- June 25, 2009
- Posted by: Dave Kurlan
- Category: Understanding the Sales Force
If you invest in sales training, especially now, you also need it to work now, not in 12 months. Why does it take so long for most sales training to make a difference and why does most sales training fail to make the difference you expect? There are a lot of possible reasons and I’ll attempt to explain them here.
- Sales trainers want to sell sales training so they skip or gloss over the more important issues like
- a sales force evaluation to determine the real issues and answer questions about possibilities;
- helping you create the appropriate sales infrastructure including a customized sales process; a visual, criteria-based, staged pipeline; and proper metrics to drive revenue;
- development of a proper sales culture;
- development of the sales management team so that they become masters at coaching, accountability, motivation and development;
- recruiting and selection process and tools.
This is why it’s so important to work with a sales development expert – someone who takes an integrated, thoughtful approach to the sales force.
- Sales training is too difficult to understand and apply and trainers make it even more difficult with their complicated processes, non-intuitive tactics and tricks. Instead, they should make it as simple as possible by making it memorable, intuitive, and easy to apply.
- They tend to demonstrate their strategies and tactics through role play, which is fine, but their role plays demonstrate more tactics than what they have already taught. They should never include more in the role play than their audience has learned from them. Here is an example. You take a seven year old to the movies. If it’s an age appropriate movie, rated G or PG, all of the previews are age appropriate and the seven year-old gets it – all of it. However, if you take the seven year-old to a PG-13 movie, then the previews are a bit overwhelming. The seven year-old can tell you whether it seems exciting, funny or scary, but the seven year-old doesn’t understand the theme, content or mature dialog. They haven’t been exposed to that stuff yet. Same thing with your salespeople. If the trainer has already exposed them to the basics, and includes only the basics in role play, the salespeople get it. It’s age appropriate. But if the trainer includes material that the salespeople haven’t been exposed to, they can only tell you whether they like it or it seems scary. The role play is a bit overwhelming because they haven’t been exposed to that stuff yet.
- Some of the sales trainers just aren’t that good. They fail to relate, engage, understand, entertain and change the salespeople they are training.
- Much of the content isn’t that good. Some of it is just plain outdated while much of the other content around isn’t complete, only focusing on certain parts of the sales cycle.
- Some of them only know strategies and tactics but they don’t understand the laws of cause and effect. They can’t get to the real reasons why salespeople fail to execute the strategies and tactics.
There are at least as many more reasons but this article is already longer than it should be. We’ll just call it part 1 and I’ll circle back with part 2 at a later date.