Recently, we interviewed a client who is in a business for almost 25 years and their sales is primarily done from field. The conversation went as follows:
Q. When was the last time you took up sales training intervention?
A. In our 25 years of working, we have never done training for the sales staff.
Q. What prompted you to go for the sales training intervention now?
A. We are constantly facing sales pressure over the last many years competing with China and not able to increase margins. The new product launches are quite weak and we get sales from few large accounts only.
Q. Why sales training only? A. We had plans to take up one from a very long time but it always got postponed. But, this year we decided to put sales training on priority to make it as a part of our learning initiative and here we are. .
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 or account management intervention, there is no clear rule book in many companies.
In this blog, based on our experiences of working with multiple companies of different industries, we have following 6 circumstances where sales training is mandatory.
depends on few star performers
Sales are happening, but results are not uniform. It varies based on markets, products or even on few star performers. As a part of motivation, it is best to bring uniformity in results by helping the sales team learn best practices and adopt a unified process.
2. Entry of new competitors affecting sales
Market dynamics changes due to competition. If you are in a monopoly or duopoly market and a new player enters and creates disruption, most sales people struggle to adapt to new dynamics. This is the time for the sales team to master new skills and increase capability.
3. Changing buying patterns
In today’s world, the buyers and buying environment is constantly changing. Most buyers 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.
4. Low sales conversions
If you have data that shows salespeople not able to close sales, struggle to handle objections or lose on margins, then a quick way to increase sales is to up skill the team with advanced selling skills. Again, you may need to find here long term solutions in terms of better product features and customer service.
5. 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. They do it by bringing business from known accounts and becoming satisfied 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.
6. 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 the intervention.
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!