Much has been written in recent years about the shift in modern consumerism. This implies a need to evolve the way sellers engage with buyers. Today’s buyers use the internet and social media to research alternatives BEFORE engaging sellers. Sales professionals must shift from being a primary source of information to a trusted advisor. In this role, sellers help buyers analyze purchases more thoroughly. This helps consumers make informed buying decisions. This is where Salesforce comes in.
How will sales operations and development professionals affect this change? Unfortunately, methods have not kept pace with the changing sales environment. Despite technological advances, companies rely on traditional training events to improve selling behaviors. In this article, we examine the flaws of this approach. We then lay out an alternative course that radically improves salesforce development.
Traditional Sales Training Doesn’t Work
Google the phrase, “Sales training doesn’t work.” You will find several thousand articles written by training companies. These articles focus on why few sellers adopt new behaviors after training. From the forgetting curve to a lack of effective reinforcement, organizations are usually disappointed. In addition, only 20% to 30% of trainees adopt new skills. So why do companies continue to spend billions on sales training? There are two key reasons.
First, some impact is better than none at all. Second, leaders have applied the skills they learned in traditional training events. These old-school training programs lasted much longer than modern modalities. IBM and Xerox built word-class teams by enrolling new sellers in six to twelve-month training programs. However, most leaders fail to appreciate the reasons why most people don’t adapt after training. This is solved with a better understanding of the root cause. Leaders should encourage training providers to deliver more innovative solutions.
How Time and Budget Constraints Destroyed Training Effectiveness
Sales training should produce dramatically improved results. IBM, Xerox, and AT&T are excellent examples. They brought their sales effort in-house and invested in developing professional sales teams. This translated to training programs that lasted months. During training, participants acquired new skills and behaviors using the proven learning cycle of LPAE. LEARN – PRACTICE – APPLY – EVALUATE.
As each new behavior was introduced, sellers explored concepts intellectually. In addition, practice in a controlled environment applies solutions in real-world situations. Also, sellers worked with coaches skilled at evaluating performance and identifying gaps. They provided feedback and corrective action. Teachers shrank gaps and refined execution. Neuroscience explains the underlying reasons why this approach is so effective. This includes the critical role sleep cycles play in learning.
Past vs Present
However, businesses have been forced to cut costs to deliver the returns investors require. Sales training programs that typically last months are now relegated to days. Professionals are hamstrung by customers who demand training but only commit to a few days. Even exceptional instructors cannot optimally review LPAE cycles with students. No wonder training is less effective now than it was in the past!
Another example is manufacturing when budget constraints force companies to do more with less. Technology adoption bridges the gap. However, this hasn’t yet taken hold in the area of Salesforce development. Many new technologies increase SALES EFFICIENCY, from CRMs to CPQs to content delivery solutions. However, these platforms don’t actually improve the EFFECTIVENESS of sales professionals. Technology lacks the ability to help organizations embed the LPAE model into normal operations. This impedes sales teams from improving while they work. We rely on outdated methods and settle for marginal improvements. It’s time we demand more!
Bring In Salesforce – High-tech, High-Touch Solution
CRMs present tremendous opportunities. We can now leverage technology to embed increased learning and development. Salesforce’s investment in an outside development platform supports new solutions for this problem. Thanks to Salesforce, LPAE skill development models are a part of normal operations.
To do this, companies need an integrated solution.
- Companies need comprehensive methodologies for coaching/selling that are customized to their unique selling environment. Selling models help sellers become their best selves by building collaborative relationships with customers. Coaching models deliver value to sellers by helping them realize their full potential.
- Micro-learning content should be based on these models and built around a consumption paradigm. Modules are independent and deliver value in 20 minutes or less. The content supports both concept introduction and mental practice.
- Technology and applications for selling, coaching, and account management trigger the need for learning. It’s important to deliver learning to the point of need, tracking both learning and behavior.
- A partnering model is vital. Solution providers invest in helping sales teams drive change that gains momentum. Evaluate engagement teams based on the same objectives as the client sales team to ensure alignment.
This high-tech, high-touch model allows sales organizations to transition from training events to continuous learning. The rewards for making this shift can be significant. One global technology company improved revenue per rep by nearly 16% over a two-year period. Doing so reduced travel expenses and time spent onboarding new hires.
Let’s Wait Until Everyone is Using Salesforce
The most significant barrier to this new approach is the status quo. While the number of companies implementing Salesforce.com grows daily, many continue to struggle with CRM adoption. Contrary to common perception, integrating a continuous learning solution into Salesforce.com should not be sequenced AFTER adoption. This solution actually DRIVES adoption. By implementing this solution alongside Salesforce.com deployment implementation expenses are drastically reduced. This information is vital.
SalesForce is the top CRM on the market.
Sales operations and training professionals finally have an alternative to traditional training events. This radical new approach transforms sales organizations for the better. Additionally, this results in continuous learning improved selling behaviors, and greater CRM adoption. Want to learn more about the impact this solution can have on your organization? Contact us today. The time is now.