Why upskilling is so important for sales improvement

By Henrik Troselius - June 29, 2018

When we discuss how sales organisations can improve their performance, we focus a lot on the sales process and how we can implement changes that make it more effective and efficient. But a very important aspect is to also take a look at the individuals in our sales team, and find ways to maximize their strengths, and improve their weak areas. Upskilling can play an important role in improving these individual weak areas, and is the reason upskilling is so important for overall sales improvement.

What is upskilling?

Upskilling is a way to expand the capabilities of an employee. Think of it as on-the-job training in specific areas that will either improve performance or hone skills that will allow them to increase responsibilities or take on new duties.

There are many ways to implement upskilling in various organisations, but for sales teams, collaboration, evaluation, and coaching are some of the most effective ways for staff to develop their skill sets and turn them into true assets on your team.

What are the benefits of upskilling

Some organisations may be hesitant to invest time and resources into staff who may leave the company, or desire to switch jobs. But by not investing in your employees, you risk falling flat in performance when problems aren't fixed or your staff doesn't grow.

Think of it this way: say you need an employee who is skilled in a specific type of sales, such as knowing how to walk a potential customer through selecting the right products or services and convincing them to upgrade - a sales skill in upselling. How much time or money would you spend on recruitment of an additional team member, who would then need to learn your business and products, versus coaching and training existing staff in this skill set? If you can develop new skills in your existing team, you're likely to make much better use of company resources.

Additionally, investing in your employees is actually a surefire way to keep them around. Many people today, especially from the millennial generation or younger, are looking for jobs where they can explore different opportunities, grow into responsibilities, and develop their on-the-job knowledge. If you do not offer these kinds of opportunities for learning and growth, you're more likely to have staff who are bored, underutilized, and looking for a way out.

How do you implement upskilling?

Within sales organisations in particular, upskilling can be something easily introduced to your staff. Each time a sales associate goes through the sales process, they should be taking something away from their experience. Were there areas that they felt less confident in? Did they find they needed to reach out to superiors for support during certain times? How confident were they in interacting with the customer? The answers to these questions will be telling for areas in which they may be lacking in knowledge or inherent talent and could be good to focus for upskilling.

Then the easiest way to deploy upskilling is through coaching and training. It's not necessary for staff to take outside courses, or learn on their own when they likely have leaders who can support and guide them in the process. When managers spend time with their staff, helping them to develop in their roles, the upskilling will actually be much more likely to be retained and understood, and can also become an ongoing part of the sales process and life within the organisation.

As a sales organisation, you should be looking for ways to grow and improve constantly. Without learning new skills, strategies in sales, identifying trends and trying them within your organisation, you may wind up with stagnant performance and a sales team who feels that they are lacking opportunity. Use upskilling as a vital way to engage your staff, and you'll find that it's a very important way for improving sales.

Learn more about how Goalplan can help with your upskilling initiatives in your sales organisation through our Learning Management System.

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