Do you think that sales training is going to work? You’re probably wrong
Your sales team is missing its target, morale is low, and you’re stressing out. Clearly if they were trained they would excel and they’ll be hitting their targets by Friday.
If only it worked that way.
Unfortunately, this is a common thought amongst business and sales leaders, but sales problems usually stem from something much deeper.
Take a look in the mirror.
The inconvenient truth is that poor sales performance is more of a reflection on management rather than the sales rep. It often starts right from the beginning by making a bad hire. No matter how effective your management is, if you’ve got the wrong person in the job, it won’t matter, they won’t hit their target and you’ll have made an expensive mistake.
This is the biggest problem in most sales organizations and why one quarter they will be crushing it, and the next they’ll completely miss the mark. Sales should be treated as a scientific process. This means uniform hiring practices, a planned and built out sales rep onboarding process, a coaching strategy, and most importantly, an ever-evolving sales playbook. More on why you need one in a bit.
It doesn’t address the biggest problem of all.
Top of the funnel (ie lead generation and prospecting) is the biggest problem that most sales organizations face. Unfortunately, most sales training is focused around sales meetings, but if your sales reps don’t have enough leads that training isn’t going to help. You must make sure that your sales process has a solid lead generation strategy in place and if you’re going to focus your training on anything, this is what you need to focus on.
In fact, if you can solve the top of the funnel conundrum sales training becomes less important because your sales team will be having a lot of live and active conversations with clients, addressing real problems and learning as they go. This doesn’t mean that reps don’t need ongoing training and coaching; like trained athletes they need help to stay at the top of their game. However, just like an athlete, if they’re constantly competing in the Olympics they will stay in tip-top shape.
It’s a one night stand
Sales training is, unfortunately, often a one night stand. You have someone come in and dazzle you with their tactics, closing techniques, but, unfortunately, this is not how things work in the real world of sales.
But it has its place
Sales training, when done right, is absolutely a force multiplier when it comes to performance, but building a winning sales team is like building a house. You need a blueprint (a sales playbook), you need to set the foundation (creating an effective prospecting strategy), and you need to bring in skilled labor (sales leadership or consultants like myself) who will use the right tools to build you house.
Once you’ve built your house and you want to start adding the final touches you call in the interior decorator (sales trainer) to put the final touches on the house
But it will need ongoing work.
A sales playbook is essential to building a winning sales program. It is a tome of work that consists of your company’s (as opposed to everyone else’s) best sales practices. Creating a working playbook that evolves with your sales process creates accountability, accelerates new rep onboarding, and will take your sales organization to the next level.