Chapter 3. Ninety Percent of All Sales Force Training Fails

Duane Sparks

Action Selling

"Here's the problem—and the solution."

SALES TRAINING'S DIRTY LITTLE SECRET

Investing in training for your sales force seems like a perfectly sensible business practice. It must be a smart thing to do; after all, sales training is estimated to be a billion-dollar industry.

Here's the problem: 90 percent of the training that salespeople receive fails to produce meaningful, long-term performance gains.

A billion-dollar industry with a 90 percent failure rate? Even I'm disgusted with that.

BUT YOU STILL NEED TO PROVIDE TRAINING

With the ever-accelerating speed of change in both knowledge and technology, it is clear that we have a choice: We either continue to learn, or we allow our skills and knowledge to become obsolete.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard "We hire only experienced salespeople," as if that were a solution. The idea that sales experience is a "living textbook" has two major pitfalls:

  1. As the world changes, our methods for dealing with situations lag behind. Therefore, we continue to make the same selling errors time and time again.

  2. In a sales career spanning 30 years, the same one year's worth of experience can be repeated 30 times.

Aberdeen Group, a highly regarded research firm, reports that even in a constricted economy, best-in-class companies are increasing revenues by 20 percent more than laggard firms, through the use of sales training. So, how do the top 10 percent of companies ...

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