Sales leaders – You need to build a sales academy

In this article, the top sales leader from Triptease shows us the importance of proper training for your salespeople.

Last month we staged our 3rd Sales Confidence live event at Level 39 in the Canary Wharf Tower. 350 SaaS enthusiasts gathered to hear 3 of the most relevant sales leaders in London tell us their secrets. Even if you couldn’t make it, we want to share the inspiration and education with you through our articles.

Peter Crosby

Peter Crosby is the Chief Sales Officer at Triptease, the direct booking SaaS platform to the world’s best hotels. He is also the #1 on our Sales Confidence Top 50 Sales Leaders list. We were thrilled to have Peter speak for us.

Peter’s talk was about coaching new starters at your SaaS company. His first point concerned visualisation when you’re preparing for an important sales meeting. You can read about it here.

The problem

Peter went on to outline a problem facing organisations when they hire new salespeople.

‘80% of companies stick their sales guys on the phone within a week. They’re burning leads. They’re talking to people and they’re not using the right process at all.’

This is a clearly a problem from the company’s point of view. They’re wasting valuable leads on people who can’t possibly be able to give a good selling experience.

It’s not great from the salesperson’s perspective either. I know people who have been in this situation and it’s terrible. You know you’re not ready to start selling yet, but there you are. The attitude from the company is, ‘You got this job because you said you could sell. Get out there and sell.’ You’re expected to learn on the job, stutter and bluff and learn from your mistakes until eventually you’re up to speed. It can be demotivating.

The solution

Peter identified a solution, the one they use at Triptease. A sales academy. A sales academy is a comprehensive training and development programme that guides new starters through the company and its processes.

Academy students will learn everything about the company, as well as the most effective ways to sell their products and services. They will learn transferrable sales skills, as well as spend time with other people in the company to get up to speed with what they do.

Here’s how it works with Peter at Triptease.

‘We spend the first 3 months, giving them time, about half a day every week, training them in sales techniques. We go really, really deep.’

‘For the second 3 months, we let them choose their options. They may start in sales development, and maybe that’s what they want to do. But, maybe they want to be in inside sales, or maybe they want to go to the dark side and do customer success, or even marketing or PR. They spend 3 months learning from people in the business who do that.’

Benefits of a sales academy

There are so many benefits of creating a sales academy, on both sides, company and salesperson.

For the company, the most immediate benefit is that they can be the salesperson dealing with customers on their behalf actually knows what they’re doing, and is selling effectively. You know they’re not saying the wrong things, and that they’re overcoming any objections in the right way. However, Peter identified another benefit for the company.

‘Our academy does a couple of things. The first thing is, it says, ‘I really care. You are not just a phone monkey. You’re not just here to book appointments for people. We want you to build a career here.’’

‘It also says, ‘We believe sales development is a difficult job. It doesn’t take a week to get good at that. It takes months.’ So it helps with retention.’

The fact that new starters spend 3 months working in different departments helps the company too.

‘It means that when we’re ready to hire a customer success person, for example, now we have a substitute’s bench who are already well-qualified, and fit in with the culture of the business.’

For the salespeople, it means they can be confident that when they hit the phones and speak to customers, they will not feel high and dry. They know how to sell their product.

It also gives them sales skills that will make them effective anywhere. When they choose to leave the company, completing a sales academy looks great on the CV and will give them an advantage over the competition. Joining another department for 3 months broadens their horizons.

Finally, it gets them used to being trained and coached. At a company like Triptease, where salespeople are coached on a daily basis, it’s important to get in this mindset.

Ready for action

To conclude, it’s pretty clear that the benefits of setting up a sales academy make it worth holding back your new starters for 6 months or so. That’s before you factor in the leads you waste giving them to inexperienced salespeople. If you don’t have a sales academy at your organisation, I’d advise you start building one now.

What do you think? Did you go through a sales academy when you started at a new company? How did it affect your career? Leave us a comment to let us know.

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