Training Industry Magazine - Sales 2016 - (Page 20)
BIG DATA-DRIVEN SALES TRAINING
BY DUANE SPARKS
Every company wants to grow sales, and using sales training to achieve that goal is certainly
plausible. Unfortunately, whether the programs are developed internally or purchased from a
supplier, most sales training initiatives fail to produce truly worthwhile results, such as increased
revenue, higher margins or expanded market share.
Thought leaders in the sales training industry
cite a thousand reasons why the dogs don't
eat the chow. Frequently blamed culprits
include the program's content (it's poor or
wrong), inadequate reinforcement, lack of
buy-in from learners, lack of accountability
for learning - and the list goes on.
After decades of arguing about what
causes sales training to flop, it's about time
for those of us in the training business
to gather factual data on what does and
doesn't work and to chart a course that
ensures success. But what kinds of data are
THE LOWDOWN ON RESEARCH
Typical research, even by folks in the
research business, is based on surveys. We've
all participated in these SurveyMonkey
questionnaires. And we've all probably
stretched the truth; at the very least, we've
made honest errors and omissions.
For example, a survey might ask individual
salespeople (or their managers) to rank
their effectiveness at planning sales calls. So
everyone provides an opinion. When enough
opinions are gathered, the survey somehow
translates those opinions into facts.
Is it possible that this type of data is biased
- or maybe downright useless? After all, who
wants to look bad or make someone else
HOW ABOUT SOME VALIDATED DATA?
In my opinion, survey data cannot be
regarded as validated data when it comes
to measuring mental capabilities and
processes. Therefore, survey data should
not form the basis for developing factbased, data-driven solutions.
Validated data come from validated
assessments. Validated assessments are
developed by credible professionals in the
business of psychometrics (the science of
design, administration and interpretation
of quantitative tests for the measurement
of mental capabilities and processes).
Validation further requires that these
psychometry tools are administered to a
statistically significant number of people: a
whole lot of people.
When salespeople are asked to rank
themselves in certain critical selling skills,
and these rankings are then compared to
hard data from validated assessments, the
data show only 60 percent congruence.
What does that mean? It means that for skills
such as sales call planning, questioning and
closing, salespeople perceive themselves to
be far more skillful than they actually are. If
you use surveys as the basis for sales training
decisions, you are 40 percent wrong coming
out of the starting block.
WHICH SALES SKILLS
WILL YOU MEASURE?
You can't teach salespeople a hundred
different skills and expect their performance
to improve in a significant or consistent way.
When designing sales training, it makes
sense to start by identifying a handful of
measurable and trainable skills to teach. But
who cares whether you can measure sales
skills in a validated way unless the skills
you're measuring are, in fact, the ones most
critical to real-world sales success?
Based on our research, here are the five
selling skills that offer the greatest leverage
for performance improvement in real sales
Buyer/Seller Relationship: When sellers
understand the incremental buying decisions
that every customer makes, they can improve
their use of an effective sales process to
succeed at each incremental decision.
Sales Call Planning: Data show that 99
percent of salespeople fail to consistently
establish the right type of objective for
every sales call. This error is the most
common mistake in selling.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - Sales 2016
Training Industry Magazine - Sales 2016
Perspectives on Sales Training
Table of Contents
Four Ways to Increase the Impact of Sales Coaching
Sales Training: Is It Worth It?
Trust Is Dead. Long Live Trust!
The Salesperson's Most Valuable Portfolio: Aligning with What Matters Most to Your Customer
Great Selling Today: Navigating Change
Big Data-Driven Sales Training
Designing an Effective Sales Training Program
Putting the Cart Before the Horse?
Helping Sales and Marketing March Together
Modern Sales Management
What Sets High-Performing Teams Apart
Four Keys to Rapid Behavior Change
Do Your Salespeople Know Where They're Struggling
Banish the Other Four Lettered F-Word
The Secret of Sales Enablement
Training Industry Magazine - Sales 2016