Each morning I start my day with a workout at the gym. I like to start each workout with the elliptical machine. I listen to music and watch others training on the various machines to make my 30 minutes go by quickly. One machine almost everyone does wrong is the lower back machine.
Each morning I watch people plop themselves down on the machine without making adjustments based on their body. Some sit too high in the seat and some are seated too low. Some move the weights very quickly and some let the plates slam in-between repetitions. Not executing the exercise correctly not only fails to isolate the area you are trying to develop, but may also cause injury to the individual and the machine. There are two older gentlemen who train together each morning and not only do they fail to adjust the machine settings for their body size, but they do the exercise, (the training) completely wrong. They select the maximum weight and they begin.( double the weight I use) The weight is so heavy they are no longer sitting on the seat midway through the movement, and they are pressing the weight with their legs as they aggressively pull the weight back with their arms. Once one gentleman finishes I see his training partner execute the training in the same way. My guess is they have used this machine in this way for years and each assuming they are doing it correctly. They are so focused on looking impressive with the amount of weight they are lifting they lost the original objective of using this machine.
This machine was designed to provide training for an isolated area of your body, the lower back. To use this machine correctly and realize the maximum benefit the first thing you should do sit and adjust the machine settings so you are exercising in the proper range of motion. You are supposed to slowly push the resistance back, hold, then slowly return to the starting position while not allow the weight being lifted to rest. If done correctly, and balanced with lower abdomen exercises, you will develop a strong lower back and core.
As I watch these two older training partners each morning, I am reminded how most companies execute sales training wrong. I can speak from experience as I have done it wrong myself. A new product is about to launch so we bring in all the sales troupes to corporate for training. Marketing presents PowerPoint slides covering the market size, and they share the creative support materials, the sales tools they developed to help my team hit their goals. Then the product manager presents the product and reviews each feature and sometimes shares the benefits of the particular features. Far too much time is spent discussing why our product is better than our competitors and not enough time is spent helping my team understand the problems this new widget solves. We may visit the manufacturing facility and see the product being assembled.
At some point I would present our team goals, and each region’s individual goals. Over the years I would develop specific regional play book drafts with objectives by market by account. These play books would illustrate the opportunity in their market my current and targeted new accounts and if every tactic was completed would result in the salesperson achieving 150% of their goal. I would ask each salesperson to review the plan for then report back on how they plan to achieve their revenue targets. We would have specific discussions that resulted in adjustments to the play book. I would often present some competitive information, and share how to overcome objections we may face when trying to displace our competitors, and or gain placement for this innovative new widget. We would establish key indicators the team would be tracking that we believed would drive our desired revenue targets.
About 15 minutes into the training you can see salespeople checking their emails and excusing themselves for incoming calls from “one of their key clients”.
WE HAVE ALREADY LOST THEM!
How do market leaders conduct sales training to produce the maximum revenue in the shortest amount of time?
· Share what market problem the new product solves
· Explain how big is this problem
· Share market data
· Explain what buying criteria buyers use when making buying decisions
· Share the process buyers go through when purchasing
· Position the sales tools developed for the specific steps of the known buying process
· Provide the sales team the buyer persona(s)
· identify the key influencers to the buyer personas, and who also may be involved in the buying process, and provide guides on how to start discussions with them
What I am describing is not “Sales Training” (like I did in the 1990’s) but “sales enablement”. Sales enablement is defined as:
Sales enablement is the process of arming an organization’s sales force with access to the insight, experts, and information that will ultimately increase revenue. It is a term that has gained momentum in the last decade. It is often used to describe a variety of tools, processes and methodologies that are applied to enable a sales force, both direct and indirect. The terms “sales effectiveness” and “sales readiness” are sometime used interchangeably to denote Sales Enablement as well.
In David Daniels’ recent blog he states:” According to the “Business-to-Business Launch Survey Executive Summary” conducted by the Center for Business Innovation at Babson College and Schneider Associates, 55% of companies rank sales enablement as critical to product launch success.”
When salespeople were the “keepers of the keys” for product information one could argue how the way most companies conducted sales training was OK. However the internet and the instant accessibility to information have changed sales forever.
Salespeople must become experts at starting and keeping conversations going with buyers. Today salespeople must be experts at understanding the buyer’s process, and what sales tool to use when.
Market leading sales organizations teach their salespeople how their product or service solves market problems.
Market losing organizations continue to spend more time convincing their sales teams how easy their goals are …”even a monkey could do it.” Market losing teams practice “marketing roulette”. They create a ton of sales tools and sales is supposed to use them ALL until they figure out which one works. If none of the tools work, sales will create their own. (A REALITY, BUT VERY DANGEROUS) Market losers are still teaching their teams how to overcome objections.
Market leaders understand the importance of listening to objections.
Stop sales training and start sales enablement today.
Remember people like to buy, but do not like to be sold.
Tell me about your organization.
How does your organization conduct sales training?
When salespeople leave your training do they understand when and where to use the sales tools in the buying process?
Is teaching salespeople how to overcome objectives smart?
How many minutes into your last training were salespeople checking their Blackberries and excusing themselves for an “important call?