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Marijn De Geus


Founder & CEO

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6 signs telling you it’s time to innovate your sales training


The importance of a sales training programme can hardly be overestimated. Subsequently, a lot is spent on it: more than a billion dollars each year worldwide. Most training programmes are, however, still exactly the same as ten years ago, with the same worthless results. Is your sales training up to date? If you recognise any of the following 6 signs, it’s probably time to consider another approach.

1. The sales figures of your new product are disappointing

An excellent new product, a serious training programme, and yet the sales figures are disappointing? Then it’s likely that the programme was mostly focused on the product, not on the conversation with the customer. A new product or service requires a new sales method. The Association for Talent Development (ASTD) has concluded that only 38% of sales persons is offered formal training for launches of new products.  Moreover, these programmes mostly consist of knowledge transfer. Only 3% of these training programmes consist of role plays to practise how to apply this new information in a conversation. Using modern video role plays, you will make sure that the employees get enough practice before and in between sales talks.

2. The training effect has disappeared

Consider critically what’s left of that one classroom training programme that cost your team an entire day last year? It’s likely that the initial success has completely disappeared by now. The fact that sales training programmes are not always innovated is also caused by the fact that it does often have a positive effect at first. According to the ES Research Group, most training programmes realise a higher productivity, which disappears completely after 90 to 120 days. After that, you could organise a new training, but there is a more effective solution: continuous training improves sales by 50% for each employee, according to ASTD. A sales person has a certain repertoire of conversational patterns (for example, conversation openings, pitching and negotiating). Through training, they will learn a new repertoire, but after a few months, there’s a high risk of relapsing into old patterns. This is why a training programme, with intervals, needs to be continuous.

3. Sales people do not understand the (potential) customer

You will notice this sign in your sales results directly. It’s not easy to measure however, because your sales staff may think they understand the needs of their prospect completely, while this is not the case at all. More than 70% of buyers think the understanding of their business is the most important quality of a sales person, while just 27% really experiences this understanding (Forrester). Sales strategist Josiane Feigon even concludes that it’s only half of this percentage. A sales person who doesn’t ask the right questions or applies the right techniques to really understand the position the other party is in and what they need, has not been offered the right training programme.

4. Managers do not coach the trained skill

Sales people are often offered behaviour and communication in a training which are unknown to the manager, or worse, which the manager does not support. In this case, applying it will be difficult. A sales training programme can be structured beautifully, but if managers do not coach their employees in the working environment, the effect will never be optimal. Such coaching can even quadruple the ROI of training expenses (Ventana research). If there’s a lack of guidance in your organisation, it’s important to find out why: do the managers deem it unimportant, does it not contribute to their KPIs, or are they simply unaware?

5. Sales people quit training too soon

The sales people’s motivation is also a good yardstick for the quality of the training. We know how difficult it is to make them complete an entire programme, but if they do not see the effect or connection to their work, it doesn’t get any easier. Online video role plays offer a controlled flow of applicable exercises that the sales person receives as a push notification. In addition, they can do these exercises whenever it is necessary, for example, just before a presentation or an important conversation.

6. Training costs more than it generates

If your sales training programme costs more than it generates, why would you continue with it? Organisations like IBM and Microsoft realised huge savings by implementing videos in their training. Online video role play can make a large part of conventional sales training more efficient, while the costs decrease. Moreover, the effect on KPIs can be measured directly through objective measurement of different skills. Curious about how this works? See underneath!

Which signs do you recognize? Want to read more about video role play?

Author Profile Picture
Marijn De Geus

Founder & CEO

Read more from Marijn De Geus

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