Trade Promotion Management News

Money down the drain: sales training is not effective

Companies are spending billions on sales training and improvement initiatives annually but, according to a report from Sales Training International, aggregate metrics for sales effectiveness have failed to reach pre-2000 levels at any point in the last decade.

The report Why Sales Training Often Failsis the first of a series of three on the future of sales training. It claims to "[use] two decades of research and customer experience … to explore five of the principal barriers to sustainable results for sales training" and to "set the stage for moving to a 'programmatic' performance improvement approach."

The report says that without systematic, ongoing learning and reinforcement, approximately 50 percent of the learning content of sales training is not retained beyond five weeks, much less applied and that within 90 days, 84 percent of what was initially learned is lost. "With revenue growth as job number one, it’s critical to identify core reasons as to why companies aren’t attaining a higher return on their educational investments in sales," the report concludes.

It identifies ineffective training as being a contributor to a general decline in sales performance. "While general economic trends clearly contributed … at no point in the last decade have key sales performance metrics, such as quota attainment, returned to pre 2000 levels. In other words 2009 [in the wake of the global financial crisis] simply amplified what has been a decade of non-improvement - in spite of billions of dollars of corporate investment, aggregate levels of sales performance have remained flat or declined."

The report then identifies "five key barriers to sustained performance improvements".

- Too much too soon.
"Since 'time in territory' is often a sacred precept for sales organisations, exposure to training is often forced into an intensive classroom experience, where the goal is to infuse as much “learning” as possible into a limited time frame."

- Sales training not aligned around a proven sales process.
"While these elements are essential to good training, if there is no process 'backbone' to attach new practices to, the new methods are applied sporadically and soon fall into disuse. In essence, new skills fail to 'stick' without a committed change in the overall sales approach and philosophy."

- Fragmented approaches fail to provide a continual learning experience.
"Many initiatives (and training vendors) apply a partial or fragmented training approach that fails to address specific types of learning. Simply providing 'blended' learning that is comprised of instructor-led and eLearning courses may not improve retention and application results."

- Gaps exist in the training curriculum for specific roles and competencies.
"There are as many as 10-12 key competency areas (groups of skills) for high levels of sales effectiveness in large sales organisations. Even when there are attempts to define skills gaps with some level of rigour, some of the most critical competencies are often omitted from a formal training regimen."

 - Sales management is overwhelmed.
"Sales management and coaching is often cited as an imperative when new training is introduced to a sales organisation."

Next week we'll look at what Sales Training International has to offer by way of insights into how to remove these barriers.

SalesAtWork

SalesAtWork embodies all the necessary features required to deliver industry 'best sales practise', SalesAtWork sets the standard to allow different industries to consistently focus on, evolve and improve sales processes.

To find out more about SalesAtWork mobile sales force management and trade promotions management solution www.salesatwork.com

About SalesAtWork

SalesAtWork embodies all the necessary features required to deliver industry 'best sales practise', SalesAtWork sets the standard to allow different industries to consistently focus on, evolve and improve sales processes.

To find out more about SalesAtWork mobile sales force management and trade promotions managment solution www.salesatwork.com

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