Updated: Sep 13, 2021
Overcoming the challenges of finding the right Sales Training Programs...
Challenge 1: Choosing a common sales methodology to scale the delivery of sales best practices among all members of the sales team.
The 8 Sales Methodologies used by Sales Professionals around the world are:
In my opinion, Consultative Selling is one of the most highly adaptable Sales Methodologies. Concepts, tools and selling systems are easily adopted by Business to Business Sales Teams using this methodology. But it's not everyone. The sales cycles of some products and services do not support the use of consultative selling. For example, high end business to consumer products like 'Time-Share Vacation Properties' seldom use consultative selling to train their reps. 'Duct Cleaning Services' sold over the phone is another example of a service that never uses the consultative selling methodology. However, business to business sales organizations can easily choose one of the most common sales methodologies and use it as a road map to scale their training efforts.
Challenge 2: Choosing a consistent and ongoing training delivery program that level sets selling skills for both new and experienced sales professionals.
Once you have chosen a sales methodology, it's time to choose a delivery program option. Delivery programs can be internally created (DIY) and/or outsourced to a 3rd party sales training company. Let's look at the pros and cons of each option.
DIY Created and Delivered
Company control of key messaging along the sales cycle.
Integration of company standard operating sales procedures with common sales best practices.
Ability to scale product and sales training into one program that reduces overall staff training time.
No available internal expertise to create, and deliver sales training when required.
No systems to measure and manage sales training success.
No consistent sales training plan for both new and existing reps.
3rd Party Sales Training Company
Ability to mobilize training quickly through the use of current training material and scalable delivery systems.
Ability to leverage SME's (subject matter experts) to deliver training materials which establishes credibility among participants of the program.
Ability to provide ongoing reinforcement of skills through coaching and follow-up training programs.
Both long and short term costs of using a 3rd Party training company.
Fleeting nature of trained skills when ongoing reinforcement is not established and measured.
Risk of a 3rd party trainer not following a prescribed and agreed upon methodology and training content.
Here is my take...
Many of the clients I work with recognize both these challenges and particularly the pros and cons of a DIY Training Solution vs a 3rd Party Training. Here is what they are doing and a few recommendations.
Large sales teams have resources to build internal training programs for products and processes. Product and Process Trainers work with you (the Sales Leader) to build and deliver sales training programs that meet the needs of your sales staff. The dilemma occurs when your sales team doesn't feel your trainers have the appropriate 'sales experience' to be credible in training sales best practices. 'A Sales Guru' is then contracted to deliver 'Sales Best Practices' to fill the credibility gap. This works in the short-term, and fills your immediate requirements. Full disclosure: I'm not a fan of a 'Sales Guru' as a sales trainer . Let me explain why.
Just because someone is a great sales rep, doesn't make them a great sales trainer. The same way it doesn't make them a great sales manager. There are acquired skills required in both jobs to be effective. Charisma established through story telling is the visible part of the "Sales Guru' skill set. Sure, it's important, especially if the stories directly relate to sales success in a relevant industry. Personally, I prefer to find the 'Best Sales Rep' and partner with them and include their stories in my sales training plan. After all, I am seldom a product or service expert with most my clients. My expertise is delivering sales best practices, and facilitating their use. Let your 'Best Sales Rep' be the 'Sales Guru', and ensure your sales trainer works with them to breathe life into your sales training program. I believe that Sales training is a team sport!
If you run a small sales team, then you likely don't have the internal resources to build and scale your sales training programs. Find a 3rd Party Sales Training Company that offers open enrolment courses so new and existing reps can participate. Research the sales training company to ensure they offer:
Self-paced and on-demand E-learning content delivery
Optional live sales coaching for the effective use of concepts and tools.
A sales methodology consistent with your product's sales cycle.
As the sales leader, take the concepts and tools and adopt and apply them throughout your (Sales Playbook) standard operating sales procedures. Make the training program yours. Too often, I have seen leaders send reps to sales training programs and then fail to fully integrate the training into the company's operation.
Whether you are a large or small sales team, I will leave you with a few final insights and some shameless promotion. When I designed all of our sales training programs, I recognized the challenges noted above and have a few recommendations:
1 | Choose a Sales Training Company who's Sales Methodology is best aligned with your product/service sales cycle.
2 | DIY Sales Training is a great idea, but don't start a serious training program this way. Hire a Sales Training Company and leverage their training systems by adopting and implementing their sales best practices along your sales cycle. Don't reinvent the wheel. It's pricy and time consuming.
3| Use your Sales Training provider to fill your capacity requirements and at the same time document your (Sales Playbook) Standard Operating Sales Procedures. Include best practices in both tactical and strategic selling skills along the sales cycle.
4 | Having a sales trainer with lots of sales training experience is important. They should be experts at delivering and facilitating sales best practices. They should also be supported by a solid training curriculum and a great company to support them. Let your best reps be the 'Sales Gurus', and make sure your sales trainer can work with them to transfer and model important selling skills.
Sales Training Experts programs are based on Consultative Selling. In my experience, it is the most adaptable methodology available and applies to over 80% of all business to business sales. We also offer open enrolment training for small sales teams. In the spirit of sharing, I am pleased that many of our clients have adopted and implemented our training throughout their sales operation. We have also helped clients document best practices in their Sales Playbook through our Sales Playbook Certification Program. Review our programs and give me a call. Happy to discuss options and answer questions. Book an appointment.
Paul Kidston, MBA, CSP, CSL, ICD.D
Sales Training Experts
BIO: Paul Kidston is the CEO/Managing Partner at Sales Training Experts. Through his company, he has trained over 10,000 sales professionals over the past 15 years. He has extensive experience within multiple industries having successfully documented the Standard Operating Sales Procedures for companies like Irving Oil, Westmount Hospitality, Cansel, Choice Hotels and a host of others. He is the lead designer of all Sales Training Experts current training programs.