As we all know and have probably experienced in our career, there are a lot of sales training programs out there in the marketplace. We typically sit in a room for hours or sometimes days listening to an instructor tell you how to close more deals or improve a certain skillset. .
One of my early experiences was with a company called Lanier. At the time we were selling a new concept for the B2B marketplace. The training was rigorous. They demanded that each of us trainees could do an effective cold call, effective first meeting, effective discovery meeting, demo, solution presentation and close. It was "intense" to say the least. But it worked and I was very successful because of that rigor of sales certification that I implemented into my daily work life.
So today, there is tons of content: sales playbooks, scripts, training, process, etc. at your finger tips and companies spend BILLIONS on these programs each year. A lot of these programs are great, but let’s face it folks, there is no instant fix when it comes to a broken sales machine.
CSO expectations are usually very clear. The program must provide an increased skill level or increased sales in order to justify the spend.
So I would like to provide a few points for you to consider when looking into this area. This is based on a lot of client engagements:.
- First: Understand well the persona/buyer you are selling to before you train. Why? A lot of training is on techniques and process; if you cannot relate the training to your target personas, the training will not be as relevant or stick.
- Second, ensure that the training you are receiving is mapped to your sales process. Ask: where is this knowledge going to be applicable to my sales funnel or improving my skill set? Most importantly is this going to make the salesperson more effective at a key activity? Those are steps that move the sales forward, like good conversations, first meetings, solution presentations etc.
- Third, ensure that there is a scenario or a relevant case study in front of the students to map how this training will work in real life situations. The best way I know is to ensure there is a pre-work assignment that includes the scenario, the persona, the sales process and how this training will increase sales or improve skillset.
- Finally, CERTIFY, CERTIFY, CERTIFY. Ensure the student can make a cold call, conduct a first meeting, and that the knowledge imparted in the training is learned, acknowledged and implemented into their daily lives. Do this with fellow classmates, and ensure sales management is involved. And stop kidding yourself, if they cannot do it in the classroom, they will not do it with a customer or prospect.