Catalytic Management Consulting
Accelerating Growth, Driving Performance

Choose Sales Training That Fits Your Needs

I’ve never been sure where the phrase “one size fits all” originated, but I am certain it was a marketing creation designed to convince the buyer that one standard, mass-produced item would meet their need and the needs of the rest of humanity. Great concept if you’re the seller, but destined to produce an unhappy, dissatisfied buyer.

Buying packaged, off the shelf sales training can be as disastrous as buying a “one size fits all” tuxedo for the boss’s Christmas party. It looks great at first glance, but on closer inspection the oversized sleeves ruin the look and make a bad impression—not the result you were hoping for.

Learn how to go beyond simple Discovery Questions. Ask the sales questions that get that “Ah Ha” from your clients!

Selecting the right sales training for your organization is the result of a careful examination of your goals and an honest appraisal of your staff’s current strengths and weaknesses. Sales training delivered in isolation of your company’s goals and strategies will fail to deliver the desired results: a skilled sales force armed with the tools and knowledge required to increase revenue and improve margins! And remember, training is only one building block in the design of a great sales culture that will produce and support highly effective sales professionals.

Selecting the Right Sales Training Requires Alignment

For any sales training program to be effective and deliver lasting results it must be aligned with your organization’s:

  • Financial Goals
  • Growth Strategy
  • Sales Strategy
  • Industry
  • Culture

Aligned with Financial Goals

This one is simple, you say: “We want our sales force to drive revenue and deliver yearly increases”. Driving revenue is just one financial goal and may not always be the appropriate goal. Too many companies go out of business while focusing on driving revenue at all costs. If increasing your market share is the primary goal, sales training that focuses on selling against the competition and closing any deal would meet your need. But delivering the “right” business drives higher margins and this goal requires a sales force with different skills and knowledge than just “closers”. Building the business around higher margins requires higher-level sales relationships and the ability to sell based on customer needs.

Aligned with Growth Strategy

Organizations that don’t grow will stagnate and eventually wither, which means that every organization desires growth. But how you choose to grow affects the content and focus of your sales training program. If your growth strategy is to focus on acquiring new accounts, your sales team must be expert at prospecting backed by a marketing strategy that produces leads and gives them a competitive advantage. If your growth strategy is to focus on an industry vertical, success will be determined by the industry knowledge and industry experience possessed by your sales team. When account penetration is your growth strategy, your sales professionals must be able to sell “value” through a consultative approach.

Aligned with Sales Strategy

Your growth strategy determines your sales strategy, which in turn impacts the type of sales training you select. A “product” focused sales strategy requires an in-depth knowledge of not only your products but those of your competitors. Product focused selling is often the preferred approach for companies with limited product lines or for industries where there are no opportunities to up-sell or to sell follow on services. This approach means sales reps must “close and close now”; service and long-term relationships are not important. Telephone sales require this aggressive, close at all costs culture. Training for this team would have a very different content and approach than for a team that must build relationships. Sales strategies designed to foster long-term relationships and account penetration can only be successful when training teaches how to become a “trusted advisor,” how to become the consultant customers trust to meet their needs and further their goals.

Aligned with Your Industry

Sales is sales is sales! True or False? The politically correct answer is true, sales skills can be applied across any industry. The real answer is that HOW you apply those skills is unique to each industry. How and why your customers “buy” your services establishes how you should sell to them. Buyers of life insurance and financial services buy to protect themselves and their families. When purchasing education, particularly advanced education, buyers do so to advance careers and perhaps egos. How you sell to your customers should be based on an understanding of buyer styles, buyer influences and buyer decision factors. Your sales training provider should know and understand your industry.

Aligned with Your Organizational Culture

How would you describe your culture to an outsider: fast paced, aggressive, driven, relaxed, methodical, risk taking, customer focused, change adverse? Sales training must factor in your organization’s unique culture. You have two choices when considering how your sales training should respond to your culture: tailor the sales style to your current culture or use sales training as a catalyst to change your existing culture. In either case, you should consciously evaluate this aspect. Your “cultural goal” for sales training is critical to success during and after the training.

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