Recently we asked a client whose company has been in business for almost 25 years and sales is primarily done from field sales when was the last time they did the sales training intervention? The client said, in their 25 years they have never done training for the sales staff.
Then we asked as a follow-up, what prompted now to go for the sales training intervention? The client said, they had been thinking for very long but it kept getting postponed and this year we decided to put sales training as part of the learning initiative and here we are.
So we followed up and asked about sales challenges and they said, they have been constantly facing pressure in sales over the last many years with Chinese competition and not able to increase margins, new product launches are quite weak and sales comes from few large accounts only.
As you see, most businesses are struggling with sales challenges but do not consider sales training as a solution to increase sales. Sales professionals do get trained on product skills but when it comes to selling skills, account management intervention, there is no clear rule book in many companies.
In this blog, based on our experience so far working with 100’s of companies in 10’s different industries, when companies are best to explore sales training an intervention mechanism to improve sales,
depends on few star performers
Sales are happening but results are not uniform. It varies based on markets, products or even depends on a few star performers. If you have data around this, then it is best to bring uniformity by helping the sales team learn best practices and adopt a unified process.
Entry of new competitors affecting sales
Markets dynamics changing due to competition. If you are in a market which in monopoly or duopoly and a new player enters and creates disruption, most salespeople struggle to adapt to new dynamics. This is the time for the sales team to master new skills and increase capability.
Changing buying patterns
In today’s world, if there is one thing happening constantly is the buyer’s and buying environment is constantly changing. Most buyers are today want to do a lot more research by themselves before interacting with salespeople. This calls for salespeople to adapt to the new environment and sales training can definitely help.
Low sales conversions
If you have data and it shows salespeople are not able to close sales, struggle to handle objections or losing on margins or then a quick way to increase sales is to upskill the team with advanced selling skills. Again you may need to find here long term solutions in terms of better product features, customer service.
Salespeople working on easy accounts
There is a tendency among many salespeople to rely on their past success and find an easy way to work. This they do by bringing business from known accounts, and becoming content with completing their quota of sales
They lack the inner drive to explore new markets, upsell or cross-sell. This generally is due to lack of skills, not having the right tools to explore difficult clients. Sales intervention definitely helps.
When you want to enter new markets, launch products
New markets, new products require different strategies, tactics and also skills to implement the same. Sales team who have never been part of new markets or part of new launches require significant upskill.
We listed situations where organisations can explore sales training as an intervention mechanism to help increase sales. But most forward-looking organisations don’t really wait for the situations to arrive and then take up intervention.
Instead, the right approach would be to make sales training initiatives as part of core sales activity. This can be made only when the organization keeps learning as one of their value along with values such as delighting customer, maintaining the quality of deliverable etc.
“The mission announces exactly where you are going, and the values describe the behaviors that will get you there.”Jack Welch, Winning
When this happens, the sales team capability continues to increase and sales training intervention helps salespeople more successful. Successful salespeople means more sales!