Chapter 5

The Science of Sales Training

I have been in the training business for the past 22 years. In 2006, I took the SSAT and scored a 62 percent. I concluded that the test was really dumb because I thought I knew the right answers and the questions weren't good questions. I picked up the phone and called Nancy to complain. She chuckled and then explained, based on my skill profile, exactly how I sell things. I was amazed. It was like she'd been on sales calls with me. I went through CFS training with Nancy, and the first year my gross revenue went up 20 percent and I broke into the top five sales reps for my firm for the first time.

—Dave O'Brien, Associate, The Predictive Group

Sales training is a huge business. In the United States alone, companies that sell business-to-business spend between $4 and $7 billion on sales training, according to Dave Stein, CEO of ES Research, a company that studies the sales training market. About 60 percent of that amount is spent on in-house training (product updates, marketing training, etc.) while the rest is spent hiring outside trainers to help sales teams become more effective.

Given that level of yearly expenditure, that sales training would be massively increasing the ability of sales teams to sell. Unfortunately, that's usually not the case. “Nine out of ten companies say that the sales team, after training, doesn't end up with any lasting value,” says Stein. The problem lies, not in the training itself, but rather in the traditional ...

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