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Stop Wasting Money on Sales Training!
by Peter Rathmann on June 1st, 2011

Ask any sales manager about the need for continuous sales training and you instantly get agreement that it is important. So why isn’t there more of it going on? The fact is, most money spent on sales training is wasted. Typically, it annoys the sales team, disrupts your sales opportunities, bores the talented team members, and is totally forgotten within 30 days.

This is true for three reasons:
1) Credibility – “Who is this sales seminar leader and why on earth should I follow his/her advice?”
2) Relevance – “Maybe this stuff works in the X industry, but I don’t see how it applies here.”
3) Reinforcement – “I’ll implement these new ideas just as soon as I have the time.”

You can get around these issues and realize a greater ROI from your training budget with an internal “Sales Excellence Committee”. Put the best of your best sales talent on it. (i.e., those who are most respected by the rest of the team) and that alone will take care of missing links one and two.

Next, provide proof that you’re serious about using the knowledge of these folks for the benefit of all your reps. In other words, provide funding for and relentlessly conduct monthly 1/2 day “SEC” meetings. Their objective is to identify, clarify and communicate sales best practices and integrate them into tactical actions that produce the fastest, most tangible results for your business.

At the risk of being repetitive …the mission of your Sales Excellence Committee is to:
1st - Identify the best sales practices of your best reps.
2nd - Clarify – write them down in specific detail.
3rd - Communicate – make sure ALL your reps know how to replicate the power of each best practice.

Many firms find it helpful to use an outside facilitator to start and keep the ball rolling. This person would need all the classic qualifications of a sales trainer PLUS expertise in knowledge management and process engineering. Your best reps will always be the best source of sales tactics and strategies that work. Don’t waste time and money on standardized sales training. Tap into the gold mine you already have on the payroll. Fund it. Plan it. Do it.

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