It’s the time of year where those of us in the sales performance biz get a lot of calls and inquiries about speaking at a sales offsite or putting a whole sales training program in place for companies large and small.
Because the past year has come and gone – and for many companies, sales weren’t where they expected them to be – they fell flat, or market share wasn’t gained, turnover was high on the sales team, or more competition is looming.
Basically it is because someone at the top said: “Figure this out – your job depends on it”. In some cases, there are proactive organizations who regularly infuse their sales team with knowledge – but much of it falls on deaf ears.
Why? Because sales professionals often don’t need new knowledge. They need a system to meaasure and track their activities – not just the revenue they close – and they need a coach – in house or contracted – who champions them toward success. Most sales managers do not fill this role – hence a universal problem that keeps people like me, and my sales training partners in demand.
Before you hire a sales training organization, do your homework. Know what the real issues are on the team. Do some investigation 1:1 with a subset of your employees. Explain that honesty is the best policy on this topic – try to get to the “whys” of the situation, then let your employees talk. Often what is first seen or thought is not the real, root cause of the problem. If the root cause is not addressed, the solution will be superficial.
Example: It quite regularly happens that I get asked about helping people learn how to “close better” – because of all the deals they have in their pipeline, they close few. Or none, in some cases.
Once I talk with them, I find out they do not know how to qualify well and they don’t have a common language for what a qualified opportunity looks like for their company- hence the opportunities in their pipeline should have never gotten past the “qualified” stage in the first place.
The other issue is that becoming a successful, consultative sales professional is a journey, not a destination. One cameo appearance of a sales training pro or adult learning expert will not change much of anything, because adullts learn through repetition and reinforcement. If this is the thought for your next sales offsite – you’d be better off hiring in some fun entertainment. But if you are serious at affecting behavioral change in your organization, it can be done – just do your homework. I’ll talk more about this next week.
Don’t forget: Our Monday no-charge telecall on sales inspiration – hope to have you on the call!