Top sales training expert demonstrates how to get the most out of sales training.

Joining us for today’s show is Skip Miller, an executive who knows a thing or two about sales training. Today’s topic is focused on ending continued investment in sales training that doesn’t produce results. Skip has trained over 300,000 salespeople in 35 countries over the last 20 years and is considered one of the top sales trainers in the world. Skip is an ideal guest to help untangle why sales leaders continue to invest in sales training despite the lack of measurable results.

 

Why this topic? Loyal clients and followers of SBI are wasting a lot of money on sales training and I would like to put an end to this. According to a report The State of the Sales Training Industry published by the Association of Training and Development, there is $2.7B spent per years on sales training. Yet our benchmarks reveal that 85% of sales training does not result in better sales results.

 

Today we’re going to discuss why this is happening and what you can do about it. Our guest today is Skip Miller, the President of M3 Learning. Skip is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic of wasted sales training.

 

What is the top reason for sales training failure? Skip describes the all too common ‘check the box’ approach sales leaders take when turning to training as the solution. Sales leaders want their teams to see that the company cares about them and is investing in their success. Implementing sales training efforts can be rolled out very quickly, providing a sense of accomplishment and a perception of bold change. Yet sales training rarely produces a result. Investing in sales training is habitual and habits are powerful things that rarely get broken.

 

One reason sales training continues to be a habitual purchase is the cost appears minimal. Watch as Skip and I discuss the average investment for sales training that ranges from 1-3% of the quota of each sales rep. The cost of training seems small when reviewed as a percentage of the total quota, appearing cheap. However, when viewed in whole dollars the sales training budget is the largest expenditure within the sales force that doesn’t have a measurable result tied to the spend. 

 

To get training on the right track, Skip outlines four metrics to calculate the return on that investment for sales training. Those four metrics include:

 

  1. Sales cycle length before and after
  2. Average selling price (ASP), before and after
  3. Win rate, before and after
  4. Forecasting accuracy, which, on the 30-60-90 cycle should be 80-90%

     

To impact these metrics, effective sales training must focus on training reps to manage to the buyer stage, not the deal.  Managing to the buyer stage requires a custom sales process mapped to the buyer stages.  Without that in place, you’re hard pressed to make training pay off. It’s difficult to grow revenue faster than your industry’s growth rate and faster than your competitors. The Revenue Growth Diagnostic interactive tool will help you determine if you are likely or unlikely to make your number. 

 

For sales training to produce a result, we discuss the need for a highly-customized approach. Skip shares his thoughts on the importance of an assessment up front to identify short and long-term goals of the training. For instance, the training goal may be to help reps to reach higher to senior executives, or qualifying or disqualifying quicker. Once you get the goals down, the training can be customized by the goals.

 

Skip and I discuss customizing sales training by industry.  While industry customization is important, it’s less important.  It’s more important to hire smart people and teach them the industry and product, vs. hiring industry and product people and teach them how to be smart. Furthermore, customizing by channel should be a higher priority than customizing by industry. Inside sales reps need different training than an outside rep because the dynamics of the communication channels are different.

 

We finish the program with Skip’s thoughts on the future of sales training.  He’s trained over 300,000 sales reps, in 35 countries, over 20 years and has a great summary of what to expect from sales training in the future.

 

Would you like help developing your sales training approach?  Come see me in Dallas at The Studio, SBI’s multimillion dollar, one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art executive briefing center. To grow revenue’s faster than your industry and competitors every month, quarter and year is hard to do. A visit to The Studio increases the probability of making your number because the sessions are built on the proven strength and stability of SBI, the industry leader in B2B sales and marketing.

 

The Studio

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Greg Alexander

Leads the firm's focus on the CEO’s role in accelerating revenue growth by getting the product team, the marketing department, and the sales organization into strategic alignment.

Greg is the host of The SBI Podcast, the most listened to sales and marketing podcast on the internet.

 

He is the host of SBI TV, a monthly television program broadcast on the internet featuring top B2B sales and marketing leader sharing their strategies to grow revenues.

 

Greg is the Editor-in-Chief of The SBI Magazine, the leading B2B publication focused on sales and marketing effectiveness.

 

He is the author of two critically acclaimed books Topgrading for Sales and Making the Number.

 

Greg has authored over 100 articles on SBI’s award winning blog, The SBI Blog.

 

He graduated from The University of Massachusetts Amherst with a BA in English and received his MBA from Georgia Tech.

 

Video:

 

Transforming the Sales Organization inside Fortune 500 Companies

Greg Alexander and John Gleason, Chief Sales Officer of Ryder, talk about the unique challenges of transforming a sales team inside of very large enterprises.

 

A Better Way to Structure Your Sales Force

Greg Alexander and Tony Capucille, Chief Sales Officer at Heartland Payment Systems, discuss the pros and cons of the 7 B2B sales organizational models.

 

Build a team of A Players Inside the Sales Organization

Greg Alexander and Todd Cione, Chief Revenue Officer at Rackspace, talk about hiring, onboarding, and developing exceptional sales talent.

 

Articles

 

Fill Every Role on Your Team with an A Player

In this article, Greg Alexander makes the case for applying the TopGrading methodology to the sales team, and outlines how to do so.

 

What CEOs Need to Know About Their Marketing Strategies

In this article, Greg Alexander and Rashid Skaf, CEO of AMX, discuss the role the CEO plays in crafting a company’s marketing strategy.

 

What CEOs are Looking for in a Sales Leader

In this article, Greg Alexander and George Norton, leader of Heidrick & Struggles Chief Sales Officer practice, discuss what CEOs need in the chief sales officer role.

Read full bio >