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    Why you can't buy sales training and consulting like you used to

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    Sales training is important to a high-performing team, and there have never been as many options as there are today. Online training, in-person workshops, blended learning, off-the-shelf, customized, training with consulting, consulting with training.

    So many options, yet so few results.

    Every year, sales organizations spend between $500 and thousands of dollars per salesperson on training, yet overall sales effectiveness remains stagnant at best.

    The problem is that most sales organizations continue to buy sales training the way they always have. And that’s a problem.

    Here are 5 reasons you can’t keep buying training the way you used to. Then I’ll share what to do instead.

    1. Training retention rates are abysmal
      Estimates vary, but some say as little as 20% of learning is retained weeks after a training event unless properly reinforced over time. Whatever the actual numbers are, we all know that rubber-banding is a problem. ROI on training hits rock bottom when salespeople can’t or won’t do what they’ve been trained to do.

      This problem is not going away, and it continues to get worse as more is demanded of salespeople and as buying behaviors shift. Organizations can’t afford to continue buying training that doesn’t include an execution and reinforcement component.

    2. Customer behavior evolves fast
      Customer behavior has never changed as fast as it is changing today. While this is especially true in consumer sales, it’s just as true in b2b. Markets change, technologies change, corporate structures change, priorities change, options change, buying committees change.

      Fast-evolving customer behavior means sales teams need to evolve fast, too. When you buy off-the-shelf training, there’s no way for it to adapt to the needs of your customers. Weekend workshops, once-off training–none of that provides for an agile response to changing customer behavior.

    3. Sales technology continues to eat up more budget
      Every year, the per-user cost of technology goes up within sales organizations. Some of this increase is tracked and reported, but I believe organizations are spending even more than they realize.

      Point pollution and the Hydra of technology complexity eat up time and money that used to be spent on training and consulting–without yielding better results. As long as this continues, organizations will continue to deal with shrinking training budgets even as their training needs increase.

    4. The training industry is consolidating
      Just in the past couple of years, some major training firms have been bought up by larger firms, only to be swallowed up again by even larger corporations.

      Consolidation is nothing new, but its pace has increased and this leaves sales organizations with a tough choice to make: Go with one of the big names, or choose a smaller firm. In the first case, you get access to a lot of bench strength and features, but you may lose the personal touch and may pay a lot more for features you don’t need. In the second case, you get a more custom and hands-on approach, but you may not get a complete, holistic solution.

    5. Sales enablement is useless in a vacuum
      Sales enablement that is disconnected from strategy, process, training, and coaching is pointless. Simply throwing content at salespeople doesn’t work.

      Instead, forward-thinking organizations are approaching sales enablement as a holistic function that includes strategy, process, training, coaching, reinforcement, analytics, content delivery, and other tools as called for by the strategy and process.

      In this environment, sales training can no longer be approached as a separate purchase, set apart from everything else.

    These five factors in the industry pose significant challenges to sales organizations that want to see real returns on their training investment. They simply can’t afford to buy training like they used to.

    To address sales training challenges, organizations have to start taking a holistic approach to sales enablement.

    Start with strategy and process—aligned with the buyers that you can best serve—and make it actionable with simple, flexible technology built specifically to support sales enablement. Partner with sales consultants and trainers who are skilled and willing to collaborate with your team and others to create a holistic solution in which all the elements of your sales organization work together for constant improvement.

    We designed our partner program and the Membrain Editions, like the Value Selling System from Inflexion Point, to provide exactly that. Membrain selectively partners with high-quality trainers and consultants to provide a total sales effectiveness package. Our editions allow our partners to build their client processes and methodologies directly into the tool, which becomes the daily workflow and the CRM for their clients. It includes reinforcement and analytics to make training stick and respond to changing customer behavior.

    This program allows organizations to choose the flexibility and tailored approach of a small or medium-sized training firm, while still having access to a complete, 360-degree solution. And, better than the offering of a giant conglomerate, you don’t have to buy more than you need in order to get what you want.

    You can choose an approach from our menu of editions, or you can choose your trainer or consultant and let them drive the process. If you already have a trainer you love, but they don’t have a technology partner like Membrain that makes it easy to execute and reinforce training, you can introduce them to Membrain and we’ll show them how a partnership benefits them and you at the same time, and help you all get set up.

    What do you think? Is embedding process, methodology, and technology the way to make strategy and training to stick, and to make your way of selling become your competitive advantage? We think so.

    George Brontén
    Published March 11, 2020
    By George Brontén

    George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills, and processes. George is also the author of the book Stop Killing Deals and the host of the Stop Killing Deals webinar and podcast series.

    Find out more about George Brontén on LinkedIn