Should You Postpone Sales Training?
There are many valid reasons to delay or postpone sales training. The value and timing of business sales training, like every other sales investment, must be compared to and aligned with shifting business priorities and initiatives. Given the speed of change today and the constant pressure of competition, what timing makes the most sense in terms of the value and business impact of the training?
The Impetus to Improve Sales Performance
The majority of our clients are being pressed by investors to deliver higher growth at the same time as their clients are demanding more value at better price points. To make matters more challenging, there are fewer barriers to entry causing competition to increase. This perfect storm means many companies are:
The Top Priority – Profitable Revenue Growth
When we talk to sales leaders, there is one priority that never seems to change – profitable revenue growth. If this is true, then the question becomes, is sales training important to ensuring profitable revenue growth? Because sales training develops new sales skills and techniques gradually over time, the impact of training can be difficult for some companies to quantify.
The Impact of Sales Training
The good news is that we have measured over 800 sales training projects and know that profitable revenue growth is possible. Sales teams that do training right, grow revenue 58% faster and are 72% more profitable than their peers. To ensure your sales training hits the mark, follow these three research-backed best practices:
The Top Five Reasons to Postpone Sales Training
Because sales training is just one avenue to improve profitable revenue growth, there are certainly situations where it makes sense to postpone sales training. Here are the top five reasons from our clients:
Before you embark on sales training, make sure that your sales team is healthy and engaged enough to want to take their performance to the next level. Then make sure that the way your sales team treats customers, makes decisions, views risk, creates loyalty, goes to market, shares information, is measured, and gets results matches your growth strategy.
Do not let culture gaps provide excuses for missed sales targets.
Solution sales is about how your organization’s capabilities solve a pressing customer problem or achieve an important customer strategic objective. You should postpone sales training, at least the solution selling approach, if you are only selling features and benefits, regardless of how complex the product may appear.
Make sure you provide and align sales success metrics, incentives, consequences and recognition with the newly desired sales skills and behaviors.
Our research shows that sales reps who receive frequent sales coaching outperform their peers 4-to-1. Invest in sales coaching if you do not want your sales training investment to waste away.
You should postpone sales training if you are not willing to hold people accountable to the new way of doing things while providing the consistent and frequent sales coaching and support required to succeed.
Can You Afford to Postpone Your Sales Training?
While the five reasons above should be addressed before moving forward, do not postpone sales training until everything is perfectly aligned. Otherwise you will never provide your sales team with the sales skills they need to be successful in today’s marketplace. There will always be change and uncertainty.
Remember the fundamental solution sales skills required to be successful do not change much and take time to develop. You can always take the skills to the next level as things progress.
The Bottom Line
To get the most from your sales training investment, make sure that your sales strategy is clear enough, your sales culture is aligned enough, your sales team has enough of the right people and that you are willing to reinforce the new skills and behaviors. And remember, the longer you wait, the longer it will take for your reps to execute your new sales strategy.
Is your value proposition clear enough? Your Unique Value Proposition and Differentiation – What Sets You Apart?
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