Remember the last time you sat for several hours of sales training, were overloaded with information presented to you, and then marched on using your newfound nuggets?
A former client called me recently to pick my brain about the state of ‘sales training’. It got me thinking about how in some ways it’s changed a lot and in some ways not so much at all.
Not too long ago, the emphasis was on training. Butts in seats. Classroom based. Executives were not shy about spending big bucks flying everyone in for two, three, even four days of sales method training. Unfortunately, for sometimes several reasons, the return didn’t match the investment. Salespeople returned to their territories only a little more clever, and usually more tired from the travel.
I still see a fair bit of that, and I think it’s too bad.
If it’s a sugar high, short term spike in sales you want, then buy sales training. Be sure the trainer tells great jokes and is high energy too, even if it is disguised as screaming.
If it’s a performance result you want, then buy sales process. Preferably one that will have to be modified as it’s rolled out. Invest in changing your culture. Be sure your front line sales management team is on the hook to lead their troops, but don’t confuse ‘sales management experience’ with effective coaching, reinforcement, making adjustments, and getting buy in.
Making commitments in training over time can be tough. It takes leadership and vision. And good selling to convince the team it’s the right approach. But the pay off of continued learning can be big. It can produce short term and long term returns.