For small and medium business owners, we often hear sales consultants prescribe sales training as the remedy for fixing an underperforming sales team. This leads to the obvious question: “is sales training enough?” But the real question is: “is training the sales team sufficient to increase revenue production and turn around a sales team that is not attaining its numbers?
Putting your sales team through a sales training program means significant expense and time away from calling on prospects. Training might contribute to some gains, but this article will illustrate that sales training is not enough.
At Sales Xceleration, we have helped hundreds of small and medium business owners start up or turn around their sales teams. From our collective experience of over 1,000+ years, we have developed a systematic approach that addresses what is required to jump-start a sales team and increase revenue for the small and medium business owner:
- The Right Salespeople – You must get the right salespeople on your team and motivate them with a leveraged compensation plan. This type of plan pays significant commissions if salespeople exceed their stated quotas . . . sometimes even more than the salary of the business owner.
- Sales Infrastructure – Building a solid sales infrastructure to support the sales team and sales management is of the utmost importance for increased and sustainable revenue growth, specifically:
- Developing a customized, written sales business plan and revenue plan by salesperson, by product, and by month;
- Implementing a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM);
- Developing a custom sales process for each product line and programming it into the CRM. This enables the business owners and sales management to tell at a glance which stage in the sales process each opportunity is in and what needs to be accomplished in order to move each opportunity to the next stage;
- Developing key performance indicators (KPIs), forecasting models to track how the sales team is doing; and
- Defining the structure and content for productive weekly sales meetings.
- Sales Management – When the right salespeople are aboard and the sales infrastructure is in place, how does a small and medium business owner motivate and manage the new sales team? Questions the business owner must honestly answer are: (1) Do I have the skills, desire and time to perform sales management? (2) Can the business afford a full-time sales manager? Professional salespeople who can drive revenue increases are a unique breed indeed, and many business owners don’t have the interest or background to relate to and motivate them.
So, the most important part to creating a strong sales team is not sales training, but for the busy business owner to implement the necessary changes to get the right salespeople on board and implement a solid sales infrastructure (Steps 1 and 2 above). After accomplishing these first two steps, the business owner must then sort out how to provide sales management for the business – either by him/herself, a dedicated sales manager or a Fractional VP of Sales such as us from Sales Xceleration. The challenge, however, is for the business owner is to accomplish all three of these steps while simultaneously running the other functions of the business.
Based upon the experiences from 50+ Sales Xceleration Advisors across the United States, we have found that . . . “No, sales training is not enough.”