Why Does Sales Development Work Better than Sales Training
Sales Leadership -
Developing Your Team
Written by Ted Gulas
To make a statement like this one must be prepared to prove their case against evidence like this:
Firms that invest more than average on sales training turn in results that are 86% higher than those firms that spends less than the average, and 45% higher than firms that spend the average (CSO Insights)
Over half of the firms surveyed invest between $1500 and $7500 annually per sales rep in training
While sales training does produce results can you get even better results with your $1500 to $7500 investment? The answer to that question is yes.
First you have to consider what and how much of what was being taught during the sales training sessions was ineffective. Issues such as the following contribute to poor sales training results:
- Poor content – a lack of focus on the critical beliefs and right skill sets that salespeople need to master will affect the results of training.
- Poor customization – you can’t expect salespeople to translate general concepts into their world by themselves.
- Lack of measurement – what gets measured, improves.
- Sales Skills v. Motivation – motivational training (“pump up sessions”) has very limited staying power. The motivation generally departs shortly after motivator leaves town.
- Expectations of a quick fix – quick fixes are not realistic because behaviors and beliefs take time to change permanently. Expectation for training results must be realistic.
- Hiring the wrong trainer – the trainer must be able to connect with the audience. Wherever possible, have the trainer do a short program with key salespeople to make sure there’s a comfort level with the trainer. If they don’t relate well to him and his message, training will be a waste of money.
- Lack of coaching – coaching is critical. This is your sales manager’s job. Make sure the training program gives your sales managers the tools to properly coach his people and provide them with feedback.
- Lack of accountability – make sure your team members are excited about training and will be willing, enthusiastic participants.
- Lectures v. role plays – there must be ample time to practice. Confucius said “What I hear, I forget; what I see, I remember; what I do, I understand.”
Next you have to understand that most sales training becomes “event” or what I call “sun tan training.” Yes, you get a nice tan, it glows and every one tells you how nice you look but give it a few days and the tan fads, the glow disappears and all you have left is memories.
The second issue to ponder upon is this thing called lack of coaching. Lack of coaching was mentioned above as a reason sales training fails. It needs to be readdressed here in more detail.
Most companies are practicing “Sales leadership malfeasance” as it pertains to coaching sales teams.
For instance very few companies set establish meaningful metrics in major sales development areas such as selling systems, sales processes tools and strategies.
Next on the list of things you must measure before training and coaching are three people issues. The first one to measure is sales strengths and skills. The second one is those hidden sales weaknesses. The third area of people skills to measure is their mindsets or unconscious beliefs.
Effective sales development begins with either a sales force evaluation for the sales team or a sales person evaluation for the salesperson before sales training is started. This way you can address many of the failure points mentioned above like poor customization and lack of accountability. In addition to a pre sales force evaluation, a post sales force evaluation can be given to insure the training is actually working and being sustained over a longer period of time.
In conclusion while sales training is good sales development is best. It reminds me of making cold calls and having the prospect say to me they are happy with their sales team performance thus not interested to discuss this further. One I ask these five questions they begin to realize that being happy is not the same as being ecstatic. How would you answer these questions below?
All of your sales people are overachieving?
You are recording record profits this year?
You are making more money than you ever dreamed possible?
You have 100% market share?
You never make a sales hiring mistake?
If you answered no to any of these five questions then is it time to consider sales development as opposed to sales training?
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