startup sales team training

How Role Plays Improve Sales Team Training

Role playing serves as one of the best ways for people to learn and practice the skills necessary to succeed in sales. At Justworks, we’ve integrated weekly role plays into a part of our schedule, and also require it in our sales training process.

Key Benefits

  • Efficiency of group learning
    • Role plays also act as a continued learning process for everyone participating — not just the person doing the role playing. It is a great way to create an environment of continued process improvement as there’s always something new to everyone learn and improve on.
  • Learn to perform under pressure
    • Performing in a high pressure environment in front of all your peers is probably one of the most difficult situations a salesperson will come across. If they can excel under these kinds of nerve racking circumstances, they will be able to perform well in real client calls. Focus on newer sales team members, so that they can get more practice and experience.
  • Get feedback from multiple people at once
    • Doing role plays gives the person a chance to get honest, constructive feedback from their peers. With all levels of salespeople participating, it gives everyone a chance to gather feedback from different perspectives and learn from each other.

How it works

  • Scenario Setup
    • First, we decide who will be doing the role playing, the mock scenario, and the objectives of the call. The scenario of the role play can range from cold calls, to live demos, to straight pitches. Correspondingly, the objectives can be to gain confirmed interest, get a follow-up call, or to get a verbal commitment. This will lead to a more focused call and better learning opportunity.
  • Performance and Notes
    • We have the person role playing call into the conference room where we have all of the other team members listening. We keep the calls live and as realistic as possible, so that means no laughing or time-outs. While the person is on the call, everyone else participating is taking notes and writing down feedback.
  • Feedback & Scoring
    • After the call, we have a feedback session. Those who were taking notes share their feedback of the call with the role player. All the participants score the role play on a scale of 1 to 10. We average out all these scores to get the grade for the role play. Average scores usually range from 7 to 8, with score over 9 considered very good. For new hires, they have to obtain an average score greater than 8 to graduate.

Tips for Success

  • Keep it Serious
    • We try to keep it lighthearted as to not make it too stressful for the role player. However, this often leads to the tendency for people to take it less seriously. Make sure that everyone is taking it seriously so that the activity is beneficial to those participating in it.
  • Minimize time outs
    • We try to keep the role plays as close to a real live call as possible. This gets tricky as people make mistakes or laugh. As the purpose of the activity is to give the participants more practice with real client scenarios, it is important to stick to the roles and scenarios set in the call and not break in between.

Just follow these tips and guidelines and you’ll be running role plays in no time. Good luck from the Justworks team!

This is a guest post by Robert Lopez, VP of Sales & Business Development at JustworksJustworks is an all-in one benefits, payroll and HR software platform that frees up entrepreneurs to focus on what matters: building their businesses and their team.

Robert Lopez

Robert is the Senior Vice President at Justworks. Prior to joining Justworks, he was in charge of Sales and Business Development for Groupon in Latin America and then served as the GM and Managing Director of Colombia, Peru and Panama.