“So what?” you might ask. “All you need to do is give the reps a process with a little guidance and they will have what they need to be successful.’
If it were only that simple.
Why do you need solid courseware to ensure your sales process is adopted?
Simply put, sales process is about behavior change – people need to start doing some things they are not and stop doing other things that are no longer needed or necessary. This is hard work. People will resist such change first and foremost because they do not understand it.
That is what well-designed courseware will achieve – it will explain how, when, why, and whom should be executing the sales process.
So why do so many sales leaders resist the need to develop superior training for their sales process?
Although the entire Instructional Design industry may take offense to this blog post, the fact remains that the large majority of sales training is poor, terribly poor.
It is poor across the following dimensions:
- It lacks pre-work that orients attendees to the message, content, and expectations
- It is boring and childish so that ‘A’ player employees are unimpressed
- It is too dense with content and so bludgeons attendees without piquing their interest
- It lacks interactive exercises that enable attendees to internalize new concepts
- It has too few role plays that trigger experiential learning
- It fails to use fully completed sample Job Aids that enable attendees to mimic excellence
- It forgets to integrate CRM screen shots or live training with the sales process training so that, in the end, attendees are forced to do the integration themselves off-line and without assistance
- It scatters irrelevant images on each slide and fails to use compelling ones that increase retention
- It does not utilize humor to maintain attention
- It is not designed in a Learning Management System (LMS) nor is it built in a modular approach for distance learning to integrate remote employees and save expense
- It is not built in a curriculum fashion (i.e. 101/201/301/401) to accommodate differing levels of competency
- It lacks additional resources so that those who want to learn more are denied the opportunity
- It does not leverage multi-media and social networking so it reflects a Sales 1.0 view of the world – no longer a viable model
- It lacks learning objectives so management cannot net out what needs to be known
- It lacks testing and other prompts to knowledge acquisition
- It is designed for just one audience (e.g. sales reps) when many others (e.g. sales managers, sales engineers, etc..) need to know how to execute their role
- It is not connected with post-training reinforcement and so adoption lags or fails even to materialize
And it’s just not we at SBI who see sales process training that falls short of the mark. Steve Martin adds his own take in this article entitled “What is wrong about sales training?”
These and more are the deficiencies of ‘standard’ sales training. Is it any wonder that management and reps in the field value it so little!
Eating the Elephant
If the description above matches your sales training content and delivery experience, do not fret. You can fix the problem, or at least begin addressing it. As Bill Hogan titled his book, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time”. So, too, can you turn your listless sales training into a center for adoption and excellence!
How? So here is your 5 step get well plan:
- Compare your sales process training to the list above. Create a Gap Analysis that shows what you need to fix
- Measure adoption of your sales process by reps, managers, and support staff? Do you have a problem with usage?
- Use your internal training staff or an external third party to develop a customized courseware
- Measure the success of this effort the degree to which adoption of the sales process increases NOT by a $/head fee, which is the preference of sales training firms
- Appoint someone inside the company to manage continuous improvement of the courseware over time as your sales process changes to accommodate changed circumstances