How Top Sales Reps Prevent Worthless Training Efforts

How Top Sales Reps Prevent Worthless Training Efforts:

from Sales Force Effectiveness Blog 
Every year, Sales Reps are forced into mandatory training.  Their company wants them to learn a new process or skill. As expected, the Sales Reps complain and resist. The question Reps want answered: how does this training help me make more money?
My advice to Sales Reps: stop complaining and do something about it.  Assess the value of your training and do one of these three things:

  • If the training is bad, then tell your manager exactly why.
  • If the training is bad, suggest a better alternative worth your time.
  • If you’ve determined the training is good, then embrace it.

Stay Relevant

Clayton Christensen said that disk drives are “the fruit flies of the business world.” (Read “The Innovator’s Dilemma”). Fruit flies are born and die on the same day. Christensen made this parallel during the high growth years of computer processing. The lifespan of innovation was counted in months, not years. Market share was rapidly sliced by a growing list of alternatives. Industry titans such as Intel were falling behind the agile start-ups.
If you think your industry is immune, then reconsider.  Sales Reps at Bethlehem Steel, Blockbuster, and Kodak probably felt immune.  Their Buyer’s evolved.  They did not evolve with them.
This disruption of the status quo is happening right now in the Buyer-Seller relationship. Your Buyer is evolving.  They are consuming and sharing information in real-time thanks to the web. You must evolve with your Buyer. If not, you will quickly be replaced by someone smarter.

Upgrade Your Brain

In many ways, our brains are like mobile phone applications. Excellent apps are continuously refined to keep pace with the needs of its users. Likewise, we must change with our Buyers.  We must upgrade our brains with worthwhile training and self-study.
Training Upgrade Your Brain

4 Attributes of a Quality Training Program

You need to identify the quality of information to be learned.  Talk to your training group and ask for an outline of the program.  Then make sure the training program is centered on these four attributes.  If so, it is good for your wallet.

1. Buyer-Centered

Outward-in focused.  If a new sales process is introduced, it should’ve been influenced by your Buyers.  Whatever the topic, ask for the Buyer research that supports the change.
Buyer Persona driven. Buyer Personas are documented descriptions of the Buyers of your product. They are profiles of the influencers and decision makers needed to close the sale. Personas outline the objectives, obstacles, and success measures of your target market. To serve the needs of your Buyer, your training should be influenced by Personas.

2. Personal Brand Building

Makes you more effective. Often, new ways of doing things are uncomfortable.  They should disrupt our routine with something better.  But if the promised outcome is greater effectiveness, then it is worth your time.
Teaches or reinforces a new skill. Good things take time. Most changes do not happen overnight.  It can take months to adopt innovation.  Training should reinforce better habits and ways of doing business.

3. Integrated

Sales experts are constantly publishing new theories.  It is critical that these theories can be translated into results.  You need to make your number this year. Ask your training team how they plan to convert a presentation into real value.
You don’t have time for additional paperwork. Training needs to integrate any new skills into your daily routine.  Systems such as Salesforce.com are built to support this. But if it is built into your current sales tools, then it is more likely to succeed for you.

4. Agile

Innovation is the “introduction of new things or methods.” This implies that what you have learned today will one day be old. Your training organization should share their understanding of the natural lifecycle of innovate thought. 
Miller Heimen’s strategic selling techniques, for instance, is no longer cutting edge.  The Buyer has completely changed since it was introduced in 1989. If your training team is stuck on old methods, you are wasting your time.

Evolve Beyond the Classroom

Brain upgrades are a daily effort. Learning outside a formal training room is critical to your success. I recommend these two Social Selling methods.
Social Listening.  Follow and read what the market is saying.  LinkedIn and Twitter are critical to this effort.
Borrow brilliance from your peers. Utilize products such as Salesforce.com Chatter or Microsoft Yammer.  Facilitate the rapid exchange of information within your company.  Discover or share information in real-time with your peers.

Assess the Value of your Training

This is your chance to influence the decision makers.  Use this tool to determine if your training is worth your time.  Finally answer the question: how will this training help me make more money? Click Here to Download the Training Evaluator

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