You run or support a large sales team, and you’ve got a problem. It could be missed top line, perhaps shrinking margins, maybe the wrong product mix, or inaccurate forecasts, but you definitely have a problem. So now what? You analyze the problem, looking for THE root cause only to find a cornucopia of underlying issues:
- Your people don’t qualify well
- They aren’t even attempting to sell the full portfolio
- No one puts anything into the pricey CRM until the last possible minute and even then only when coerced
- Forecast accuracy is really forecast inaccuracy
So you decide you are going to do something about it; you are going to train them! They’ll be trained on everything from how to bring insightful ideas to customers to how to develop buying criteria. You’ll set some standards for what goes into the CRM and start holding people accountable. And, maybe most importantly, you are going to emphasize coaching so that your managers play an active role in driving better skill, better knowledge, and better selling.
Investing in a Solution
So what will all this cost, and what return will you get? Well, the typical sales training event will run a large enterprise customer anywhere from $500 per person to $1,200 per person just to conduct the event. Then, of course, for most enterprise sales teams, attending the training will require travel at approximately $300 per person per day. So, just getting this thing started for a 500 person team and a two day event requires an “investment” of somewhere between $550,000 and $900,000. And don’t forget the logistics of scheduling all this. Chances are if everything works out right, you can get everyone through the training sometime in the next six months, and hopefully the CEO will give you that much time.
Why Training Won’t Work
All this would be reasonable, of course, if the training actually worked. However, there is mounting evidence that it won’t. In fact, a cursory Google search of “sales training doesn’t work” returns more than 4,000 hits. The fact is your training event MAY provide all the right information about all the skill and knowledge your people need in order to be successful. However, within 30 days most will forget the majority of what they learn and precious few will use, let alone master any of it as illustrated by the now famous Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve shown below.
Of course there is an option to overcome the forgetting curve: pay the training provider to keep coming back or trickle follow-on training out to your team. This may actually help IF they have everything you need (or ever will need), and your entire team has a single homogenous development path. Unfortunately, neither is true.
An Alternative Approach
Believe it or not, there is a better way. For about the same amount of money you would spend on a single training event, you can now invest in a Sales Development Platform that will seamlessly integrate learning into your normal business cadence via your existing CRM. Instead of depending on sales training events, sales skill development can happen on the job, one skill at a time, when learning can actually be applied to real selling scenarios. The result will be more productive sellers and managers that are actually coaching. While this approach isn’t for everyone, for many larger sales teams, combining online micro-learning with applications for opportunity management, account management, and sales coaching can facilitate faster, more dramatic, more sustainable business results than any other alternative.
In addition, the right solution should:
- Provide a platform for all sales learning and development, compounding the return on your investment year after year
- Reduce or eliminate the need for classroom learning
- Enable sales managers to become highly effective sales coaches
- Provide tremendous insights on how your team is acquiring new skills and knowledge
- Support improved accountability in the organization
- Drive CRM adoption
Next time you have a sales issue, don’t settle for the same old solution riddled with the same challenges. Take a new approach, and gain a sustainable competitive advantage for your sales team. If you would like to see the first Sales Transformation Platform, visit us at www.axiomsfd.com.