10 sales exercises to get your team fired up to sell more in 2020

Every sales manager wants a team of high achievers. Salespeople who pick up the phone, send emails and messages, attend meetings, and consistently close deals and bring in new business. Persistence, enthusiasm, and energy are crucial traits all successful salespeople share.

As a sales leader, managing an outbound or inbound team, there are training and sales enablement activities that can be used to improve energy levels and get everyone fired up to succeed. Here are ten approaches worth trying to encourage more sales in 2020.

#1: Sales training template

When onboarding new salespeople, one of the most useful things you can do as a sales leader is to have every resource they need already organized. You want new team members to hit the ground running. Absorbing everything they need about processes, systems, what they are selling and key messaging.

A sales training template is either something you can make yourself, or work with a sales enablement team, or a third-party provider of those services. Either way, having a process, a plan and the resources a new team member needs in the same place is a powerful tool and a great way to support early wins.

#2: Team webinars

Getting the team together to watch a webinar, even for only an hour can be a useful learning and inspirational exercise. Keep a track of ones that are inspiring and engaging, then when an interesting one comes along book the team on a webinar so everyone can benefit from the same knowledge together.

#3: Handling objections

Objection handling is something every salesperson encounters most days of the week. How well does your team handle pushback from potential clients, and what could they be doing better?

There are a few ways you can incorporate this into training, and even make it fun. In teams where sales calls are recorded, you should be able to compile the most commonly encountered objections. Using these recordings, or a roundtable Q&A session with team members, sales managers — or sales trainers — can put together realistic role-play exercises.

Role-play exercises are fun, interactive, and worth the investment of time and resources. Not only will it get everyone engaged and fired up, but it should help those who aren’t as confident to learn from team members who consistently bring in great results.

#4: Encourage your team to learn (newsletters, podcasts)

Webinars, podcasts, newsletters and simply following other sales and thought leaders on social media are great ways to absorb inspiration and ideas. New ways of thinking and new approaches. As a sales manager, you can encourage your team to always be learning, and to subscribe to relevant materials that informs and inspires them.

#5: Sales leaderboard (could include prizes)

Sales teams are full of competitive people who want to do well. One of the best ways to highlight how everyone is doing is with a leaderboard. Using CRM data, this is something that could be put together pretty quickly and easily. Whether something you do permanently or only during key times in the year, offering prizes for hitting targets is another great way to keep everyone focused on results.

#6: Roundtable success (and failure) learning sessions

Wins and losses in sales are rarely thought about for very long. And yet both represent important learning opportunities. When a deal is won, what can be learned from this, and how to repeat that success? The same applies to deals that are lost. What can be learned, and how can the whole team avoid similar situations in the future?

Have once a month roundtable sessions. Get the team to bring notes on successful and unsuccessful deals so everyone can learn how to improve outcomes and actions.

#7: Listening and assessing calls

Another way to do this is 1-on-1 with individual team members. Not only for assessing winning and losing calls, but to work through any performance issues and see how salespeople can be more effective.

#8: Competitor Battlecard exercises

How well does your sales team know competitors?

Do you have an up-to-date battlecard to provide an accurate comparison of how to beat competitors?

Whether setting this as a project for yourself, or working with a third-party provider, battlecards are useful sales enablement tools that can empower and inform sales teams. Not only are they useful for knowing how to stay competitive, but this information makes overcoming objections simpler.

#9: Shadowing exercises

Shadowing is when two salespeople are either on the same call or attend the same client or prospect meetings. Often one of them is more experienced. In the case of a call, the one listening doesn’t need a participatory role. The aim of this exercise is for the less experienced, perhaps less confident team member to learn approaches and techniques that they can apply in their own calls, demos, and meetings.

#10: “Sell me this pen!”

Almost everyone in sales has seen The Wolf of Wall Street.

Leonardo DiCaprio, playing Jordan Belfort, who’s now running best-selling motivational speaking workshops, was for several years one of the most notorious investment firm owners loosely associated with Wall Street.

Although the pen idea is somewhat overused, as a training technique this has merit. Pick an object, and see if a sales team, or members of the team, can present it as a solution to a particular challenge. High-performers should be able to take it one step further, not only explaining why something is a much-needed solution but why a particular object is better than competitors.

Sales are always going to be challenging. It isn’t an activity that happens in isolation, and everyone benefits when the whole team is doing well.

One of the best ways to improve performance and get the team fired up is with exercises that are reflective and useful, ones that take them out of daily activities and yet improve the outcomes of those when they get back to doing demos, calls, and sales meetings.