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Where to find sales trainers that can sell?

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We are a sales training company and normally have recruited on an ad hoc basis. However, as we now are growing to be sold off, we need to be proactive. We have tried job boards but tend to get bombarded with extremely ambitious new MBA graduates that do not fit the bill. Is there an on-line community where introductions can be made without running the gauntlet of mass junk responses? We are quite specific in that we need people with a track record of sales results and the (or potential to become) ability to train. It is tricky as associates like their independence but experienced sales director types want too much money!
Nigel Mackay

8 Responses

  1. Its hard
    Hi Nigel,

    Getting the right mix of sales and training can be hard. In my opinion the best sales people do not necessarily make the best sales trainers. Often they will only teach what works for them and not address the trainee’s needs, who may sell in a completely different way.
    From your previous experience I would advise signing up with a couple of agencies and having strict instructions on what you want from them. Maybe then hold an open evening including group work so you can see their potential and you can test their sales techniques and training abilities at the same time.
    One thing that comes to my mind is that taking the potential recruits through some learning and/or personalit questionaires may give you some direction.

  2. Good luck
    Nigel,

    Having worked in this field I think its a big ask, and quite frankly I dont think there is a middle ground. They dont really go together.

    Once one has had a taste of training one doesnt want to go back to selling. Its so much easier to train(and occassionally demo and sell something). Furthermore salespeople are ultimately driven by money, trainers are frequently not.

    Financially you have to look at the package you are offering them, is it weighted towards sales (commission) or training? There is a resentment that can be generated – why am I training these people when I could be earning more money phoning my own leads etc etc?

    Sales always generates lots of people who think they can sell.

    I’m not so sure you’ll find the rainbow you seek.

  3. Hopeful solution for Nigel
    Nigel – I believe there is a solution, and you don’t have to seek rainbows to find it!
    It involves sourcing CIPD qualified training professionals who have extensive field sales experience.
    I have both,so please contact me to see if I can be of service – cosby@gotadsl.co.uk
    07886 247046

  4. Drive not ability
    Nigel

    A tough quandry, the problem you face is often not one relating to skill, but to the drive, ambition and want of the individual. As a Sales Trainer, I’m confident in my ability to sell, but quite simply don’t want really a sales role, and as it has been pointed out already, many sales driven individuals don’t want to ‘waste time’ not selling

    The two options i’d suggest may or may not be possible. First option can be answered quite easily… Does it have to be a dual skilled role? Basically I’m wondering if you can have a sales team and a delivery team

    The second option, will be to analyse the role closer, is it a training role that requires some selling (and is that hunting or farming?) or is selling role that includes some delivery (and how complex that is to deliver, at what levels)

    Do you want a trainer that can sell or a seller that train?

    From then, you must look at how the role is paid, basic/bonus/commission, does this reflect the role you are recruiting for

    If this all matches, I would select a quality recruitment agency, who pre-interview all candidates properly and get specific matches (not just bombard you with a whole host of CV’s that happened to mention sales and training) – it will cost you more in fees but give the agency hell until the deliver some quality candidates

    All else, look for freelance trainers with suitable experience

    Probably very little help from what you are already aware of

    Good Luck, Rob

  5. It is easier to pick up the phone and pitch for your own busines
    I too am a sales trainer (and a sales person) who is seeking good quality sales trainers. The issue I believe, is if someone is a credible sales person and a credible sales trainer, it is easier to pick up the phone and pitch for your own business, than work for less for someone else. (Unless you don’t particularly like selling!!)

    I find it far easier to deliver a sales training course if I have had to pitch for the assignment myself (Certainly adds some credibility for your delegates)

    The other issue is that when you have spent your time developing someone into an effective sales trainer they are likely to leave you and set up on their own

    Sorry if this does not help, but if you do find somewhere please let me know or maybe we should start a community ourselves……..

  6. Are you allowing potential recruits to sell themselves?
    As a sales trainer with over twenty years’ sales experience (from encyclopeadias to pharmaceuticals), I can understand your frustrations. Good sales people often don’t make good sales trainers.

    Some people have commented on behaviours and the money issue and this plays into the typical stereotypes and prejudices of good sales people.

    Most training companies who offer sales training do not have anyone experienced in all aspects of the sales process. They will not have studied it, practiced it and used it regularly in their day to day work. How can someone with an HR background have all this experience?

    You may be looking in the wrong place and for the wrong qualifications. Why would a competent sales trainer have the CIPD qualification? With my track record I never needed to consider this before. It may be a useful addition to add to my qualifications but I don’t have the time, money or budget to get this piece of paper.

    Also, your recruitment process may not be helping. An open day with all those hoops to jump through is very offputting. It can feel like being processsed!! As a sales person I want the opportunity to sell myself and demonstrate my skills, abilities and capabilities. Interviews do not allow for this. Neither does the application of psychometrics. In my experience both do not allow for two way communication that leads to an effective sale!

  7. Why would a competent trainer have a CIPD Qualification
    I find the previous comment “Why would a competent trainer have a CIPD Qualification” a little wide of the mark. There may be several reasons

    They may have worked in a sales training department that that may have paid for it!

    They may feel it helps to gain a qualification that could give them a broader perspective into HR, as there are a large amount of organisations who have a training department as part of HR!

    Whatever the reason, I certainly do not think it has decreased my competence and it has helped me to empathise with HR professionals who often have the budgets to pay for my services. If you do have some evidence that formal qualifications show a lack of competence and not the former I would be pleased to see it

    The big issue really is that anyone with a phone and a bank account can set themselves up as a trainer, consultant or coach. The end result is poorly defined needs resulting in poor training that may have no tangible business improvement but ticks the boxes that training has been carried out

    Regards

    Graham Pice
    http://www.salesacceleration.co.uk

  8. Arian Associates Ltd
    I agree with Graham below. Especially his last paragraph.

    In my experience it is usually the people without qualifications that put them down and it is usually those very people who should pursue them.
    Look out for the Institute for Learning – No Teaching qualifications no membership – no membership no FE or LSC funded project work. All memberships to be in place by end March 2008.
    Could this weed out the ‘men from the boys’ at last ? I certainly hope so, because it’s about time !

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