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Why Sales Training Does Not Work to Grow Sales

When a business’ sales are not where the leadership team wants it to be, a business typically either invests in sales training or goes out and hire more sales people.  If this is where you find yourself, I would strongly urge you to think twice before embarking down either of those paths.

According to CSO Insights, in data compiled from 2009 to 2013, only 51.8% to 63% of sales reps are actually hitting their quota.  In addition, over the same period, companies, on average, were only able to achieve between 77% and 89.2% of their sales target.  The natural question to ask when seeing numbers like this is the following:  “why, with all of the resources and training available in the market to do, aren’t more companies achieving their sales goals?”

According to research conducted by the Harvard Business Review, the number one reason that companies do not achieve their sales goals is because the company does not have a sales process in place with the proper accountability.  In working with over 300 businesses in my career helping them achieve their sales goals, I can attest that the Harvard Business Review is correct in their assessment.

Prior to conducting sales training or hiring more sales people, the first place to start is to define and document the sales process that you want your sales team to execute.  We define a sales process as the method in which a company generates leads and turns them into sales.  Each sales process has seven components:  Prospecting, Relationship Building, Discovery, Presenting, Overcoming Objections, Closing, and Asking for Referrals and Repeat Orders.

The reason that most sales trainings do not work is because they are more focused on the selling tactics versus the selling process.  Once you have a selling process in place, then you can experience the benefits of sales training because you are simply using the sales training to refine the techniques to close a sale.  Therefore, establish your sales process first and then refine it using sales training.

The second reason most companies do not achieve their sales objective is because they do not have a consistent manner in which to keep the sales team accountable to their activity. We find that companies that have a sales process in place and keep their sales team accountable each week to that sales process typically achieve their sales objectives.

For example, we are working with a client that has been heavily impacted by oil prices in Houston, Texas.  He approached us to do sales training, but we then quickly found out that he did not have a sales process.  His biggest challenge was to use his sales team to penetrate other markets.  By the time he got to us, he tried just about everything but to no avail.  After we established his sales process, trained his sales team on the sales process, and then helped him keep his team accountable to that process, we saw that the productivity of the sales team improve dramatically and the company is well on their way to reaching their sales objectives.

If you would like to have a confidential conversation on how to meet your sales objectives, simply click here now to schedule a 30-minute telephone call with the CEO of Cornerstone Business Coaching and Consulting, Charles Alvarez.