23 Mar 2021

Sales Training and Evaluation: 10 Myth Busters

Having a competent sales team is one of the most important aspects of building a great business. But how to build the competency of the sales team? Most companies prefer to put the salespeople on the field and learn by themselves.

Depending on the salesperson’s ability to win new deals, achieve targets and overall experience determines the competency. This method can work but the challenge is most of the time achieving numbers or not meeting targets doesn’t define the real competency.

The ability of salespeople to adapt to changing market dynamics is the key. To build this level of competence companies are best served if they at more proven ways. One of the most proven ways among the top organizations is keeping the sales team undergoing regular competency-based skill development. In another way taking them through sales training helps them to be equipped with the right knowledge, tools, skills, and attitude.

Now whenever a sales topic is brought up, the often heard retort is that if someone speaks well, they should be in sales. While that may work to a certain extent, selling is not an art and it is a process that has to be inculcated through effective training.

But then there are a lot of myths about sales training and sales capability building. Let’s address some of the common myth’s

1. Sales training is obsolete

This is akin to saying that making money is no more the priority of the company. Just like sports people need training, coders need hackathons, salespeople required training. Training continues to help companies and top companies are investing more and more in keeping their teams skilled to adapt to changing market dynamics. But companies do train salespeople, but the focus is always on product-based training. What gets missed out is the competencies around skills, process, and attitude.

  1. Strategies & tactics to understand market & customers
  2. Building relationships
  3. Key skills such as building rapport, asking questions, listening
  4. Making presentations and handling objections
  5. Being confident and attitude towards understanding clients

2. Sales Training means a motivational speech

This could not have been farthest from the truth. Motivational speech can at best create excitement for a few days and then fizzles out. Sales training is far more nuanced and scientific. It involves processes, specific tools, and skills that will assist the salesperson to understand the buyer better and gain more business.

3. Managers do not need sales training

Once again a classic mistake most companies make. Sales training is not just for the fresher or the rookie or the intern who just joined. Sales management training is relevant for the top management as well as the best performing salesperson. If the top management does not have a clear view of what is happening and what needs to be done, one cannot expect the same from the lower staff.

4. Sales training results cannot be measured

While it is true that there are quite a few factors that decide on the returns, Sales training too can be quantified. The common ways to measure any intervention success are the participants learning ability, their own daily activities improvement, their tools usage, and finally the end results in terms of quantitative numbers. To learn more on how to measure sales training ROI, watch this video.

5. Sales training is primarily classroom-based

There used to be a time when most of the training was held in the classroom. But with COVID19 companies have realized that restricting classrooms deprives people of receiving training. So now virtual and online training are equally accepted.

And not just instructor-led classroom and virtual, as mentioned in the article by Vocational Training HQ, there are essentially 10 types of training that exist that can be leveraged depending on the size of the company and nature of the intervention. Those interested can read further here.

In terms of effectiveness, it is seen, virtual training with features or breakout rooms, recordings, whiteboard and many other apps like Zoom, Microsoft Team, training is equally effective with the additional benefit of lower cost in terms of travel and flexibility of doing from anywhere and anytime.

Now that the organization has decided to provide Sales Training, it must now evaluate companies providing Sales Training. But first, a few myths surrounding this evaluation process should be busted.

6. Hire the biggest sales training company

While it does work at times, the best way to evaluate a company is to check their methodologies, their understanding of markets, and also their uniqueness in terms of delivery and post-implementation support.

Of course, past work also counts, but that should not be the only criteria.

7. Implementation support not required

The role of a company does not end with the end of the training. They would need to evaluate the ROI that comes with the business process. Follow-up actions and rectifications need to be taken if weaknesses are found.

8. Sales content is all the same

Untrue! Sales methodologies have to be catered to as per the products involved or domains served. Hence, sales training companies need to have varied courses and methods to provide the same. This needs to be evaluated too.

9. Sales training is done only ones a year as it costs too much

Doing sales training as a routine such as the end of the year, the annual day is not the right approach. Cutting down on sales training due to cost again means cutting down sales revenue many times, trained salespeople bring more revenue always.

And sales training is tied to business dynamics and needs to be done depending on various situations. There are 6 situations when sales training is mandatory,

  1. If you majority sales comes from few star performers
  2. New competition affecting sales
  3. Buying pattern is changing
  4. Sales conversions is not good
  5. Salespeople complacent and work on easy accounts
  6. New market or product development.

10. Expertise is temporary

That comes with experience or hold on the subject. Both can be taken into account. A new sales training company may not have the industry experience but has the uniqueness in delivery need not be placed at a disadvantage.

Businesses flourish on the premise of sales and without it nothing much would work.  Sales hold a unique position in the scheme of things. At times, it is the only thing that matters.