1/ It trains ‘what’ not ‘how’
Most traditional sales training programmes are based on processes, a series of things to ‘do’ to the customer. This approach ignores the fundamental behaviours that lead to successful sales conversations and mutually beneficial, long term business relationships.
2/ It’s too generic
Many sales programmes follow a standard formula, which may not reflect local realities. Sales people will dismiss training that they feel is irrelevant to their world, their own customers and objectives. A development programme that does not align global strategies with local needs is unlikely to succeed.
3/ It’s not applied in the real world
No sales training workshop is ever a ‘magic bullet’ that will turn the whole team into an overnight success. If sales people and their managers don’t understand, apply and develop effective behaviours, the new skills will soon be forgotten as business reality gets in the way.
4/ It’s disconnected from business goals
Changes in the market, a new product or an innovative marketing strategy can often be the catalyst for training the sales force. A development programme that actually aligns with new strategies is a great way of maximising success.
5/ It’s about more than just ‘sales training’
In the past, selling was a one-way conversation. With more sophisticated and informed customers, sales people need a wide range of skills; being effective in front of the customer is crucial yet rarely enough. Being able to influence a group, to engage with the right customers and communicate effectively with colleagues are all key skills that need to be demonstrated and developed.
The key message: investment in developing a sales force will show far greater returns if the development programme is useful, practical, relevant and well-supported.
If you’re planning some training for your sales team soon, think about what you can do to avoid and overcome these barriers.