Most people in a sales capacity have gone through sales training.
Often, the training has been offered at work and could have been in-house or, more likely, outsourced. Popular ones in North America are SPIN, Infomentis, Covey or Winning Inc. There are many other companies, methodologies and authors who are parlaying a book into a training career.
Most sales training fail. While there are often incremental or short-term benefits, a long-term and apparent goal is not realized. The training is soon forgotten or its practice diminished. Here are several reasons why.
1- The particular sales training is not suited for the company, mission or the level of employees being trained. Just because one methodology works for company ‘IME’, does not necessarily follow that it is pertinent for company ‘AHG.’ What does your company do? Which industry do you compete in? Are the trainers experienced and knowledgeable in the nuances of your firm’s competency?
2- The coaching firm was picked because the principle or the trainer is an acquaintance of an executive. This is why there might be a mismatch between the supplier and the subject of the training. It might also be why the training is fleeting. With the departure of one executive, the training company is also exchanged for another.
3- You wanted training, coaching and knowledge. You got a motivational speaker instead. What happens once the ‘ra ra’ of the master/guru dies and the adrenalin subsides? A motivational speaker does not speak to the company’s talent deficiency.
4- Most important reason most sales training fails is that either there is no follow-up planned, no follow-up budgeted for, the training is not in the trenches or does not extend to actual coaching in the trenches and, most importantly, is not a process. Perhaps there is no way, including a tool, to measure the implementation of the course’s recommendation and observance. Learning does not happen in an hour or a day. Practice makes perfect. The training has to project from the classroom to the desk, office or the field and be measured there.
Sales training assumes a team with a level of acumen and complex thinking ability. Absent these training may be early and not suitable for the team.
Companies should make a long-term commitment to a sales methodology, based on analyzed needs, and pursue it with consistency. Short-term training that is not followed up and only stays with a company for a short period and is not subsequently measured where it is practiced is bound to be short-lived.