“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.’


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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.


I touched on this issue in previous blog posts on “Is your sales process missing any pieces?” and “Get your new sales process adopted in the field”.


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!


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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:


  1. Compare your sales process training to the list above. Create a Gap Analysis that shows what you need to fix
  2. Measure adoption of your sales process by reps, managers, and support staff? Do you have a problem with usage?
  3. Use your internal training staff or an external third party to develop a customized courseware
  4. 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
  5. Appoint someone inside the company to manage continuous improvement of the courseware over time as your sales process changes to accommodate changed circumstances


Sales Strategy Tour



Mike Drapeau

Makes data and analysis come alive so clients can understand the “what” and “why” and design solutions that fit the environment.
Mike has led every function at SBI – Delivery, Sales, Talent, and Technology. Now he is a leader for Account Management, Private Equity Partnership, and long-term business development at SBI.


He has personally led over 100 projects for SBI over his decade+ time since its founding in 2006.


This starts by earning trust – of clients, of PE firms, of prospects. Mike obtains this by leveraging deep domain expertise, with more than 25 years in sales, competitive intelligence, sales management, marketing enablement, product management, pre-sales and sales operations. Mike relishes the idea of living in the field. So he does.


As a founding partner, Mike built out SBI’s library of emerging best practices for sales and marketing, which leads to evidence-based solutions, custom-fit to each client. Mike built himself many of the solutions now part of the Revenue Growth Methodology. And whatever he touches gets adopted. This is part of his commitment to making it happen in the field.
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