Sales training as a cure-all? It’s a natural go-to option when sales are in the tank, revenue is down, and your once healthy pipeline has dried up or slowed to a trickle. But any good professional sales consultant – like the Outsourced VPs of Sales here at Sales Xceleration – know that sales training is doomed to fail if your organization’s sales foundation isn’t solid as a rock. Here’s how you can make that happen:
Sales Training Solutions Options that Might Work (But Probably Not)
Perhaps one reason owners of small and medium-sized businesses are inclined to turn first to sales training is the availability of many high-profile sales training programs. There are plenty of choices, including reputable ones like Strategic Selling, SPIN Selling, Dale Carnegie, Sandler, Gitomer, Carew and more. And when the dizzying choices only add to your confusion, perhaps you turn to local players recommended by a friend of a friend whose brother-in-law knows someone who does sales training on the side. More confusion! Finally, you drop all this collected information into a spreadsheet, pick a winner, and pony up the required investment.
Result? Not much changes. Beyond the initial short-term excitement, you see little improvement in sales, revenue, or even in the pipeline. Why? Because your fundamental sales infrastructure is weak, particularly in four areas: people, processes, motivation and metrics.
In sales organizations, everything starts with hiring, developing, managing and motivating the right salespeople. How does your sales team stack up? Look back over the past two years of metrics showcasing quotas, conversions, and overall goal attainment for each team member. Are your sales team members delivering as promised, or are you carrying one or more salespeople who can’t produce? And when it comes to your Sales Manager, is this individual competently and consistently providing the leadership your sales team needs? Simply put, if you don’t have the right people in place to drive success for your sales organization, it’s time to make necessary changes.
Across the spectrum of the products or services you offer and the markets you serve, are your sales cycles efficient and well defined? Can each sales team member and key stakeholder articulate these sales cycles? And most importantly – do they match your customers’ buying cycles? Smart, proactive business owners monitor customer buying cycles and adjust sales cycles for optimum efficiency.
Your Team’s Motivation
Motivating sales teams to achieve the results you want is key to the success of any sales organization. Motivation stems from many factors, with sales compensation being the most obvious. Make sure your sales compensation program rewards desired results and your team knows how to maximize performance to earn those rewards. Ultimately, sales compensation should be a win-win for the company and the team. Ensure that open and honest communication flows back and forth between your sales team and company leaderships so everyone knows what’s at stake and how to achieve desired sales performance results.
The Sales Metrics You Use
Finally, pay attention to your sales metrics. Why? Because what you measure is where your sales team spends their time. A good plan includes metrics to measure and track activity that delivers desired results without being overbearing. Identify best practices and encourage your sales team to use them to maximize outcomes. And if your CRM doesn’t give you the reports necessary to determine key performance indicators in necessary detail, take a deeper dive into your system to make sure you can track, measure, and adjust as appropriate.
The Bottom Line:
It’s entirely possible your sales training needs improvement. But first things first: If your sales infrastructure – the very foundation of your sales organization and sales efforts – is weak, sales training will fail. The good news is that our team of licensed Advisors are highly skilled and deeply experienced sales consultants adept at shoring up your sales organization’s infrastructure and providing superior sales training for optimum salesperson performance. To learn more, click here to find your nearest Sales Xceleration Advisor, or contact us at 844.874.7253.