionals and corporate leadership alike. During May and June 2018, an independent research company collected data from Training Magazine member companies via an online survey. Only U.S.-based corporations from Training Magazine’s database were included in this report.

Out of the 271 responses to the study:

  • 36% of responses came from small companies of 100 to 999 employees
  • 41% came from midsize companies with 1,000 to 9,999 employees
  • 23% came from large companies with over 10,000 employees

Survey demographics show a wide range of industry classifications and job functions.

  • 17% of respondents worked in the health/medical services industry
  • 11% came from finance and banking companies
  • 10% worked in manufacturing

Top job roles include managers and high-level company leadership (61%), developers and instructional designers (17%), and mid- and low-level company employees (22%).

 

Time, Money, and Services: Training Expenditure Data

According to the report, training expenditures across respondents’ companies decreased by 6.4%. Total expenditures, including payroll and training products and services, totaled $87.6 billion. Of that total, $47 billion was spent on payroll for training professionals and $11 billion was spent on external goods and services.

In addition, professionals selected top training materials that they plan to purchase in the upcoming year. The most popular products and services include:

  • Online learning tools and systems (41% of respondents)
  • Learning management systems (33%)
  • Classroom tools and systems (32%)
  • Content development (31%)
  • Authoring tools and systems (27%)

It is no surprise that the data shows that professionals continue to transition more spending from classrooms to online. That said, it is interesting to know that classroom tools are still a priority. Consistent with this report, SNI has spent a great deal of effort developing new online learning tools and seen a great deal of success; however, we still believe that classroom is the best environment for an original session and online is the best medium for reinforcement.

 

Delivery Trends and Techniques

Companies utilized a mix of classroom learning, online learning, and blended techniques for training administration over the past year.

  • 79% of small companies, 86% of midsize companies, and 43% of large companies utilized blended learning techniques in 2018.
  • 39% of small companies, 35% of midsize companies, and 31% of large companies used instructor-led classrooms only.
  • 8% of small companies, 10% of midsize companies, and 14% of large companies used a virtual classroom.
  • 24% of small companies, 28% to midsize companies, and 24% of large companies used an online method without an instructor.
  • Mobile and social learning were used significantly less than the other methods, ranging from 0% to 3% per company size and category.

It was interesting to note that blended learning techniques are the most common across all company sizes – this is not only what we would expect but also what we recommend. We were surprised to see that a very small percentage use mobile and social learning but we expect those numbers to grow as organizations are willing to give it a try, especially with the steadily decreasing average age in the workforce and as new technology and platforms continue to be developed.

 

Training Outsourcing and Expert Mobility

Many companies recognize that they lack expertise in some subject areas. They also understand and recognize the value of expert training programs and organizations like SNI. As a result, we were pleased to see that this report found the companies were increasing their expenditures for training outsourcing. On average, companies spent $422,321 in 2018 on training outsourcing versus $219,265 in 2017.

  • 56% of small companies, 55% a midsize companies, and 49% of large companies indicated that they outsourced instruction and facilitation services in 2018.
  • 48% of small companies, 50% of midsize companies, and 54% of large companies outsourced learning management system operations.
  • 34% of small companies, 53% of midsize companies, and 60% of large companies outsourced custom content development.

It is important to note that there are hybrid models available. For example, we recently implemented a large train-the-trainer program with a client that wanted to train thousands of sales people across the country. In this case we developed the curriculum, customized it, and then taught our client’s internal trainers how to teach the class. The result – our expertise, content, and customization combined with internal control and flexibility, and the cost savings that come with it.

 

2018 Training Industry Takeaways

Training industry professionals can learn key lessons from this data.

  • Most companies have been investing in technologically-based training materials and methods, such as learning management systems, custom content development, virtual classrooms, and other e-learning tools for years. Those who have not are now the minority and likely considering it in 2019. SNI has experienced this first hand with clients and as a result developed several online training platforms and online training programs – many of which are mobile-friendly or mobile-based in order to be ahead of the curve and continue to push the envelope the use of technology in education.
  • Companies are increasingly strategic in how they incorporate expert knowledge from outside sources. SNI has seem this first hand as organizations reach out because they are looking for a fresh perspective or simply do not have expertise around negotiation training. We have seen this in particular with smaller firms that simply do not have the staff or larger companies that are looking for world-class expertise.

 

If you have any questions about this summary, or for more information about our training, feel free to contact SNI at 410-662-4764.