Joining us for today’s show is Skip Miller, an executive who knows a thing or two about sales training. 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. Today’s show was recorded at The Studio, SBI’s multimillion dollar, one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art executive briefing center.
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 year 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 is Skip Miller, the President of M3 Learning. Skip is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic of wasted sales training and what to do about it.
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. Listen 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.
If you prefer to watch a high definition video of the interview, click here.
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:
- Sales cycle length before and after
- Average selling price (ASP), before and after
- Win rate, before and after
- 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. To evaluate your sales process, answer the evaluation questions starting on page 280 of the workbook.
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.