Featured article published by MultiLingual Computing in the December 2013 issue.
Your sales team is on the front line of your business, and in theory, companies could even sell more by adding more members to their sales teams. However, it is significantly more profitable and efficient to have a solid group of highly skilled, high-performance sales professionals. This is where sales training and coaching comes in. And this is why companies are investing heavily in training their sales teams.
However, the training is not always effective. The American Society for Training and Development notes that one week after sales training, the average salesperson will lose up to 70% of the new skills that he or she learned but did not use. In a separate but non-public study, a global US-based language service provider found that after a month, 87% of the new skills learned during sales training, whether or not they were used in practice, were lost. So why are companies spending so much money if the return on investment is so low? And why isn’t it working?
The answer is that it’s hard to make a significant impact in a few hours. Even three days of intense training won’t do much to change a sales team in the long run. People tend to revert back to their old ways. Even if the training is highly specific, with clearly defined goals, methods and expectations, oftentimes there still won’t be a significant change in a sales team.
The problem isn’t that the training content is wrong or that your sales team is unmotivated. Most sales methodologies provide sound fundamentals in selling, and most people really want to succeed. Many sales executives are highly motivated and excited to implement new sales knowledge into their practice. During sales training, many people feel “pumped up” with excitement and imagine their future sales increasing with the help of their new skills. Unfortunately, too often, this excitement is short-lived, as reality sets in and they revert back to old ways.
This is all pretty normal. Have you ever been deeply moved by a sad movie or an inspirational story — so much so that you vowed, at that moment, to change your behavior in some way, only to find yourself forgetting about it days and sometimes even moments later? Look at traditional sales training the same way, as a variation of an inspirational story…
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