Sales training is a seventy billion dollar industry within the US. Organizations are recording that they’re spending almost $2,000 per employee on annual training. Yet, many still miss their number. Is more training the fix?
Sales training is a tactic. And it has its place. But as a first priority or approach, it’s like throwing mud at a wall. As a sales leader, you must first understand the difference between strategy and tactics. Strategy is defined as doing the right things. And tactics is doing things right. In a perfect world, the two intersect, and you have an excellent strategy that is brilliantly executed.
So, now that we’ve determined that sales training is a tactic, how can you get the most leverage out of it? A quick search reveals there are thousands of “sales training” videos and exercises. How do you separate the good from the bad?
It’s not easy. Too often, people are looking for the “quick fix.” My colleague, Andrew Urteaga, and I did a quick review of the sales training out there. Here’s what we found.
Motivational training videos are about individual learning, not necessarily your traditional sales training material. They have their uses, and can be beneficial. But again, should not be considered training for sales reps.
Event Based Training
Many companies invest in event based training. A sales kick off is a classic example of this. The company gathers sales teams from all over the country and brings them together. They roll out new products, new compensation plans and everyone has good time. So, what’s wrong with that?
Reps are pulled out of the field, and are bombarded with training on every possible topic all at once. An astounding 80% report they don’t remember or implement the learnings from SKO. What’s the fix? Driving adoption after the event. You must drive adoption with coaching, because without it, sales training is worthless.
Sales Training as Part of a Broader Strategy
As mentioned earlier, sales training is too often seen as a quick fix. Instead, sales training and its enablement should be part of a broader strategy. It is a vital piece to your sales strategy, but cannot be the only piece. A comprehensive strategy should include these five steps:
- Step 1 – Planning. Develop sales and data plans to help you make your number.
- Step 2 – Engagement. Define the process which show how the sales team interacts with prospects and customers.
- Step 3 – Org. Set up your structure to ensure you have the right people in the right roles to execute.
- Step 4 – Execution. This is where the work gets done. Focus on areas of sales enablement, pipeline and forecast management.
- Step 5 – Support. Help the sale steam be effective, and make the organization easy to do business with.
Ultimately, sales training is a small piece of a larger overall strategy. It’s a tactic, not a strategy. Don’t confuse the two. If you need help developing a sales strategy, download our workbook here. We can help you set the direction for the entire sales organization.