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The Answer To Underperforming Sales Isn't Sales Training

Many CEO's believe the answer to underperforming sales is to send their sales team, sales leader included, to sales training – which could cost them $10k or more. Most of this training is "off-the-shelf" with a few customizations to make it more applicable to their company. But that type of training is rarely the answer, nor does it get the results that the business needs. Instead, our experience working with sales teams has shown that sales training needs to be customized, applied, and then reinforced to really work.

Common Issues after Sales Training

At first, the team and CEO come back from sales training thinking, "Wow, that was awesome." But then after 30 days, the concepts and methodology that the team has learned are gone. So, the following year the CEO again sends the sales team to training, only to a different program because the previous year was considered, "bad training" because it didn't get the results they wanted.

In our experience, that approach to training doesn't work. It's not the final answer. We believe that there is good sales training out there, but since it's not maintained, not coached to, not enforced, it's not retained. These components that happen after training make all the difference.

What Happens With Retention?

One of the many reasons salespeople don't retain their training is because, the sales leader, who's supposed to be an expert and a coach to the sales team, is sitting there in the training learning alongside the rest of the group. They are no more invested or have any more knowledge about the training than anybody on their team.

We believe sales training works best when it's customized to the clients' needs. We work with the sales leader and ask them questions like, "How does this apply to you?" or "What would you change?" We want the sales leader to learn it, understand it, and get their fingerprints all over it – make it their own. When they bring that to their team, the team is more inclined to think 'this is coming from my boss' not an outside party.  The sales leader is also much more likely to want to reinforce something that they helped create and are vested in. That's how you gain momentum.

Then we put in place to ensure the sales leader is reinforcing the training, coaching to it, and even measuring the impact. Sales leaders are most effective when they use the tools we provide to drive home the training with their team. We want to make sure they have everything they need to drive their teams to success and get the results they want.

Customized Sales Training

We have countless companies call us up asking for sales training, and we're happy to oblige. But rather than just conducting generic sales training, we start asking the questions sales training on what?

  • How to prospect
  • How to get in the door
  • How to conduct excellent discovery
  • How to differentiate from the competition and hold value
  • How to close a deal
  • All of the above

Most the time we hear, "Yeah, all of the above." But you can't teach all of that in a matter of just a few hours. All of those categories link to a specific skill, and those skills make up your whole system. So expecting one person to learn and retain an entire system in just a few hours isn't going to happen. You are much better off at really focusing on one part of the process and doing that well.

In The End

To conclude, the solution to underperforming sales is rarely off-the-shelf sales training. It's a combination of customizing the training and tools for your company, involving the sales leader in the development and roll-out of your training, and consistently reinforcing over an extended period of time. We have seen this formula work time and time again.

About Gary Braun

Gary is a founder and co-owner of Pivotal Advisors. He has worked for 20+ years as a salesperson and sales leader. Gary has been a guest speaker for many groups such as Vistage, Allied Executives, CEO Roundtable, Sales Management Association, and more. If you want to find out more about Gary check out his profile here.
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