• Duane Cashin

The Wrong Way to Choose Sales Training

Updated: Feb 17, 2020

If you check your inbox right now, I’m guessing you have at least 3 emails promoting a new sales training program. And, quite likely, you’ve ignored them because you’re frustrated by the fact that you keep throwing money away on training that has no lasting impact. 90% of sales training, after all, has no lasting impact.

The reason for this is quite simple: Most companies approach sales training backward.

If you’re seeking to partner with an outside sales expert to help increase sales, the actual sales training component should be the last of the various services to be delivered. With most programs, that component is forced to the front.

It’s silly. It’s like trying to build a house by focusing on the interior finishes first and neglecting to pour a new foundation and properly frame and roof it.

When selecting a training program, then, make sure these services are to be delivered before actual sales training begins:

1. A complete sales force evaluation.

A proper sales force evaluation identifies the struggles, gaps, challenges you face, and, most importantly, the reasons why your sales results are what they are. This knowledge then allows you to set realistic expectations for growth by understanding who is capable of improvement, by how much they can improve, and what will be required in the way of training and coaching to achieve that growth.

2. Sales process.

Your sales process should be unique to your company. It must be customized and optimized first because; to be successful, training must deliver content in the context of your sales process. How is your current sales process working? You can grade it here.

3. Sales management training and coaching.

A new sales training program will only work if your sales managers are trained and coached in the program so that they can then deliver that content to the team. If your sales managers won't or can't coach consistently and effectively, the training won't stick and change won’t occur.

4. An evaluation (and possible purging) of your sales force.

This is an uncomfortable realization for many in sales leadership, but some of your existing salespeople won't be part of your future. It’s just not in their DNA. Knowing who they are in advance from the data that a proper sales candidate evaluation brings, and combined with the sales force evaluation mentioned above, will allow you to make necessary changes before training begins. There is no sense in spending money on training someone who will never be successful in your organization.

Of course, there are other variables of a good sales training program to consider -- how the training will be delivered, support materials and technology, the effectiveness of the trainer, how many training sessions a program will include, the topics that will be covered, how much role-playing will be included to demonstrate what good conversations sound like, and homework assignments. Just don’t allow anyone to sell you on that part of the program that only includes those elements. Remember, build the foundation, and then you can finish the house.

When you’re ready to move on from “out-of-the-box” training programs that don’t produce real results, give us a call.

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