According to the American Society for Training and Development, firms that invest $1,500 per sales person in training, compared with those that spend $125 experience an average of 24 percent higher gross profit margins and 218 percent higher revenue.
Activities Mistaken For Sales Training
Most of the time spent in a sales meeting is taking care of business. Buyers talk about products that are not moving, data processing tells everyone they are not getting their orders in on time, credit talks about too many days out, marketing talks about the food show and finally a broker has 10 minutes to talk about 20 line items. The sales manager gives out a few spiff checks and sends everybody home.
In addition to the initial cost, the time spent in training is extremely expensive when you consider all of the training does not improve one single selling skill. The only thing that increases sales is improving the professional selling skills of your team. Computer training is necessary but it should not be confused with sales training.
Let suppliers do the training
A few years ago the big word everyone was throwing around was “synergy”. Buy 4 or 5 company's, put everything together and new opportunities would appear. When the dust settled, what really happened was 4 of the 5 sales people were let go (downsizing) and one person was left to do the work of five. They are spread very thin with more and more responsibility. To think that they have the time or the talent to do actual sales training that would improve the skills of your team in not possible.
A broker, representing about 20 to 40 lines, has the same problem. Too much to do and not enough time to do it in. A broker ride-with will soon become a thing of the past. Two hundred cases of product have to be sold to pay for one end user call. Most brokers do not have any type of formal sales training, only product training.
Leave it to the sales manager
Today’s sales manager is one of the most overworked and under rated jobs in the industry. The best way to describe the position: they are expected to get blood out of a rock and increase the blood extraction by 10% next year. A sales manager has to hire, fire, fill in, handle problems, motivate, evaluate, sit in on committees and keep the sales people, credit people, order entry people, warehouse people and management happy. It takes a lot of work to develop and teach an effective sales training program. Sales managers simply do not have the time.
Every year the professional athletes have spring training camp. It is attended by rookies as well as the veterans who have been around for years. A “sales training camp” should be considered just as important and should be held at least once or twice each year. Changing habits and acquiring new skills takes repetition and practice.