Sales Training Doesn’t Work


This might seam like a fairly unproductive point of view from someone who earns his living training sales people. However, that is precisely why I believe sales training – on its own – doesn’t work. I receive plenty of calls from sales leaders asking us to participate in their sales kick-off because they want one of the following:

•   Move from selling products to solutions
•   Gain a comfort level selling to executives
•   Create a common vernacular through out the sales force
•   Win more deals against the competition

These are lofty goals to accomplish over a 1 to 2 day workshop; so lofty that you can expect the impact to be short-lived and all but forgotten in 3 months. It is akin to going to the gym and asking the trainer to help you lose 10 pounds in one session. You will get a good workout – and most likely will be sore in the morning – but more or less the same weight the day after.

That is why we recommend a longer engagement that incorporates the 1 to 2  day workshop as the centerpiece but has the proper preliminary and follow up steps to hit your goals. I recommend this three step process:

Step One: Assess / Align / Define
We need to understand your sales effectiveness goals and their relative importance to other projects and participants. Sometimes a 24 hour workshop is all our clients have an appetite for. For those looking for sustained improvement, we then want to define the best practices in their sales cycle and incorporate our methodology to create a uniquely tailored process. This will give relevancy and buy-in needed for adoption.

Step Two: Deploy / Enable
This is the 1-2 day workshop where the newly tailored techniques and strategies are revealed to the sales force. We want to make sure that we have incorporated the best practices of the sales cycle / messaging / and methodology into the CRM. These workshops should always be taught using live deals because adults learn best through practical application.

Step Three: Reinforce / Measure
After the workshop has ended and the sales force is re-energized, we want to ensure the new techniques and strategies are transferred back to the office on a deal by deal basis. We test the students on their retention of the material, we track their usage of the tools via the CRM, and we coach their deals using the methodology. Adjustments in coaching and execution training are made based upon retention, application, and effectiveness.

As any good fitness trainer will tell you, you must make a habit out of a healthy lifestyle. The same is true for successful sales organizations. A one and done training event will fill space in a kick-off and will fire up the troops – but it won’t have long lasting impact. That is why sales training on its own doesn’t work.

One Response

  1. And after sitting in that room for three days you never revisit the principals again. No reinforcement, no practice.

    But you have to prepare three BLUE SHEETS on your current opportunities for every review that are not discussed or critiqued/coached for strategy and applicability.

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