Where we left off in “Solving the Problem (Part I)”, we were discussing the challenges that Sam, a sales manager at XYZ Corp. is experiencing with his sales staff. We identified that the problem may be able to be traced down to the way Sam is training his sales resources. Let’s dig a little deeper into that and figure out what is the real root of the problem.

A Very Common Sales Training Approach
Same trains his sales people like most sales organizations and that is to focus on primarily in the following areas:

  • Company information: This is the company that you work for, this is our history, this is where our operations are, these are our core values, etc.
  • Product information: These are the products and services that you will be responsible for selling.
  • Functionality: This is what the products do and how they work.
  • Features: These are the features that are available.
  • Benefits: These are the benefits that are transferred to our customers.

Sam will basically shoot a new sales person with a fire hose of information in all of those areas, then give them a territory and quota, and then hope that they go out and find business and drive .

Downside to the Common Sales Training Approach
There are two fairly big flaws with this approach:

Flaw #1 – “All about me” focus:
This training is a very “all about me” approach with it being focused on the company and products. The information is very important and valuable, but when Sam trains a sales person on this information, this becomes the foundation of information they rely on when they are talking with prospects. If the foundation is “all about me”, then the sales person may be more likely to communicate in a more “all about me” way when prospecting.

When you first talk with a prospect, you are not at a place where you are ready to talk about your company and products. If you jump to right to that, you are almost skipping a step as there needs to be a discussion before you can take a prospect there. Focusing first on the prospect and holding off on talking about you can often be a more productive path and drive sales growth.

Flaw #2 – Does not tell the sales person what to say

Again, company and product information is very important and valuable, but this type of information does not tell the sales person what to say and ask when talking to a prospect. Think about it, if Sam shows the new sales person a product and show you how it works, that does not give the sales person the information that they need in order to know what to say when talking with a prospect because when they are prospecting and first talk with a prospect, the prospect are not ready to see the product and how it works.

Sam is using a strategy of hope. He is hoping that the sales person takes the product and company information and combines it with their past experience and skills and figures out what to say when prospecting. As the saying goes, “hope is not a strategy” and this is where the inconsistencies with sales rep performance can come from and that is a challenge for driving .