A major problem in Selling has been identified by the CSO 2011 Sales Training /Sales Effectiveness key trends Survey.
It is the following simple statistic:
65% of Sales Managers are actively involved in Sales Training delivery and development and 35% of the Sales Managers act as Sales Training Instructors!
Let me use a simple metaphor:
What would happen to the standard of driving if 65% of parents were actively involved in the development and 35% in the delivery of driving instruction?
Further if there was no driving test to measure Competence, Driving Skill, traffic awareness, decision making and attitudes to other road users.... then I guess we would never know the impact!
I carried out an Assessment of 350 Sales people at Big Telco, to measure their Product Knowledge and Selling Skills. We did this first by testing their product/market Knowledge, and then their Selling Skills in Sales Simulation. Before the assessment we asked their Sales Managers to “rate” their own sales people. Previously, the Sales Managers had actively taken part in the development and delivery of the Sales Training.
The Sales Mangers gave 90% of their Salespeople a pass mark. 315 passes, and 35 Fails.
After external assessment,
185 of the Salespeople FAILED to pass the Assessment (their “Driving” Test).
The Sales Managers had a 500% error in Assessment of their own people .
7 of the 35 “failures” rated by their sales managers passed the external assessment,
and 150+ who had been passed by their Sales Managers “failed” the test and/or the simulation.
30% of the Sales Managers themselves failed the Assessment first time and 10% STILL FAILED THE RE-SITS 6 WEEKS LATER. 125 ‘failed’ Salespeople passed their re-sits 6 weeks later after receiving external Sales Training (not mine!) and on-demand Product training.
They also received some coaching from some Sales Managers.
My conclusion is the skill set for a Sales Trainer is a lot more than PowerPoint Operator.
Sales Trainer skills include Validated Selling Skills and Adult Trainer Skills including training needs analysis, diagnostics, training delivery and training evaluation.
The truthful answer is very few.
The “Sales Skills” that Sales Managers do have are being used less and less, may be out of date and in many cases are dysfunctional (ABC, Objection Handling, Steps of the Sale etc.)
Adult Trainer Skills include, as well as subject matter knowledge, adult training techniques.
An understanding of Learner Motivation,
both how to generate it and how to maintain it.
This is the minimum for the Sales Trainer’s Tool kit
CEO’s, VP’s Sales and CMO’s have to ask themselves two hard question:
“Is it worth saving a little money to do a poor job of Sales Training ?”
and “Can just ‘anybody’ really do Sales Training?”