Good sales training is fundamental to any organization’s success, especially in B2B markets where relationships are king and salespeople’s ability to build rapport matters just as much (or even more than) the products and services. However, many companies offer subpar training and onboarding, leading to an under-prepared and unengaged sales team. In fact, nearly half of account executives have left a job because the training and onboarding didn’t give them what they needed.
However, enriching your sales onboarding process and your ongoing sales training with robust sales role play scenarios helps everyone learn concrete fundamentals and complex relationship management tactics.
As you’re building up your sales training program, start by creating some of the most impactful scenarios so your reps can learn the ropes and begin excelling. This list of ten core sales role play scenarios is a great place to start, especially when you combine it with powerful AI-based role play simulations that can personalize every scenario and give your team instant feedback.
The Value of Sales Role Play Training: A Quick Overview
Salespeople may dislike role play-based training, but—done well—it represents a series of significant learning opportunities for salespeople of all experience levels. Some of the key advantages of sales role play training are:
- Personalization: Well-run role play scenarios will change based on the skills and strengths of the salespeople to truly test their capabilities and push them to learn new skills.
- Engagement: Role play training is a very active form of training, unlike reading or listening to modules. Salespeople are practicing the same skills they’ll use every day on the job.
- Adapting to new sales norms: In the past few years, more than ever before, sales have gone virtual. B2B clients want virtual demos, video calls, and texts, not in-person lunches and slideshows. But training materials have lagged behind, with 40% of salespeople not having what they need to succeed with virtual sales. Modern sales role play scenarios get salespeople used to new norms and sales environments.
- Muscle memory: Sales interactions are very complex, and salespeople need to be able to provide company-approved messaging in response to highly specific customer queries and concerns. This requires a level of muscle memory where salespeople almost automatically recall the right words, verbal volleys, and answers—even as they apply those known responses to different questions and scenarios. The more salespeople can actively and physically practice messaging and conversations, the better they become and the more able they are to think ahead under pressure.
- They aren’t practicing on leads: One way or another, salespeople are going to be practicing their pitches and refining their approach. The choice your training team gets to make is whether they practice during internal training or on sales calls with real leads.
3 Challenges Standing Between You and Excellent Sales Role Play Training Protocols
While there’s an immense amount of value in frequent training through sales role play scenarios, there are some significant barriers. The three main ones are:
- Dislike and embarrassment: As gregarious as your salespeople may be, no one likes to perform and be tested in front of an audience. Many salespeople find role play scenarios to be embarrassing and uncomfortable, even if they’re just role playing in front of another salesperson or manager. The feeling can get even worse if the trainees think the performance impacts their position. As a result, many will avoid sales training, not get invested, and write off the results.
- Time commitment: Conventional sales role play training requires a training manager to be available. If completing a training session and giving feedback takes half an hour, even a jam-packed day can only have 16. Training managers simply can’t commit the time to regular, ongoing sales training that requires one-on-one time, especially if they’re balancing other duties.
- Relevance: Another problem with conventional sales role play is the canned scenarios. Static scripts become out-of-date almost as soon as they’re printed, and either they don’t adapt to what salespeople bring to the table or trainees can simply memorize the script.
With the right training software, you can resolve these barriers and open the door to more effective sales role play training. Systems like AI-based role play simulations can assess and train salespeople one-on-one, whenever they have a spare moment, and with no one else in the room. By using AI to generate a comprehensive library of unique sales situations, everyone on your team can practice, learn, and practice again.
Top 10 Sales Role Play Scenarios for Building Team Readiness
As you’re building your library, focus on the scenarios that matter most for your business. AI software can revise scenarios to fit your target market, unique niche, and company-specific messaging or product details. Focus on these ten common scenarios that occur every day for virtually every business:
Scenario #1: Initial Cold Call
Cold calling is still a powerful method for lead generation. 17% of B2B marketers use cold calling as their primary channel for new business, so salespeople need to be well-versed in how to do it. Cold call training scenarios can help salespeople refine their pitches, reduce their nerves, and get them used to being told ‘no.’
Scenario #2: Discovery Call
After a tentative ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’ during a cold call (or other lead generation approach), sales reps can move onto a discovery call. During this interaction, prospects are interested—but they are by no means committed. Sales reps need to practice answering questions, giving a more in-depth pitch, and asking the right questions to learn more about the prospect’s pain points.
In this conversation, reps will both give information and get information. It requires a lot of practice, and role play scenarios give them time to experiment with different probing questions and followups for different types of customers or scenarios.
Scenario #3: Handling General and Detailed Objections
When prospective customers have objections, that’s a good sign—they’re engaging. But salespeople need to be ready with confident, helpful answers that pull the conversation further along the conversion track. Sales role play scenarios help them practice responses, refine their tone, and have the general answers they’ll need every day.
Detailed objections are even better than general objections, but they require careful handling. In AI-generated sales role play scenarios, sales reps can practice delivering detailed answers while staying unflappable and on brand. Even better, they can practice accessing knowledge bases and sales enablement tools to get their answers while still on the phone.
Scenario #4: Closing the Deal
Closing the deal is the moment sales reps have been working toward. There are a variety of techniques reps can use to make it happen, from ‘now or never’ approaches to summarizing their pain points to asking questions. Through role play scenarios, reps can polish up each tactic in the playbook. They can also get more savvy about knowing which tactic to apply in different situations, all of which require practice.
Scenario #5: Stalled Deals
Stalled deals happen, but it’s dangerous. The prospect could be losing interest or might be courted by a competitor. Reps need to be able to (i) identify when a stalled deal situation is happening and (ii) address and resolve the cause of delay. To do so effectively, salespeople need experience with myriad scenarios that have stalled so they can get to the bottom of them.
Scenario #6: Transitioning to a New Contact
This happens frequently in business. A sales rep might be taking over an existing client, or an existing client may have a new point of contact. Sales training can help reps fluidly introduce themselves, go over the benefits service workflow, and answer any new questions.
Scenario #7: Walking Away From Prospects
Sometimes, prospects are just a poor fit for a business. Their needs don’t match your product, they’re asking for too much, or it’s a prolonged stall. But reps can’t simply ghost them. They need to end the potential relationship on a high note so your brand reputation doesn’t suffer and the door stays open. Sales reps can practice on AI-generated avatars who hem and haw, who are blatantly rude, and who simply don’t need your services.
Scenario #8: Delivering Bad News
In today’s B2B sales markets, conventional salespeople are disappearing. Instead, there are advisors, consultants, and account managers who manage components of sales while sticking with the client relationship long-term.
When this happens, the relationship is stronger. However, it means occasionally delivering bad news, such as delays and price increases. Sales role play scenarios tailored to delivering bad news will train sales reps on how to deliver the message while preserving the relationship.
Scenario #9: Upselling
Just like with closing a deal, there are numerous approaches sales reps can use to upsell products and services. This can include pitching relevant increases and providing incentives—these are relatively easy. But sales reps also need to practice customizing upsells on the fly while still following guidelines, creating a sense of urgency, and pressing on client pain points. But this is delicate work; too much pressure can fracture the relationship. When salespeople practice in simulations, they can find the line for different types of clients.
Scenario #10: Negotiations
The back-and-forth conversations between salespeople and client representatives are a core part of converting clients. But there are too many different types of conversations to count, covering everything from pricing to term length to SLAs. When you have an AI tool that can generate countless example scenarios for each of these factors, salespeople can more easily manage negotiations and come to that final ‘closing the deal’ conversation.
What Every Sales Role Play Simulator Needs to Help Salespeople Thrive in Their Role
Of course, the scenarios themselves are only part of what you need for a robust sales role play training process. Opt for an AI platform that can do more than generate scenarios. Consider built-in capabilities for:
- Realistic Simulations That Fit Your Business: Every scenario should be realistic, both in terms of what your niche sees and how people behave. The right AI tool will be able to incorporate details about your business and market so scenarios become more and more impactful.
- A Virtually Endless Array of Different Scenarios: Ideally, your reps will be practicing far more frequently than with conventional in-person training. They can easily complete micro-scenarios or longer conversations at their convenience because AI tools don’t need scheduled meetings. So it’s important to have a platform that can generate hundreds or thousands of varied scenarios so reps can practice the same skills without simply memorizing a static script.
- Objective, Instantaneous Feedback: Most educational experts agree—instantaneous feedback is far more powerful than delayed feedback. AI training tools can deliver in-the-moment coaching or objective feedback as soon as the exercise is over. This lets salespeople know what they did well and what they need to practice.
- Personalized Educational Courses and Pointers: As a result of the instant feedback and AI’s ability to assess dozens of quantitative factors, your training platform can assemble personalized learning courses. One rep may be able to zoom through the basics while another may need more granular practice at cold calls. With AI, you can watch those courses instantly come together and then watch your team’s progress.
See the Possibilities of AI-Powered Sales Role Play Scenarios
Sales role play is a powerhouse of a training technique: salespeople are putting their skills to the test in real-world scenarios, not just passively learning. With AI, you can extract even more value by eliminating the embarrassment and time commitment concerns that make salespeople avoid conventional role play training. At Quantified, we’ve created an AI-powered platform that generates realistic sales scenarios and creates avatars to act out those scenarios with your reps. After every training exercise, your team will receive personalized feedback and curated training materials. Want to see these ten sales scenarios and dozens of others come to life? Schedule a demo with Quantified to explore the potential of sales role play training with AI.