Table of Contents
- Strategic Selling
- SPIN Selling
- SNAP Selling
- N.E.A.T. Selling™
- Solution Selling
- Inbound Selling
- Target Account Selling
- Consultative Selling
- Gap Selling
VI. Sales Training Companies
VIII. Discovery Framework
- Philosophy of Sales and Sales Professionals
- An Evolving Approach: the Best Sales Training in Today's World
- Measuring the Effectiveness of a Sales Training Course
Sales is the backbone of business. The people driving sales in any company are MVPs. This makes it mission critical to choose the right sales training program for your company.
From the team of experts at ASLAN® , here is a comprehensive guide to making this crucial decision, accounting for all factors, so you get results.
Market & Buyer Dynamics That Impact Sales
The market is always volatile. That’s a given.
But it is important for leaders across all industries to consider the shifting market and buyer dynamics that impact sales. This includes everything from business models and operations to consumer behavior and value drivers.
Leading researchers have interpreted the data around sales trends, globally and in the U.S.
B2B Sales Research and Trends
McKinsey and the Hybrid Future of B2B Sales
The team at McKinsey puts forth the idea that hybrid selling — accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic — will become the dominant sales strategy by 2024.
Hybrid sales may drive as much as 50% more revenue, enabling better customer engagement and building a broader salesforce based on unique, tech-first skills.
91% of business leaders feel that the current sales model (which features hybrid components) is more effective than the traditional, pre-pandemic model they had used.
Forrester & the Importance of Technology
Forrester’s annual Predictions guide highlighted these facts:
- Digital adoption is at an all-time high, which requires increased focus on a sustainably positive digital customer experience
- In the business to business (B2B) space, 17% of buyers cite tech competence (demonstrated during the buying process) as the MOST significant purchase choice driver, with sales rep relationships coming in at only 5%
Enhancing data and analysis will make a big difference in sales productivity.
McKinsey Sales: Growth Survey
What drives sales-growth outperformance? In April 2021, McKinsey performed a study of 2,500 B2B companies across multiple industries. They found that “those willing to shake up their sales models and embrace next-generation capabilities are growing revenue at twice the rate of GDP.”
Top performers quickly get and move past the basics, generating an outsized advantage through these means:
- A foundation of tech and data-driven processes
- Insights that enable rapid, proactive decisions at every step in the sales process
- Agility to tailor customer interactions based on the need
- Developing world class sales talent through behavioral science and analytics
Gartner B2B Sales Growth Tactics
Analysts at Gartner identified four strategies that will support sales growth in the B2B space:
- Creating a continuous, parallel, engaged go to market strategy that encourages alignment between sales, marketing, customer service, and customer success teams. More than ever, cooperation between these departments will be key.
- Catering to digital and human channels alike, creating a dynamic customer engagement experience for positive outcomes.
- B2B buyers want a low-effort buying experience. Reps need to have high levels of decision confidence, which will make them 3.6 times more likely to buy more.
- Centralizing technology, and learning from analytics.
They summarize: “By prioritizing these four growth areas, B2B sales leaders can better differentiate their organization from competitors by delivering a customer-centric experience that more closely aligns with buyers’ evolving preferences.”
B2C Sales Research and Trends
In the world of business to consumer (B2C) a focus is also on tech-forward selling and buying.
Forrester & the Importance of Technology
Forrester’s annual Predictions guide also commented on B2C dynamics, reporting this:
In the U.S., 57% of business to consumer sales are now e-commerce, a number which reaches 98% in China and is similarly high in other global areas — this has translated into higher sales volume and demands.
Analysts predict the following response:
“Brands will make direct relationships and better shopping experiences a priority to keep customers away from marketplaces and coming back for more. The mantra will become ‘commerce anywhere’ as first movers and fast followers alike pursue presence in every possible shopping moment, from an owned website to an influenced marketplace or social slot to a paid retail media placement.”
The imperative will on companies to advance a better digital solution/presence in addition to adequately equipping sales professionals.
PwC June 2022 Pulse Survey
Consumers have widely adapted to digitization, remote interactions, and a new pace of life. This adaptation has informed new business models for many companies.
A PwC survey confirmed that, more than anytime in the last decade, consumers of all types care about their experience.
PwC’s tip is that “Companies must transcend price, quality, and availability by prioritizing the intangibles that consumers care deeply about.”
Leading the customer through a relevant buyer journey, helping them discover unstated needs will be essential when selling B2C. Finding “what’s on their whiteboard” — i.e., what the customer cares most about — is essential to winning in a new sales environment.
It’s a tech world and we’re living in it.
But are your people getting the sales training they need to thrive?
A helpful starting point is how public opinion of salespeople has dramatically changed.
To learn about how to create receptivity by tuning into what customers care about, check out unReceptive by Tom Stanfill. This groundbreaking book leverages a lifetime of sales experiences, laying out clear, actionable guidance for winning business in this or any market.
How Do Customers Perceive Salespeople These Days?
There is an arbitrary conclusion out in the universe that “people hate salespeople.” But that’s categorically false. In fact, there have been reliable studies on what people don’t like about sales, and it isn’t the people themselves.
Those “things people hate” have to do with poor sales tactics, things your salespeople should be trained to never do.
Things like being pushy and aggressive and making assumptions.
Things that prompt reactions like resistance, lies, excuses, withdrawal, and retreat.
It’s important for any company to honestly evaluate how its salespeople are perceived.
Do they seem trustworthy?
Only 3% of people think salespeople are trustworthy.
Source: HubSpot research
Do they seem customer centric?
“Results show that customers perceive firms as customer centric if the supplier is customer oriented on both the overall firm level and the salesperson level.”
In one study, published in May 2020 in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, researchers found that relational components (trust) and technical components (expertise) impacted the perceived pleasure and perceived risk customers felt. This perception is relevant in both B2B and B2C contexts.
The right sales training program is going to expose weaknesses in the presentation, dig out flaws, and empower your people to build trust and connections that win business.
The Sales Training That Sales Professionals Need Now
Sales training, first and foremost, has to be relevant and tactical. Training that isn't relevant to their unique role, too conceptual, and isn't immediately applicable will fail to move the needle.
We’ve learned a lot in the last 25+ years.
Sales Training Programs: Then & Now
A little over a decade ago, sales reps were just beginning to embrace technology. Many operated in a survival of the fittest approach, with pressure on all sides due to the economic challenges of the early 2000s.
The interest in sales training rose sharply because of changes in the economy and increased competition, and many of the sales methodologies we’ll review below were formalized in this time.
Salespeople cycled through in-person seminars, conferences, and corporate training sessions boot-camp style for 1-2 days. Then they were expected to “go apply it” and have performance metrics tied to their implementation of the method they were taught.
This worked okay for companies and sales managers working with some types of salespeople, but we understand more now, both about sales in today’s markets and about human nature.
Researchers at Gartner track the evolution of sales training. Gearing up for what works now:
- In sales training, attention is now being given to pre-boarding and onboarding, as well as continuous and continuing education. Any solid training program is not one-and-done, but seen as an activator for long-term growth.
- Emerging technology — including conversational intelligence, fueled by AI — advances in behavioral science and pedagogical understanding have made it possible to deploy personalized learning at scale.
This zoom-out perspective is valuable, because sales jobs are changing.
New Types of Sales Jobs
The most obvious “new type of sales job” is virtual. Virtual was the only option we had for a while, and companies rapidly developed tactics for remote sales work. Does it work? Sometimes and for some kinds of people. But sales is still inherently relational, so it’s tricky.
There has also been an uptick in the interplay between tech and sales with advances in data: data science, data organization, data management, etc.
In part because prospecting and outreach can happen online, and data is digital, sales and tech are more closely aligned than ever. This is a fresh challenge, because, in the past, being tech-savvy wasn’t a qualifier for being a great salesperson. But it may be now.
In addition to the fact that the role of a salesperson is evolving, almost every industry is facing new sales challenges.
New Sales Challenges
We’ve already touched on customer perception and values, which are themselves shifts in the landscape. Salespeople also face unique challenges, which vary by industry and context.
Here are some examples of what your sales sales reps are up against in the field:
- People don’t pick up the phone. Cold calling has a success rate of around 2%.
One foundational premise of the ASLAN sales training model is to correct the misunderstanding that people are inherently receptive. In fact, they are not. And the current markets could not illustrate that more clearly. Building trust online has become a prevalent challenge. Reps have spent the last two years having conversations via video chat. The challenges of in-person vs. online sales aren’t going away.
- Entire industries, such as pharmaceutical sales or fintech, are subject to new regulatory restrictions. In pharma, for instance, salespeople can’t “wine and dine” doctors, and access is harder than ever.
Want to learn more about pharma challenges/opportunities? Read: How ASLAN’s Sales Rep Training helped a top 10 pharmaceutical company
Are there challenges? Yes.
Are there solutions? Also yes.
The best sales training programs arm each member of a sales team with the right tools to overcome any hurdle.
But the method has to be right.
Sales Organizations & The Best Sales Training Programs
Sales training and sales coaching needs to be so well-grounded in the fundamental principles of human nature that it’s simply the “how” that changes, not the “what.”
The best sales training programs begin with the right sales methodology, which should be based on research-backed, time-tested psychological, behavioral, and sociological principles.
We make this point a lot at ASLAN:
If you’re selling a single high ticket item to an enterprise company, your approach is different than if you’re selling volume to everyone.
The right sales methodology will only work if it is aligned with your company culture, can be customized to your unique selling challenges, and is relevant to each unique sales role within your sales organization.
Check out The Approach Proven to Sell 2x More, a video by Tom Stanfill.
Remember when we talked about the 2000s? The mad dash to figure out what works in the selling process? A lot of books were written to delve into the entire sales process, arming each sales leader with essential selling skills. A lot of sales programs were developed during this time. Some of them have endured and become go-to methods salespeople are taught.
Sales Training Methodologies
Here is an overview of popular sales training methodologies (we’ll cover popular companies who use proprietary methodologies next). These training solutions aim to encourage a powerful sales culture, build selling skills, and maximize sales opportunities.
How it started: John Knopp from Hewlett-Packard coined the term “Conceptual Selling” in the late 1980s. It evolved into Strategic Selling and a book by Stephen Heiman, Robert B. Miller, and Tad Tuleja. The first step is to listen to a prospect before offering any solution or response. Then, the salesperson ties their product or service not to a generic need, but directly to the concept the prospect delineated.
How it’s going: In some ways, this is more of a philosophical approach, honing in on the “concept” rather than product or service. It does turn the point of focus onto the customer, and may support relationship selling. Critical skills include contextualizing and defining a prospect's needs, then working from there to connect the dots.
Potential weaknesses of this sales training approach: To work this way, salespeople need to (a) be good listeners and (b) be discerning. Potential weakness is that it was developed in the 1980s for a specific type of seller. It may not fully address or work in light of new market dynamics.
Sales Training for Strategic Selling
Teaching critical thought is a tall order. Miller Heiman sales training does offer a structure (simple, repeatable), meant to be applied to all customer interactions. Participants learn how to run meetings, differentiate a solution, align objectives, and more.
How it started: SPIN is another classic approach. SPIN Selling was a bestselling book written by Neil Rackham in 1988. It’s an acronym:
S = Situation
P = Problem
I = Implication
N = Need-Payoff
How it’s going: SPIN has evolved to meet modern demands and is useful for assessing a buyer’s situation and problem, then understanding how to solve those problems.
Potential weaknesses of this sales training approach: SPIN is primarily a questioning framework and may fall short to provide a holistic solution for a complex sales organization.
Sales Training for SPIN Selling
In SPIN Selling sales training, participants will go through scenarios to follow the very specific steps delineated by the acronym.
How it started: In 2010, Jill Konrath wrote Snap Selling to address the “do more with less” pressure both salespeople and customers were facing. It addressed what she called the “extreme conditions” of the market with a four-part process for sales.
SNAP is an acronym:
- Keep it Simple
- Be iNvaluable
- Always Align
- Raise Priorities
How it’s going: Similar to SPIN, SNAP is a step-by-step process that follows a specific pattern to improve sales performance. The goal is to “speed up sales and win more business with today’s frazzled customers.”
Potential weaknesses of this sales training approach: Again, the 1-2-3-4 approach to sales is often insufficient to truly empower salespeople to deal with each individual customer and conversation.
Sales Training for SNAP Selling
SNAP selling also uses scenarios to teach salespeople what to do as a rinse and repeat for any interaction. Both the book and training also present good “what ifs” in case the process is derailed.
How it started: Developed by The Harris Consulting Group (a sales organization, among other services), N.E.A.T. Selling is a sales qualification methodology based on four elements:
- Economic Impact
- Access to Authority
How it’s going: The goal of sales courses that teach this approach is to quickly get to the core pains of a customer, pitch the solution in terms of economic impact, ladder up to the decision makers, and create a timeline for meeting business objectives.
Potential weaknesses of this sales training approach: N.E.A.T. is a good idea, but it won’t work for every type of sale. For instance, in plenty of contexts, salespeople won’t have access to the data that gives them a full picture of the economic impact of the sale on a prospect’s business.
Sales Training for N.E.A.T. Selling
N.E.A.T. sales training focuses on efficient and effective lead qualification, to start. The idea is, at every point, to whittle away the unqualified, streamline the pipeline, and close faster. This training is available as an online sales training option.
How it started: In 1983, leaders at Management Science America were trained by Mike Bosworth, who introduced a new sales methodology known as Solution Selling.
How it’s going: Solution Selling is a problem-led methodology. It’s most effective in complex situations, and often seen in B2B contexts. It’s based on two big ideas: reps must first understand the customer’s problem, and must align the sales process to the customer’s needs.
Potential weaknesses of this sales training approach: Solution Selling is a solid theory, but has encountered some challenges. For instance, buyers have more product info than they used to. This could mean they don’t want to rehash their problem, but are ready to talk with sales teams about the specifics of a solution.
Sales Training for Solution Selling
Solution selling is about finding pain points, training sales reps to decode what a customer shares to find the important points of focus.
How it started: Inbound Selling: How to Change the Way You Sell to Match How People Buy was written in 2018 by Brian Signorelli. The goal was to “change the way people think about sales,” emphasizing buyer trust and helpful, meaningful content.
How it’s going: Inbound is a process that should turn strangers into leads into qualified leads into opportunities into customers. That path is forged by salespeople who prove themselves to be the right fit and build long-term relationships.
Potential weaknesses of this sales training approach: Knowing the customer, empathy, and relationship-building are all powerful values, but they aren’t the only way to sell. Inbound is good but leaves some gaps in tactics that could leave reps on a sales team unsure of what to do next.
Sales Training for Inbound Selling
Inbound sales certifications often have a strong digital component.
Target Account Selling
How it started: Target account selling (TAS) is account-based selling. It’s a personal approach that focuses all energy on best-fit, highly qualified leads.
How it’s going: This strategy relies on tech to scale, and is most often seen in B2B sales situations. Sales managers and/or sales reps develop sales skills to build an ideal customer profile (ICP) and then only target accounts that fit those narrow criteria.
Potential weaknesses of this sales training approach: TAS works best when long-term customer relationships are necessary and sales are high value. There can be a long lead time to winning business this way.
Sales Training for Target Account Selling
There’s a strong connection between marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads in target account selling, and numerous tech-based processes that reps must learn to successfully execute this approach.
How it started: High engagement, high impact: get close and be a trusted consultant. That is the core tenet of consultative selling, which has been pioneered by several books from several different authors.
How it’s going: Consultative selling is meant to work best in new markets, winning over decision markers with an “on your team” approach. It requires an advanced level of subject, product, and knowledge.
Potential weaknesses of this sales training approach: Functioning as a consultant means that sales professionals must become experts in many things. This is a big ask for salespeople, and won’t yield results fast when a broad, volume approach is needed.
Sales Training for Consultative Selling
There are a few groups that conduct consultative selling training, mostly specialized agencies or consulting firms.
How it started: Written in 2018 by Keenan, Gap Selling: Getting the Customer to Yes: How Problem-Centric Selling Increases Sales by Changing Everything You Know About Relationships, Overcoming Objections, Closing and Price covered 3 key questions: 1. What are the problems? 2. How big are they? 3. What is the desired future state? The gap between the problems of today and solutions of tomorrow is the total focus in Gap Selling.
How it’s going: A fundamental idea to Gap Selling is that it’s not the salesperson’s job to overcome objections: it’s the buyer’s job. It seeks to reverse prevalent thinking that sales is primarily tactical, but that it’s a game and salespeople can learn how to play it better.
Potential weaknesses of this sales training approach: Many of the sales methodologies above are diametrically opposed to the notions of Gap Selling. It makes some bold claims that may simply not align with your company’s philosophy or approach to sales.
Sales Training for Gap Selling
Instructor-led or individual online training is available for Gap Selling.
Sales Training Companies
Richardson Sales Performance Sales Training
How it started: Richardson has been in the business for about 40 years, and provides a variety of curriculum options and customizable journeys to drive sales excellence.
How it’s going: Richardson advocates for Sprint Selling using agile techniques. Agile sales training is available for various selling roles and various phases of the sales cycle. It prioritizes “speed to proficiency” through a suite of training products.
Potential weaknesses of this sales training approach: Richardson is built to be agile and adaptive, which is helpful considering how dynamic new buying journeys have become. However, like a lot of sales training companies, the original founders are no longer at the company. Between significant changes in leadership and size of organization, the company may not be best at customizing the program to the specific needs of the sales force they are serving. It would be important to investigate, post-merger, the kind of learning path they can provide for each unique sales organization.
The Brooks Group
How it started: The Brooks Group was founded in 1977 by Bill Brooks. Its methodology has evolved into the IMPACT sales process.
How it’s going: The Brooks Group provides seminars and sales training programs meant to hedge against the uncertainty of the market. It offers IMPACT selling programs in addition to sales hiring assessments and coaching based on the Brook Group Philosophy.
Potential weaknesses of this sales training approach: A few potential weaknesses include: a focus on the learning leader versus serving and supporting the sales leaders. They use the IMPACT sales approach and provide what some could see as limited content. Even after adjusting for customer service, sales, and complex sales, they don’t appear to offer a comprehensive suite of programs that include prospecting and strategic selling.
Command of the Sale
How it started: Command of the sale/command of the message was created by an organization called Force Management. The Seller’s Command Center encourages five key actions:
- Stop talking
- Start positive in discovery
- Align talking points with what’s important to the customer
- Own next steps
- Focus on the key sales fundamentals
How it’s going: Experts at Force Management wanted to create predictability around the sales process, helping a sales team get out of its own way to close more deals.
Potential weaknesses of this sales training approach: There is no prospecting component to this sales method, which is problematic for sales in many industries. The charge to “be audible-ready to define your solutions to customer problems in a way that differentiates you from your competitors” requires an immense amount of research, and may even be impossible for sales in certain fields.
Sales Training for Command of the Sale Selling
Command of the sale learners nail the cadence and are urged to finely hone their powers of observation to gain a competitive advantage.
Companies & Proprietary Sales Training Methodologies
In some of the most popular sales training approaches, you will find a proprietary methodology and a company that delivers training for it.
How it started: It all started with a book called The Challenger Sale, written by Brent Adamson and Mathew Dixon in 2011. The Challenger sales model rose to popularity by preaching the power of being a “challenger.”
How it’s going: Sales reps were taught to disrupt, push, debate, and dominate a conversation, obtaining and retaining control over sales opportunities. Many sales management professionals and high performers naturally fall into this category, as the challenger type of salesperson. Since its inception, Challenger has been considered one of the best sales training options for sales teams.
Potential weaknesses of this sales training approach: Gartner analysts admit this is only an effective approach for those specific types of salespeople, which begs the question: what about everyone else? Challenger works for receptive customers, which leaves a lot of customers out.
Sales Training for Challenger Selling
In the Challenger model, salespeople are trained on the “3 Ts” = teach, tailor, and take control.
Sandler Selling System
How it started: The Sandler Selling System was built in 1965. It advocates a “killer attitude” and high-pressure negotiation skills, claiming “If you can’t kill, you can’t sell.” Sales classes teach salespeople to engage in sales negotiation with sales prospects.
How it’s going: Sandler relies on the traditional approach to selling where reps are taught to proactively pinpoint pain and utilize strong tactics to drive sales.
Potential weaknesses of this sales training approach: For people whose sales career is typified by high-energy, high-stakes, and willingness to battle it out, Sandler sales classes could be a great choice. However, the approach does bank on an environment of responsiveness. In today’s world, being overly-aggressive could be a non-starter for most people and businesses.
Sales Training for Sandler Selling
Sandler has a variety of training programs, based on “The Sandler Rules,” and the company provides training for sales plus a lot of other business-related disciplines or skills.
How it started: ASLAN Sales Training company launched in 1996, co-founded by Tom Stanfill and Tab Norris. They were career sales executives, and saw the fundamental flaws in sales predicated on adversarial relationships. Theirs was a radical approach to selling: to tell the truth, and (foundationally) to be Other-Centered.
How it’s going: Since its inception, ASLAN has represented a new kind of sales training. Salespeople of all kinds are effectively equipped to close sales, leveraging their own strengths and the methodologies they learn in training. The programs are “unique as standard,” with deep customizations and tailor-made solutions that are purpose-built for businesses around the world.
It’s important to note that the founders/authors of many of the methodologies or programs listed above are no longer at the companies. This is a critical differentiator for ASLAN.
Potential weaknesses of this sales training approach: ASLAN has spent almost three decades actively eradicating any weaknesses of their sales training programs. It teaches sales people to have meaningful sales conversations, and offers training solutions for every type of sales rep.
One weakness is that ASLAN may be seen as a bit too advanced than other programs that offer simple tips and tricks. We believe in doing some deep work to get results, which requires significant commitment both now and in the long-run.
What does it look like?
Read a case study or two about sales success:
Global Services Company — Learn how ASLAN Sales Training helped this global services company shift their corporate culture while increasing sales in a down economy.
Financial Services Company —Learn how ASLAN empowered a major financial services company to handle major growth as well as increase retention with its existing customer base.
Sales Training for Other-CenteredⓇ Selling
ASLAN sales training is offered for inside sales, field sales, and call center sales. Comprehensive, in-depth, and engaging sales courses and sales coaching are available as in person training or as virtual training sessions. We believe wholeheartedly in both initial training and ongoing training are essential to build selling skills.
Filling in the “other” category is M.E.D.D.I.C., which isn’t a sales training methodology, program, or company, but rather a discovery framework.
How it started: In 2020, Darius Lahoutifard published a book called ALWAYS BE QUALIFYING: M.E.D.D.I.C. In it, he laid out the a framework using the acronym:
M = Metrics
E = Economic buyer
D = Decision criteria
D = Decision process
I = Identify pain
C = Champion
How it’s going: M.E.D.D.I.C. is not a series of sales training courses but a sales qualification framework. This is useful for B2B, where thinning the crowd can help salespeople have the right conversations with the right people.
Potential weaknesses of this sales training approach: The data needed to successfully qualify prospects based on the M.E.D.D.I.C. criteria may not always be available to sales professionals. In many ways, it is a vetting system, then a very traditional approach to sales.
Sales Training for M.E.D.D.I.C. Selling
When sales teams are trained on M.E.D.D.I.C., they must also create or change systems to adjust how leads are evaluated using these new criteria.
Evaluating Your Company’s Needs for the Right Sales Approach
Tons of options.
But which sales training program one is right for your sales team?
Most business leaders are vaguely aware that different sales methodologies exist. But the primary goal remains the same: to win more business. To earn influence. To make connections that make conversions.
So, which gets that done?
More importantly, which gets that done in your business?
First and foremost, you must choose a sales methodology that has a philosophical match with your own business principles, operations, and ethos. The best sales training programs will reinforce these.
Philosophy of Sales and Sales Professionals
Sales methodology is “how it’s delivered.” The philosophy of sales is the core beliefs that make that delivery approach necessary.
It’s about fundamental ideas: what does your sales team think about what they do?
Zoom out: how does your company think about the sales process?
What are your sales and marketing teams taught to do?
And what is the sales training/sales management training that will achieve that?
The reasoning or understanding behind the sales process stems from your company’s core values.
If your company’s headline is “we will crush you,” you may be able to get away with passionately assertive salespeople. Your sales strategy may be competition-first and dominance-oriented, with an acceptable threshold of collateral damage. And sales success will be achieved this way for some products in some markets. Your sales leaders and sales representatives can be trained to operate in a take-no-prisoners way.
Of course, every company should be competitive and want to be number one. But, increasingly, consumers are demanding a new kind of experience. Businesses that functioned in an echo chamber of their own might are being challenged on all fronts. What’s more, leadership principles are shifting, prioritizing soft skills after research has shown us how well they work.
An Evolving Approach: the Best Sales Training in Today's World
In 2021, McKinsey published research around the imperatives of companies organizing for the future. All four overarching trends analysts identified are “poised to unwind the old rules.” This includes the philosophy and principles that have driven sales and include enhanced connectivity and fundamental societal shifts.
Most companies, even the biggest in the world, have made or are making a philosophical shift in how they conduct themselves in the marketplace.
They’re adapting to the new norms of a new generation of buyers and business people, and this is creating a shift in sales philosophies as well.
People don’t want to be bullied. Coerced. Tricked.
They don’t even want to interact with sales teams.
The sales philosophy your people embrace must address that reality, then equip them with the ability to live out your company’s values as they sell.
Measuring the Effectiveness of a Sales Training Course
Your sales reps and sales management team needs to be trained to create receptivity in an unreceptive world, exhibiting the principles your company cares most about as they rep in the marketplace. The proof is in the pudding.
In any sales training program, there must be measurable effectiveness.
- Do your people sell more in the weeks immediately following training?
- Perhaps more importantly: do they sell more in the months following training?
Effective sales training will meet your people where they are, then jump-start a journey of transformation that forever improves their sales performance.
Related: Are you, as a leader, a calyast for your sales rep’s development? Learn more on the ASLAN YouTube channel.
How to Vet Sales Organizations
This has been a ton of information which has covered all of the best sales training courses and programs on the market today.
We’ve provided an epic, 30,000 foot view of what’s out there in terms of sales strategy, training methodologies, and approaches.
Faced with all of these options, you need a distinct set of vetting criteria to make sure your final decision is the right one.
You/your team will have the technical, practical considerations:
- Does this sales training fit our budget?
- Do they work with companies like ours (size, industry, etc.)?
- Can they train for everything we need (field sales, call center, inside sales, etc.)?
- Do they have good reviews?
- Do they have plenty of materials and ways to take in content?
- Do they work with all staff (sales reps, sales leaders and sales management teams)?
- Do they work in our area/Are they available?
- Do they have a sustainment plan post training?
- Can they adapt to your training needs?
Important points. But dig deeper, too. Run them through these points:
1. Success in training sellers
Not just, have they been around for a long time, but who do they work with? What results have they achieved in terms of sales performance? Most importantly, do they focus equally on their success training sellers in similar roles?
2. Real-world experience and expertise
Professors are good at… being professors. But sales knowledge and expertise is gained through experience. This means that you don’t just want an ideas-guy, you want sales trainers who have carried or bag or had to hit a quote. Ones who have done it (successfully).
You want to make sure you can get to someone in leadership to have a meaningful conversation about your needs, and that they are willing to tailor things to meet those needs. Who are you going to work with to customize a program? Do you get access to senior leadership to ideate? It’s critical that you have a trustworthy team that can deliver the right program to your people.
4. Can they sell to you?
This may seem obvious, but how well are you sold to, as a possible buyer? Are you engaged with, communicated to proactively? Do you find yourself wanting to buy into their training programs or eager to preview a sales training course? Does the company bother to learn your needs and sustain your interest? How you are handled is the first proof of concept.
Dive deeper into the vetting — Get the eBook: An Insider’s Guide to Choosing the Right Sales Training Partner.
Last, Find the Right Type of Sales Training
A final note: the delivery method is the last piece of the puzzle. There are a few components to this that will absolutely impact how well it works in your company. Let’s talk through the three most important facets.
Virtual vs. In-Person
In the past couple of years, almost every sales training company in the world has started providing virtual options. Online sales training needs to be done th e right way to get results. There are pros and cons to this.
We have a whole article on it that will guide you through this: Virtual Sales Training vs. In-Person Sales Training.
Most importantly, whichever you choose, make sure it is instructor-led. No self-serve. You just can’t be responsible for the outcome, and retention is so low when people self-drive, it could be a total wash.
What’s the teaching going to be like? Because for your sales leaders in their twenties (or, let’s face it, any human on the planet now that YouTube exists), a three hour lecture could be really hard.
Who the instructors are, and how they present, impacts whether your people develop sales skills.
Even really good content, delivered in a boring or lackluster way, goes in one ear and out the other. Find a company led by actual industry vets and amazing instructors.
Follow Up and Frequency
Finally, what happens after the sales training is over? All of the buzz has subsided. Your people are down off the mountaintop. There has to be a hype cycle, by which we mean follow-up at a regular frequency. Ongoing opportunities to keep learning. This is mission critical.
Set Your People Up for Success: Sales Training That Works
At ASLAN, we are about sales transformation. We know the pitfalls to avoid in a sales training program, and we know that effective sales training programs are not one and done. It is about continued application, which means a catalyzing experience (sales training) that has continuous reinforcement.
This is real-world stuff.
Your sales representatives encounter resistance, a lack of receptivity, and a general distaste for “the schmooze” on the daily. They don’t need to learn better tricks. They need a philosophical overhaul, reshaping the way they approach sales, and empowering them with the tools to handle anything that comes their way.
This is why ASLAN provides a tailor-made approach. Tailor-made in that, we are the sales coaching experts who know what will work. But every single program we deliver is purpose-adapted to your company and context.
Even in early conversations, you’ll hear us talk about this not being “an ASLAN sales training program,” but a “[Your Company] sales training program.”
You have to own it. Your people have to “get it.”
And we will ensure that happens through expert-led instruction, engaging presentations and conversations, and sales training methodologies that work for any kind of salesperson, at any time.
Our sales training programs allow for immediate application, so your people walk out of that in-person or virtual training ready to sell. It’s that kind of transformation. And we achieve it at mid to enterprise level businesses all of the time.
For more information on the ASLAN approach to sales, Other-Centered selling, and more on our programs, contact us anytime.