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 truly persuasive? 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 20 wants to look bad or make someone else look bad? 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. SELF-GRADE INFLATION 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 environments: 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
What's Online
Company News

Training Industry Magazine - Sales 2016