Ray Collis

Sales Training Under The Magnifying Glass

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We did an analysis of sales training courses recently. We found that there was little change in over a decade in terms of the topics being addressed.

More important still, it appears that sales training has failed to reflect any of the dramatic changes that have taken place in respect of how buyers buy. Indeed, as the word cloud below (an analysis of 10 sales training courses) shows there is little mention at all of buying.

Sales Training

Buying Has Changed

Here is a straightforward reality: Buying has changed. Sales training – as the word cloud suggests – has not.

Indeed, to say that buying has changed is an understatement – this is the era of changed priorities, slashed budgets and stalled projects. But if sales training has changed little to reflect these new realities the result is a widening gap between how buyers buy and how sellers sell.

More of the same in terms of cold calling, sales pitches and proposals cannot deliver higher conversion rates, or increased sales success. So if you are buying sales training make sure that those delivering it know as much about buying as they do about selling.

Make sure your next sales trainer can provide your sales team with the insights to how buying decisions are made and to how they can influence them. Given your team the tools to more effectively pre-qualify opportunities based on a analysis of buying process and the tools to increase the level of success when it comes to buying decisions that are made by extended buying teams and through competitive tendering processes.

Click here to read the article series we wrote on sales training.

  • Pat Madigan

    The most intriguing and maybe relevant article for me recently has been “selling to the cold and reserved buyer”. Buyers are more reserved and generally slower to build relationships today. The scale of the deal obviously influences how procurement managers act but there are other factors also such as time constraints. Less staff for more work – time spent on over long meetings, lunch and dinner can eat into valuable family time so those with children to manage are often more constrained than those without. Human factors can influence that short meeting and cold appearance.

    Younger buyers tend to be more analytical and “cold” – used to communicating via technology and happier to work in that medium and deal with facts and business cases.

    Older buyer often happy to build that relationship but be aware of getting trapped – the segment maybe much better at appealing to the sellers emotions.

    Relationship selling and service still matters. Yesterday’s performance may not win tomorrow deal but poor performance will obviously loose it. Time challenged buyers are not going to spend time developing business cases for marginal gains particularly if it introduces a service risk but know the market and adapt. Awareness of competition position and having the flexibility to adapt to short term market trends may keep that buyer in your camp. Forcing them to analyse a new supplier is high stakes game.

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