Over the past few weeks, one sales training topic keeps coming up over and over again, and if it’s coming up for me and my peers as a hot topic, I know it’s probably one that a lot of other B2B inside sales leaders are talking about as well. The idea of ‘role plays' is the topic I’m referring to. Role plays were never my favorite thing to do throughout the training process as an inside sales rep, but I knew they were the best way for me to learn.
The article, Using Sales Role-Play to Improve Sales Performance provides some great insight surrounding the importance of conducting role plays, and I recommend checking it out. In the article, the author references that role plays are a good complement to the training process, whether they are a formal piece of the process, or used informally outside of the formal process. To further add to the points made in the article, here are some thoughts about inside sales role plays from my perspective:
- When should you use role plays? Role plays should be conducted throughout your new hire’s training week(s) and even after they’ve been on the phones for a few months – in fact, even your senior reps that have been on the team for years should practice with role plays. Your product or service will continue to evolve and new sales strategies will as well, so for this reason, role plays are needed to make sure thenew sales messaging sticks, whether you have a team of newbies or a team of senior reps. Also important to note – if you aren’t conducting some sort of role play scenario throughout the process of hiring inside sales reps, you should. This is a great exercise to show you how they communicate over the phone. The product knowledge doesn’t have to be there at that stage, but they do need to be able to communicate and listen well. Everything else is trainable.
- How often should you conduct role plays? When it comes to new hires, I believe that you should role play with them each morning of their training week based on what they learned the previous day, and continue to build on the conversation each day. For instance, on day two of their training, they should meet with you to run through their introduction that they learned on their first day. On day three, they should do their introduction, and expand to the next portion of their script, and so on. This reinforces the training each day and by the end of the training week(s), they are ready to hit the phones with confidence.
- When do you stop using them? You don’t. I’m guilty of not running through role plays with my team on a consistent basis and need to start doing more of it. My excuse is that I don’t feel like I have enough time. However, there shouldn’t be any excuses, as it’s a crucial part of ongoing sales training. A great way to make sure this process isn’t ignored is to pair your team up and have them spend an hour each month running through role plays with each other on their own. It’s a great way to practice and most importantly, they can learn product information and sales strategies that they weren’t aware of before.
Sales role plays; No one genuinely loves doing them, but we dothem because we know how helpful they can be from a training standpoint. How do you utilize role plays with your inside sales team and how much emphasis do they have in your inside sales training strategy?
Laney Dowling is the Director of Customer Success at AG Salesworks. Laney's responsibilities include managing daily client engagements, inside sales team oversight, reporting, training, and ongoing contact list development and refinement. To read more of Laney's articles, click here.