Have you spent money on sales training without seeing rewards? Are its promises of increased revenue and the vision of stress-free management evaporating? Well, you are not alone. And here are four reasons why:
Many sales training organizations focus on tactics and strategies only. They teach a repeatable process which in and of itself is fine. In fact, getting everyone to use a repeatable process is essential and it absolutely will increase revenue some. Mapping out who the stakeholders are is also important. And establishing a sequential flow to any sales conversation is critical. These all make complete sense within the framework of a sales workshop or a sales kick-off.
But, if success in sales was just about laying out an account map and telling sellers what to say, everyone would be crushing their sales goals. The sad truth is that roughly half of salespeople miss their quota. And that statistic doesn’t seem to be improving, even though there are numerous sales training options, sales enablement systems and varied selling avenues such as social selling.
There is more to the story…
Too many times management believes that bringing in an outside voice will change everything. Or that having a high-impact two-day event will make a difference. I am sorry to tell you but one or two-day events are more entertaining than impactful.
Sure, there usually are some nuggets that can be gleaned from attending a workshop. The hard part is putting them into practice – or sticking with the newly taught tactics when the going gets rough. It is far easier for an individual to “try” something new, only to dismiss the skill as “not appropriate” for their clientele. Usually, it is just because they aren’t proficient at it yet.
Any money you spend on training must be reinforced with these elements:
When you embark on sales training, are your expectations real? There are three elements that go into analyzing whether you are living in the real-world or not.
Finally, the biggest problem with the inability to apply what is taught in sales training is the sellers’ mindset, or what we refer to as their Sales DNA. Too often sales training workshops are focused on “how” to do something. Training participants sit in these workshops and believe they can do it. They might even be asked to practice while attending and all goes well. So, they are sent to the wolves.
Guess what happens when these salespeople are in front of a real live prospect? Their mindset kicks into high gear. They get too consumed with how they are coming off as a pushy salesperson. Or, their pre-conceived notions of the situation prevent them from asking enough questions.
There are five primary elements that we have found either support the tactics and strategies that are typically taught in sales training or sabotage salespeople’s efforts. These all can be coached and improved with training, but most programs do not know how to address them.
I highlight them here with statistics from a database of 550,000 salespeople around the world*:
Need for Approval: 58% of salespeople suffer from a need to be liked more than they need to close the business. This causes them to let prospects off the hook and refrain from probing better. They are then perceived by the prospect as a typical salesperson rather than an advisor, and a necessary one.
Non-supportive Beliefs: 84% of salespeople possess self-limiting beliefs such as “It’s okay if my prospect shops around.” Or “Prospects that think it over will usually buy from me.” Or worst of all, “Prospects are honest.” These beliefs frequently derail the sale before it can even begin.
Non-supportive Buy Cycle™: This term refers to salespeople that possess personal purchasing habits that are not conducive to quickly closing the sale. 72% have this problem that causes them to accept put-offs and stalls.
Money Issues: When salespeople are not comfortable discussing money or have self-inflicted ceilings regarding what constitutes “a lot of money” then they have difficulty selling value. They waste time with the prospects who can’t or won’t pay their price. Fully 60% of salespeople are not comfortable discussing money.
Lack of Emotional Discipline: While it is important to get the prospect emotionally engaged in the purchase, many salespeople lose emotional control by listening too much to the voices in their head. Fully 63% of sellers lack emotional discipline in selling situations, which means they hear what they want to hear and believe what they want to believe about an opportunity. This results in a pipeline that is bloated with deals just hang around and never close.
If you embark on sales training be sure to implement the reinforcement strategies identified above. And, rather than just focusing on strategies, tactics and account plans, spend energy on mindset issues.
Just to be clear, your managers likely have some mindset challenges as well which need to be dealt with or they will not be able to appropriately coach and motivate. They also won’t be able to adeptly hold sellers accountable to new standards of behavior.
If I have thrown you into a tizzy about the wasted training dollars being spent, let me know. We can help you implement any of or all these elements.
*Data compliments of OMG
Gretchen Gordon is the founder of Braveheart Sales Performance, a consulting firm specializing in sales team transformation. A self-proclaimed “Sales Nerd” with over 27 years of sales, sales leadership and sales team transformation experience, she spends most of her time working directly with client companies and helping them improve their sales effectiveness and exceed their sales goals. Gretchen is also a frequent guest speaker for industry events and webcasts, and has been featured on the radio talk shows “Meet the Sales Experts” and "Sales Coaching over Coffee." She is also an accomplished writer, having been featured on industry-leading sites like SellingPower.com and SecurityInfoWatch.com. She authors a “Top 50 Sales Management Blog,” according to Docurated.com, and has published sales-focused eBooks, including “The 5 Essentials of Effective Sales Management” and “Cold Calling in the 21st Century.”