Sales development is a crucial part of company success, and yet it’s something that is rarely done proficiently. Sales training is done regularly, but it falls short of breeding successful salespeople. To truly improve, Jane Gentry, interviewed by John Golden, argues that sales development, rather than just training, is vital.
This sales interview explores sales development and other topics such as:
- The traditional thinking on sales training
- Sales development, and why it’s important
- The importance of the sales manager
- How to drive change to develop your sales team
Traditional Sales Training:
Sales training is typically event based. People come in, and do training sessions and workshops as a group or as individuals. Sometimes training is hosted through an online training source, or occasionally a trainer will come into large organizations. There are multiple different ways to conduct and train your sales staff. But, training seminars at their most basic are merely content delivery. What often gets overlooked is what happens after the training. “It’s not training that is going to change their behavior,” said Gentry.
To foster the creation of well-rounded salespeople, it’s crucial to train and develop salespeople. “The knee-jerk reaction of most organizations is to put their seller through training and assume that it’s going to create behavior change. And yet, it doesn’t,” said Gentry. In fact, 50% of sales managers think that if you got rid of training altogether, it wouldn’t impact the quality or skills of their sellers. “It’s development that changes behavior. It’s not learning. It’s not content delivery. It’s development.” said Gentry.
The Sales Manager’s Role:
Examples of companies that have utilized excellent training and development are few and far between, unfortunately. Most organizations invest in training, and providing content, but do not develop their sales staff or encourage the sales managers to foster the development of the sales staff. “If you are investing in training your sales team, but haven’t first prepared your sales manager to develop the sales team, you’re wasting your time, effort, and money,” said Gentry.
If you’re going to make a change, it has to be reinforced, adopted, and coached by the sales manager, even after the training is over. Sales managers have to take ownership of the material. They have to know the content and understand the sales process well enough to teach it. They need a strategy or coaching plan, and actively work on developing themselves as a manager, while also improving the sales team. The sales manager has to provide the development piece; there is just no way around that. It is a sales manager’s first responsibility to be a developer of salespeople. Not a manager of numbers. “The numbers will come from the right behavior,” said Gentry. “If we’re reinforcing the right behavior, the numbers will come.”
About Our Host
John is the Amazon bestselling author of Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World’s Greatest Military Victories and Social Upheaval: How to Win at Social Selling. A globally acknowledged Sales & Marketing thought leader, speaker, and strategist. He is CSMO at Pipeliner CRM. In his spare time, John is an avid Martial Artist.
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