Conventional wisdom holds that continuous sales training is essential. I wonder why there isn’t more of it going on…
Ask any sales manager about the need for continuous sales training and you instantly get agreement that it is important. So why isn’t there more of it going on?
The fact is, most money spent on sales training is wasted. Typically, it annoys most reps, bores many and is totally forgotten within 30 days.
This is true due to three missing links:
- Credibility – “Who is this sales seminar leader and why on earth should I follow his/her advice?”
- Relevance – “Maybe this stuff works in the X industry, but I don’t see how it applies here.”
- Reinforcement – “I’ll implement these new ideas just as soon as I have the time.” (…yeah, right…)
You can get around these issues and reap bigger payback from your training budget with a Sales Excellence Council. Put the best of your best reps on it. (i.e., those who are most respected by the rest of the team) That alone takes care of missing links one and two.
Next, provide proof that you’re serious about mining the brains of these folks for the benefit of all your reps. In other words, provide funding for and relentlessly conduct monthly 1/2 day “SEC” meetings. Their objective is to identify, clarify and communicate sales best practices – the tactical actions that produce the fastest, most tangible results for your business.
At the risk of being repetitive …the mission of your Sales Excellence Council is to:
- Identify the best sales practices of your best reps
- Clarify – write them down in specific detail
- Communicate – make sure ALL your reps know how to replicate the power of each best practice
Many firms find it helpful to use an outside facilitator to start and keep the ball rolling. This person would need all the classic qualifications of a sales trainer PLUS expertise in knowledge management and process engineering.
I’ll conclude by stating the obvious… Your best reps will always be the best source of sales tactics and strategies that work. Don’t waste time and money on standardized sales training. Tap into the gold mine you already have on the payroll. Fund it. Plan it. Do it.