How Serious is Your Sales Training?

Can we all agree that sales is a profession? If you believe it is a hobby or part-time job, you can quit reading now because this is for professionals only.

I’ve been thinking and writing about sales training a lot lately. Two particular articles, Are you the person responsible for sales training, and How necessary is sales training to your corporate success, reflect some of my philosophy.

I know that training is essential to a company’s success, yet I see salespeople struggling to succeed. Why is this? I can only work from my own experience, and with only one exception, it was not a positive one.

I understand the cost factor in extensive training, but I also know it pays off in the long run. Well-trained salespeople tend to stay longer on the job and make more sales at better margins. That is a win/win to me.

Can We Agree Sales Training is Essential?

Let’s start with the basics. All new hires need to know how to use your CRM and order software. They need to learn the product line and become familiar with all the products applications.

  • How are each product compared to others in the line?
  • How are your products compared to the competitor’s product line?
  • What circumstances does each perform best?
  • How do you demonstrate the best qualities of each product?

I’ve witnessed this type of training handled in a half-day session, and then the salesperson is booted out to make calls. Really?

Here is a copy of the list I mentioned in one of the linked articles. Without these and maybe a few more, how are salespeople supposed to accomplish the company’s desired goals?

– CRM training
– Company sales philosophy
– Product knowledge
– Prospect Approach
– Prospects background
– Competitor knowledge
– Time management
– Territory management
– Appointment setting
– Prospect meetings/How to handle
– Implementation/Delivery
– Repeated questions/objections from prospects
– Anything specific to the industry/might include non-disclosures or privacy issues

I’m Curious

In your experience, do companies put sales quotas on new hires for their first few months? What type of expectations do they have?

Do they give a startup time like a month or a quarter?

How is pay tied to sales in their first time frame in the field? Do they have a draw, a salary, or a commission?

I’ve worked through each of these at different times and companies.

My first sales job was commission only with no sales quota. I had to sell to get paid and if I didn’t sell, it didn’t cost the company anything. I came to love this pay plan because I could work as hard as I wanted and earn the money I wanted.

Of course, as told in another article, there was no sales training with that job. I had to teach myself how to sell. Books and tapes from the library became my trainers. It took a while, but I was a success.

What Constitutes Training?

In preparation for a few of these articles, I worked on a mindmap to get my thoughts in order. Here are my thoughts on What Constitutes Training. It is not a comprehensive list but should begin a conversation.

What constitutes training?

As you can see, companies could be more comprehensive in thinking about their training programs.

What thoughts do you have with training? Does your company do a good job? I’d love to hear how other companies handle this topic.

If your talking, I'm listening