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Anyone See Value In Sales Training? Anyone?

The vacant stares from the students in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off during the economic policy lesson scene reminds me of most sales training I have attended.

I am not alone.  Mention “sales training” to just about any sales organization or C-Team and expect to get the same 1,000 yard stare.  Sales will claim they don’t need training, nor can they afford to take time away from their critical prospecting and client activities.  The executive team questions the payback of sales training since real ROI is almost impossible to calculate.

Truth is, enlightened CEO’s and CSO’s do understand the benefits of some product and industry training and increasingly in specialized, advanced sales skills training. CSO Insights 2011 Sales Optimization Study showed that investment in B2B sales training increased by 9.5% per rep from 2009 to 2010 – more importantly it showed the quality and the diversity of the training increased.  This is an indicator that companies are looking to training as a way to grow revenues through sales efficiency, not just headcount.

Change it up!

Rather than traditional classroom or seminar sales training consider an approach that meets the needs of your Reps on an individual basis. By spending time with each sales person you can jointly determine key skills they need. This approach also creates broader buy-in for the training and doesn’t waste time or resource training people on skills they already have (or don’t need in their role).

Examples of individual training curriculums:

  • Negotiation seminars
  • Conferences/seminars focused on industry macro trends
  • Improving listening skills
  • Selling value not cost
  • Time management techniques
  • Use of technology in the sales process
  • Social selling
  • Sales leadership skills training

Done correctly, sales rep-specific training is a sound investment for your team and your company – one your CEO will appreciate as it provides returns for years to come.

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