Is Sales Training Wasting Your Time?
Sales training is big business in the U.S. On average, organizations spend $5,000 annually on training each sales rep. On a larger scale, 94 percent of organizations invest in sales training, and U.S. companies spend a grand total of $20 billion a year.
When you consider the costs of sales training as well as the time investment, you have to ask, “Is it really worth it?” Here are some reasons why it’s often more trouble than it is worth, and how you can best prepare your sales staff without wasting time
It’s Become Antiquated
Sales training seminars were one of the go-to strategies back in the 1980s, 1990s and even early 2000s. These events often conjure up imagery of a slick, hotshot sales guru in an ugly suit imparting his wisdom on an eager audience hanging on every last word.
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The guru might have instructed his fledgling audience to use a lot of cheesy sales lines like, “Are you the decision maker?” or “What’s it going to take to get you to buy today?”
Fast-forward to 2016, and this type of seminar is laughable. We’re living in arguably the most dynamic period of sales – in which sales techniques are constantly evolving – and the same static sales approach used a decade ago simply won’t hack it anymore.
The Limits of a One-Off Sales Training Event
Let’s be honest – sales reps aren’t going to retain 100 percent of what they learn at a single training event. Not even close.
Even if the material is broken down over the course of three or four days, they’re only going to walk away with a fraction of the content fully digested and ready to put to use. Having a sales trainer cram mountains of information down your reps’ throats is likely to only have a marginal impact and probably isn’t worth the time or money.
There’s also no one-size-fits-all solution for every company – and there are a myriad of variables that will contribute to the success (or failure) of a sales force. Consequently, there are no guarantees that a sales trainer’s “solution” will be effective.
A Better Way
Even with sales training, 49 percent of all reps are under quota in any given fiscal year. This begs the question: Isn’t there a better way to educate sales reps and maximize their production without formal sales training? Why yes, yes there is.
Perhaps the best way to achieve the results you’re looking for is to create a culture of perpetual learning and ensure that your sales reps are making consistent progress. Rather than them attending a sales training event once or twice a year, it’s arguably much more effective to provide ongoing coaching in-house where managers offer guidance in a more intimate setting.
Not only does this aid in the retention of information, it creates a more tight-knit sales force and better team chemistry. However, for this strategy to be effective, it’s important to have managers who not only have a wealth of experience, but who know how to coach and possess sound leadership skills.
CPQ as a Sales Training Solution
When it comes to newer reps that are stilling learning the ropes, CPQ software can streamline many of their tasks and make their lives easier while simultaneously improving the customer experience. This reduces the need for formal training and puts reps in a better position to succeed.
Although traditional sales training does have some merit, it’s simply not as relevant or practical as it was a decade or so ago. If it’s clear that you’re wasting time and money on sales training and it’s doing more harm than good, then you’ll want to try another approach to give your reps the edge.
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