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Sales Training is not an Event…it’s a Process

We don’t say that reps are “sales trained” – we refer to it as “sales training.” And for a good reason:  sales training must be a continuous process if you are going to be successful in today’s B2B sales environment.

3 facts every seller should know

  1. 94% of buyers have conducted online research before purchasing[1]
  2. it takes an average sales rep 7 – 9 months to be productive[2]
  3. sales reps forget approximately 85% of the content and skills they have learned within 30 days[3]

The typical response

The statistics are well-documented.  Which is why companies invest in training their sales teams – spending as much as $1,238[4] per employee per year to on-board new reps, train them on product lines, competitors’ products, and on the company’s standard sales processes.

The problem is, reps forget what they’ve learned and fall back into their old habits of selling what they know best or the 20% they remember.  Reps fail to make quota, get discouraged, and leave within 2 years or less, with less experienced reps leaving sooner.  And so it goes:  hire new rep – train – fail – repeat cycle.

Sound familiar?

The real problem

Ask yourselves these questions:  Do your sales reps have all the information they need when they need it?   Is the information current?   Do your sales managers know whether their sales teams are following your company’s sales processes and best practices?  Can they review metrics to see which processes their best sales reps are following?  Can they replicate those across their sales teams to improve overall team performance?

Yes, successful selling is a process.  But it all starts with understanding that sales training is a process – and that process must be rooted in technology to be effective, productive and ultimately successful.

The experts’ predictions of what it will take

Sales Training Process“Sales training” is a continuous and iterative process that must keep pace with today’s dynamic buying environment.

Learning agility will emerge as a critical skill necessary for both sales leaders and salespeople.  ~ Jill Konrath, author of Agile Selling, SNAP Selling, Selling to Big Companies

Sales professionals’ biggest challenges will be educating and informing rather than interrupting and selling.  ~ David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Sales and Service

The biggest challenge for sellers is staying relevant to meet buyers where they are at in their buying process to give them what they need during the sales process so they can make a decision efficiently.  ~ Nancy Bleeke, President, Sales Pro Insider

Sales processes must be modified to reflect how buyers want to buy.  Every interaction with them will be well thought out and deliver value.  No more making them “earn” the right to information.  We will put it at their fingertips.  ~ Trish Bertuzzi, The Bridge Group

Subject matter experts who understand and can help guide the sales process will drive growth in B2B companies.  ~ Ian Altman, Business Trends That Will Drive Success in 2017

We spend too much time teaching sales professionals how to sell, and not enough time learning how buyer’s buy. ~ Michael Nick, Author of the bestselling book The Key to the C-Suite

What can you do?

It’s easy to buy the latest tools and gadgets – but if you don’t know how, when or where to use them and which ones are working, how can you identify and replicate the right and best ones?  There is no easy, one-size-fits-all solution.

It starts with hiring right – your sales reps must not be technology-averse but must embrace your technology tools and utilize them to become “subject matter experts”.  Your marketing department must remain vigilant with up-to-date information that is shared with sales so their conversations with prospects are knowledgeable and relevant.  Sales leaders must continually review and refine sales processes and communicate those to their sales teams in a timely fashion.  It’s all process-oriented.

[1]  Accenture, B2B Procurement Study
[2]  CSO Insights; Marketing Profs, The Three Biggest Challenges of Today’s Sales Reps
[3]  ATD Journal
[4]  2016 Training Industry Report

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