Why Traditional Sales Training Doesn’t Work

It’s estimated that corporations globally spend between $4-7b a year on training sales professionals and yet research* suggests that 90% of sales training programs result in a 90-120 day increase in sales productivity but shockingly, fewer than 20% of companies show a productivity increase that lasts over a year. Why is this?

In this 24/7 world in which we live companies are tasked with delivering improved results continually. This requirement for improved results often leads businesses to conclude one area key area to look at is in how the organisation sells to and manages its customers; after all, all revenue comes from someone buying our goods and services. This clearly accounts for the focus and investment in sales training.

The problem comes when organizations and sales leaders are driven by short term mindsets which mean they want to achieve that improvement by a quick and easy fix, usually one that doesn’t actually involve them, because they feel they are already maxed out. Consequently much sales training that is put in place is beset by lack of time and quality of thought and ends up putting in place tactical, quick fixes that do not actually address the key issues but appear to “tick a box”. The harsh reality is;

  1. Training does lead to improved performance and better results BUT
  2. Improvement requires change
  3. Change requires focus, effort and resources

Inertia is an incredibly powerful force. If a sales development initiative fails to create changes, fails to get people actually doing things  differently, what happens? “If you do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always got”. That illusive improvement that’s needed will never happen. The time and money that has been spent on training will have been squandered.

* Source: ES Research Group, Inc.

Originally published by Patricia Seabright, Archimedes Consulting Ltd.

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SalesForce Training & Consulting is a professional services firm and based in Toronto, with offices in Boston and Chicago, that does NOT provide traditional sales training.