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Thought For The Day

Why Does Sales Development Work Better Than Sales Training

© The Gulas Group 2010

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 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.

The following six issues contribute to ineffective sales results using just the sales training model.

  1. Design Flaws' a lack of focus on the critical beliefs and right skill sets that salespeople need to master because pre assessments based on the ability to execute were not used..
  2. Not creating and using sales metrics - what gets measured, improves.
  3. Unrealistic Expectations - quick fixes are not realistic because behaviors and beliefs take time to change permanently. Expectation for training results must be realistic and should be based on a pre execution assessment.
  4. Company Facilitators vs. Owner Salespeople - the trainer must be able to connect with the audience. Someone who has not been out in the field selling everyday to make a payroll will not carry as much credibility with sales people..
  5. Lack of accountability after the formal intervention 'Team members should be excited about the back end of the training process and will be willing, enthusiastic participants. Without dreams and goals that are articulated by each sales person this may not work. This is your sales manager's job. Make sure the training program gives your sales manager's the tools to properly coach his people and provide them with feedback on weekly bases to inspire, grow hold accountable and recruit new team members.
  6. Lectures v. application exercises - 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". For instance very few companies set aside baselines in three major areas to determine who even qualifies for continued development based on a realistic return on money invested. Those three major sales development areas are; selling systems, processes, tools, strategies and tactics. Next on the list to measure are people issues such as sales skills and hidden sales weaknesses', their sales people mindsets or unconscious beliefs is the true area. 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.. Once 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 recorded 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?

To get your free detailed analysis of your sales team follow this link or copy and paste www.gulasgroup.com/ratesalesforce.shtml

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