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Sales Training For Creative Agencies

I am not, nor will I ever claim to be a creative lead. In a studio environment, I know my place and it’s as far away from the Creative Cloud ecosystem as can be. My role was business owner, founder and for a lot of the time I focused intensively on the business development or sales function in our agency.

But selling a service like design isn’t easy and good salespeople in our industry are incredibly hard to come by. And if you do find a great salesperson, either your agency is too new for them to move to you, or they’ve climbed the career ladder and you can’t afford to pay the salary they command.

I’m built to look for opportunities in the challenges we face and to me there are always other options or ways to achieve our goals. As a new agency, we couldn’t afford the salaries the sales heavyweights commanded so we decided to create our own.

Before I go any further, I offer bespoke sales training for creative agencies. Whether that’s helping you build the processes you need to develop and manage teams or if that’s training your client-facing teams to capitalise on.

Yes, hiring the best and paying top rates is easier, but not every new team member will be a winner and higher staffing costs eat into our profit. Thankfully, there’s another way.

Good creative salespeople can be trained

“I’d rather train them than break them”. I can’t claim this quote as my own, and it wasn’t said about our sales team, but it is something equally applicable to them.

Seasoned professionals, no matter what their role, often come with challenges. And if your agency is new or evolving promptly, you might not be in a position to capitalise on their skills or you changeability of growing functions may not suit how they’ve worked in more established agencies.

In my time as an agency owner, I had very successful hires, the heavy hitters so to speak, but equally so, I had massive failures. People who on paper should be great at delivering sales, but were too set in their way to change with a rapidly evolving and growing business.

Our hiring policy changed from skill to will. If someone was willing to learn, I knew we could teach them how to sell brand and web projects effectively. Of course, there needed to be some sales background, but some of our best salespeople came from industries unrelated to design and development.  

Training starts on day 1

If you don’t have an onboarding programme for every new employee, this is your chance to take your business to the next level. Our new employees don’t fail through fault of their own. It’s our unpreparedness to provide them with the tools and knowledge they need to complete their roles effectively.

Onboarding is critical to success and by systemising this process you will create a structured approach to engaging new hires and bringing them up to speed as quickly as possible.

Ongoing support and training for creative sales teams

As a salesperson, my goal selfish goal was to be the best. As a business owner, it was to ensure everyone around me was working to their full potential. When it comes to selling design or digital services, knowledge is key.

We let our sales team shadow our studio and learn the creative process and outputs of current projects. We let them sit in presentations to understand how our work was communicated to clients and they joined sales calls to listen to how our existing teams sold our services. This on-the-job training is critical for efficiently sharing information, but it’s only as effective as the person leading the conversation. To build better sales teams, you need to hold formal training sessions also. And do so regularly.

Within our studio, we started a training academy. This became a structured approach to training and education. We walked through each stage of the sales process to ensure each team member was fully capable of generating leads, developing these leads into quotes and effectively presenting our services to win a higher percentage of sales.

What if I train them and they leave? What if you don’t and they stay?

Our training academy developed over time and so should yours. But the goal will eventually allow someone who has completed the sales training, to generate sales independently and be self-managing (within reason). 

Thinking with my owner’s hat on, I want every salesperson to be a top performer and if I’ve given them the tools and support they need, then the chance of success is infinitely greater.

If you’re interested in building a world-class sales team in your design agency, then get in touch. 

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