Sales training – in particular, sales leadership training – is rarely as effective as it should be. Worse yet is the reality that this type of training is desperately needed and coveted by Sales Managers and other sales leaders in small and medium-sized businesses. (In a recent Sales Xceleration survey, 96% of Sales Managers indicated they need and want sales leadership training.) Unfortunately for the roughly 20% of organizations that budget for such training, success is seldom guaranteed. So, why is sales training routinely ineffective? The answer begins and ends with the expertise and experience of the sales trainer. Here’s why:
What IS Effective Sales Leadership Training?
Before I can make the case for the quality of the sales trainer being the “secret sauce” for effective sales training, we should probably define optimum training course outcomes. Based on my decades of experience and study of sales, sales management and sales leadership, I firmly believe that effective sales leadership training must enable the following trainee outcomes and abilities:
- Creating an environment where sales success is not only possible but expected
- Understanding your client industries, markets and individual customer personas
- Defining effective sales strategies
- Coaching and mentoring Sales Reps, and improving individual sales performance
- Conducting sales meetings that are productive at the team and one-on-one levels
- Effectively hiring and onboarding sales team members
- Designing and managing sales compensation plans that are fair and motivating
- Conducting effective sales role playing
- Forecasting sales and using a CRM system effectively
There are other key sales and sales management skills, of course, but this is a good foundational list. Unfortunately, most sales training programs gloss over these essentials and more. Why? From the programs I’ve encountered – or had to endure – the answer is clear: the sales trainer can’t train what he or she does not know!
The Unmistakable Value of Experience
When I emphasize the value of real-world experience, it might seem as if I’m saying that no sales leadership training can truly be effective on its own. Indeed, there is no complete substitute for taking on actual sales leadership challenges, learning from your successes and failures, and applying what you’ve learned to ensure better future outcomes. If you are a deeply experience sales management professional, you know that to be true!
But for others who might be earlier in their careers, arming themselves with that kind of knowledge – without having to go through the ups and downs, the hits and misses, the successes and failures on their own – makes it possible to shorten the learning curve and minimize sales leadership missteps. Simply put, many organizations can’t afford these missteps.
Ultimately, experience fuels expertise, and expertise creates knowledge, and knowledge empowers success. That’s why the experience of the sales trainer is such a crucial gear in the learning machine. Sadly, most sales training is conducted by well-intentioned but inexperienced (and therefore, poorly equipped) facilitators.
Am I saying that sales leadership trainers must have had many years of success in sales? Yes. That they must have served as a Sales Manager, VP of Sales, or in another sales leadership role? Yes. That they must be able to teach and coach and mentor and advise? Yes, yes, yes, yes! It is experience and expertise and knowledge and past success – along with a well-designed sales leadership training program – that make training effective, and a worthwhile investment.
The Bottom Line:
Effective sales leadership training is rare but needed by Sales Managers and other sales leaders who desperately want to succeed. The stakes are high, for they know that without well-structured and competently led sales leadership training, they are likely to underperform and let down their teams, their companies, and even their families. What a waste of potential this would be!
But sales leadership professionals similar to you have the kind of experience, expertise, and coaching capabilities to fill this critical need. In fact, our licensed Advisors – sales management consultants and outsourced VPs of Sales very much like you – now have a new tool in their client service arsenal: Sales Xceleration’s Certified Sales Leader (CSL) training.
CSL training is designed to help small and medium-sized businesses benefit from superior sales leadership to optimize revenue performance and business growth. The training is led by our Advisors, is conducted in-person and focuses on specific company needs while also providing a comprehensive sales leadership curriculum. If you are unsure if you have gaps in your sales management skills, take our free Sales Leadership Assessment now. To learn more about CSL training, click here.