Why Sales Transformation Achieves Better Results Than Sales Training Alone

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jan 21, 2021 @ 19:01 PM

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You finally have that big new 4K flat screen mounted on your wall but now the movie you are streaming isn't sharp because your inconsistent internet connection negatively affects the resolution and the big screen makes it even more obvious.

Bringing it closer to sales, you invested in the CRM application you needed but your salespeople aren't using it the way you had hoped. As a result, you don't have realtime data to populate your dashboard and still don't know what's really going on with your sales organization, their pipeline and the forecast.

You brought in sales training but it didn't achieve the expected change because the training didn't address the bigger problems that went beyond selling skills.  You may not have realized that companies really need sales transformation and while sales training can be part of that transformation, on its own, it usually underperforms.

Why?

Sales training can provide Kay with the skills she needs but if you lack a customized, optimized sales process that Kay is required to follow, those skills can't be applied at the right time, for the right reason and in the right context. Sales managers, who are especially challenged when coaching salespeople, have even more difficulty when the coaching takes place outside of the sales process. Kay needs to be part of a sales transformation effort.

If Lee still wants to do everything his way and his sales manager isn't strong enough to make him do things the company's way, Lee will continue to perform inconsistently. Lee needs to be part of a sales transformation effort.

Bill continues to make promises, exceptions and claims that are inconsistent with what your product or services really do.  This causes problems and creates a lack of credibility.  Bill needs to be part of a sales transformation effort.

You can give Don the skills he needs but you lack a proper sales culture and Don has been allowed to whine and complain and act entitled.  If Don continues to engage in backstabbing, blaming others and fails to take responsibility when there are customer issues, that affects the company's brand and reputation which indirectly affects everyone else on the sales team.  Don needs to be part of a sales transformation effort.

Greg has self-limiting beliefs about the kind of conversation he can have with his prospects and doesn't believe the strategies and tactics in the sales training will work with his customers. Helping him requires a combination of advanced sales management coaching, stronger accountability, and being replaced could be in his future.  Greg needs to be part of a sales transformation.

If the team is struggling to get meetings with new prospects, that requires training in how to schedule new meetings, but may also require new messaging for those calls.  The customized messaging that is used throughout a sales cycle is part of a sales transformation.

The team is participating in training but still resisting putting those skills and strategies into practice. If your sales managers are part of that resistance, and/or ineffective at overcoming the resistance, it calls for sales transformation.

On its own, sales training is nice to have but doesn't change much and wastes time and money.  As part of a sales transformation effort, targeted, customized, sales training provides salespeople with the tools they need to more effectively do their part.

The key to identifying the parts of a sales transformation that need to be addressed is the OMG sales force evaluation.

I've written about sales force evaluations before and always find it extremely interesting to learn about the various challenges holding companies back.  Here are two must-read examples:

Did you read them?

Both articles should help you recognize that while sales training needed to be part of the solutions at each company, sales training alone would not have addressed the serious issues we uncovered.  If you think in terms of sales transformation then your sales organization, people, systems, processes and results will be transformed.

Topics: sales culture, Dave Kurlan, sales process, sales training, sales evaluation, sales transformation

Are You Any Good at Evaluating Sales Talent?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Feb 11, 2014 @ 17:02 PM

MLB Hall of FameWell, are you?

I'll bet you are.  You can probably spot an energetic, motivated, likable, memorable, polished, polite and attractive salesperson from a handshake away.  Aren't those the ones you like best?  Aren't those, especially when they have industry background, the ones you hire?  And don't they all perform just swell?  

No?  Why not?  After all, they met all of your criteria, didn't they?

In baseball, they call it the 5-tool player.  This is the kid who can run, field, throw, hit for average and hit for power.  These kids are the can't miss prospects.  They get drafted in the first round and become perennial All-Stars and Hall-of-Famers.  What's that?  They don't?  Why not?  They have all of the tools...

In the NFL, only 13 players in the Hall of Fame were selected with the first draft pick.  13!

In the NBA, only 8 players, selected with the first pick since 1991, are in the Hall of Fame.

In the MLB, only 5 players, selected in the entire first round (28 picks in the round each year) between 1965 and 1982, are in the Hall of Fame.  That's 5 of 476 first round picks!

There's talent, and then there's the ability to utilize one's talent and most sports talent evaluators are no better at this than most sales managers.

In sports, coaches, GM's and player personnel directors can evaluate skills, but it's more difficult for them to evaluate a player's makeup and how that will translate to performance at the highest levels.

In sales, managers can evaluate soft skills, like the ones I listed in the first paragraph, but not strategic and tactical skills, and not sales DNA, their sales makeup, and how that will translate to performance at their company and in a specific role.

For sales, there are quality tools that can be utilized to help with sales selection.  One such tool is Objective Management Group's (OMG) Sales Candidate Assessment.  It's simply more predictive of sales success in any number of roles and environments than any other tool or assessment.

But the assessment is only as good as the pool of candidates, and that is influenced by the job posting and where that posting is placed.  Most postings are horrible and most are not placed using ideal strategies.

But even the posting is only as good as the role specification and I've never seen a sales manager or HR director get this correct on their own.

Getting selection right depends an awful lot on selection criteria and being able to identify it during a sales interview.  Interviewing salespeople is completely different from interviewing candidates for any other role in a company, so it's no wonder that so few HR professionals and sales managers excel at this.

So, you can evaluate talent.  You just can't predict whether that talent - their personality - will translate.  Use some world-class tools to help you get the job done effectively!

Do you need to transform your sales force?  My article on sales transformation appears on the Selling Power blog.  See it here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, sales recruiting, sales candidates, sales assessments, objective management group, sales transformation, selling power

Prediction for Your Company's Sales Force in 2011

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Dec 17, 2010 @ 06:12 AM

10 Sales Experts were inducted into the Top Sales Hall of Fame at yesterday's Top Sales Awards event.  They include legends, both living and deceased, like Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracey and Earl Nightingale.  Current legends like Gerhard Gschwandter and Jeffrey Gitomer were honored.  Others who were inducted include Keith Rosen, Bill Brooks, Linda Richardson, Neil Rackham and Dr. Tony Allasandra.

When asked for her prediction for 2011, Linda Richardson said, "Clients won't be looking for sales training.  They want sales force transformation.  They want to know whether they have the right people in the right roles..."

Thank you Linda!  A Hall of Fame sales training company leader saying what I've been saying for 20 years! 

Linda's comments were not really a prediction though.  Jim Collins wrote about how great companies focused on having the right people in the right seats in his 2001 book, "Good to Great". Objective Management Group, founded in 1989, has been helping its partners provide sales force transformations via the insights and findings from its Sales Force Evaluations and Sales Candidate Assessments for at least 10 years. Years ago I urged all of our partners to provide sales force development instead of sales training so that we could transform sales forces. Perhaps Linda was simply suggesting that she expects to model her business after ours.

This sounds very similar to when mainstream MD's write breakthrough articles and basically say what alternative MD's have been saying for decades.  Three examples are, "Supplement with Omega 3's", "Those prescrtiption drugs will actually kill you", and "Supplement with CoQ10".

Time to take the supplements - I'm against the clock.

Topics: sales training, Sales Force, Neil Rackham, Jeffrey Gitomer, Linda Richardson, Gerhard Gschwandtner, Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracey, sales transformation, sales development

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About Dave

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for nine consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave

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