How Does Your Firm’s Sales Training Measure Up?

The Aberdeen Group’s Sales Training 2011 makes a compelling case for building a sales training process that trains everyone in a selling role. Based on a recent survey of 970 companies they measured the impact of training on sales effectiveness and the results speak for themselves!  Companies that trained their teams in training processes had more reps make quota, larger year over year increases in deal size, and better lead conversion rates.

Aberdeen suggests that there are 3 key areas critical to training success.

  • Establish a sales process
  • Invest in knowledge management tool
  • Implement enabling tools/technologies.

Sales Process

Best in class companies have established sales methodologies that define who the sales rep calls and on how prospects are moved thought the selling funnel. These methodologies can be internally developed or adopted from one of the many external providers. Establishing sales benchmarks that can be used to assess sales competencies and competency gaps is also critical.  Lastly, consider investing in a formal “train the trainer” program to ensure that first line mangers have the skills needed to further develop their sales team.

Knowledge Management

Another attribute of high performing selling team is that they have invested in centralized knowledge management tools that allow for easier sharing of sales best practices.  Tools such as sales playbooks, phone scripts, and current product information are some examples. Knowledge centralization allows the sales team to access the latest information quickly as well as have the ability to share the sales wisdom of top producing reps.

Technology and Tools

Since selling is a process it makes sense to employ technology and tools to make the process faster while also increasing selling efficiency.  Best in Class and even Industry Average companies have made significant investments in the 5 key technology enablers that were cited in the study.

  • CRM/SFA integration of call planning and selling milestones
  • Customized sales playbooks
  • Virtual or on demand learning
  • Learning management systems
  • Internal social; collaboration tools

As our economy continues to sputter along, finding ways to keep and grow your top line is a key imperative.  If your firm has flat to declining revenues consider investing in sale training as one of the means of improving individual and team sales performance. In the long run it will be less expensive than the cost of continuously replacing sales people.