Many companies balk at the idea of spending money on training, especially when it applies to their sales team. Employed to bring in revenue rather than cause it to flow out, sales people are often expected to be ready-made to deliver new business without making any investment in them at all. The Association for Talent Development (ATD) recently delivered its 2019 research report on the State of Sales Training, which shows that training is a vital part of any organization’s success.
The Impact of Sales Training
When Companies Skip Sales Training
Poorly trained sales people can cost a company far more than they bring in, mainly as a result of lost opportunities.
Then there’s the cost of frequent staff turnover and replacement (both sales and operational, caused by unproductive deals), the loss of customers, competitive advantage, and overall market share.
Choosing the Best Option
Put simply, companies can’t afford to have sales staff who don’t achieve their targets, so they either have to train and upskill them to do so, or they have to pay premium rates to attract top sales talent. The challenge of doing the latter is that top talent rarely remains loyal and stays in one place for very long, so within a couple of (admittedly good) years, the company could be back to square one.
Doesn’t it make sense to develop a qualified, highly-skilled sales team that will deliver a return on investment for years to come?
Sales Training Methods
Sales training is delivered in multiple styles and techniques. According to the report, the method used most frequently is instructor-led, live-classroom training. This appears to work the best across all sales models, although organizations that mostly have inside sales teams use a blended learning approach effectively.
Other methods included shadowing and observing peers (41 percent) and formal mentoring or coaching by experts (37 percent).
It’s worth mentioning that sales management training was considered to be equally important. This is due to companies frequently moving successful salespeople into senior positions, only to find that they aren’t great managers.
Remote, channel, and partner-sales organizations in the study mostly chose self-paced online learning tools over live classroom training; this is driven partly by logistical and location constraints. Some companies use social situations for training where new team members interview experienced salespeople.
Cost of Sales Training
So, what does sales training cost?
Several factors affect the cost of sales training, including whether they are public or private programs. Publicly available programs often range from one to three days and cost between $1,000 and $5,000 per participant.
Lower cost programs are designed to draw large audiences that can be upsold on other offerings. For very small businesses, these are often the cheapest methods of obtaining some training for your team, but they are best used for basic training.
Private sales coaching programs cost more, coming in at between $5,000 and $25,000 a day, ranging from around $1,500 to $2,500 per sales person depending on the program. Their focus on working with a smaller group maximizes training impact and you get the benefit of a program customized for your particular industry-specific challenges.
Barriers to Sales Training
In spite of all the evidence in favor, company HR and sales training proponents face a number of barriers to making it happen. One is resistance from management, which is usually the result of a disconnect between the person arranging the training and the person paying for it.
Sales training is usually arranged by HR and paid for by senior management. The research shows the main reasons for resisting training are:
- Salespeople not held accountable to apply the skills learned during training – 59 percent
- An inability to connect the training to future sales performance – 36 percent
- Scheduling conflicts and time restraints – 31 percent
- Not viewed as important by sales people – 27 percent
- Not viewed as important by business leaders – 22 percent
To overcome these barriers, it’s important that the parties paying for the sales training see the value in it. Usually,
The Secret to Getting it Right
For sales training to pay off, it needs to change the sales team’s behavior enough to impact company results over the long term – not just for a few weeks after the training occurs.
Perhaps the secret to getting it right is to monitor sales metrics and key performance indicators using tools like dashboards, so you can identify slipping performance while there’s still time for intervention.
Providing sales training is not a luxury, but a necessity for companies that want to generate new business. In fact, it’s an investment a business can’t really afford not to make, as long as you choose effective training methods that have the best chance of success.
Sound familiar? Want to explore further? Questions? – Get in touch and let's set up a time to talk. Brian Tracy USA: 877.433.6225 Email Me