A naval fighter pilot averages between 200-300 hours of actual flight time each year. This does not seem like a lot of time considering there is 2080 plus work hours in a normal working year. What do they do with the other 1780 hours; they train!
There are actually several parallels between navy pilots and outsourcing sales professionals. In non-combat situations, a navy pilot spends time in training perfecting his flying skills under different conditions. Ongoing training is critical to ensure that a Navy pilot is always at the top of their game. They are after all in charge of a $55M piece of equipment and have the responsibility for the safety and welfare of many people.
Outsourcing sales execs are managing the pursuit outsourcing contracts that could be worth several hundred million dollars each. A fairly similar financial responsibility to taking care of a $55M aircraft. Navy pilots are responsible for protecting the well being of their country and citizens. Outsourcing sales professionals are responsible for the care and welfare of their company and corporate citizens, a responsibility that true professionals never take lightly.
How NOT to Do Professional Sales Training
Sales training is a budget and time decision for outsourcing companies. Too often training is an afterthought – sometimes only factored into the annual sales kick off and even then it may only involve a token half-day “filler” session. Someone decides that since all the sales professional are together for kick off now is the perfect time to throw a sales training session at them. The truth is unless that training is for a new product/service rollout – or maybe process-reinforcement – this “one size fits all” approach is usually a waste of time and resource. Not to mention the fact that it really annoys your A players.
Consider an Alternative Training Approach for 2012, the 2% rule.
Allocate 35-40 hours of training time per outsourcing sale professional during 2012. This may seem like a lot of selling time being allocated to training but it’s not. Since 8-16 hours will likely be used annually for group training, this leaves 20-24 hours of training time that can be applied to the specific and individual needs of each person on your sale team.
Examples of Individual Training Opportunities
Some team members may want to improve the negotiation skills, other may need to improve their knowledge of finance to help construct more successful deal structures. Novice team members may need better industry knowledge in their vertical market. Another advantage of individually specific training is it allows team members to schedule their training well in advance to ensure they get it on their calendar and work their schedules effectively. Regardless of the individual need it makes sense to invest in better skills on a continuing basis. Your sales people will become more effective and they will appreciate the investment you are making in them.
Looking for Effective Training Solutions?
3FORWARD has relationships with many excellent resources in the sales training arena, please contact us if we can help you with your outsourcing sales training requirements.