Learning Objectives. Identify the key issues in sales training for the 21st century Understand the objectives of sales training Discuss the development of sales training programs Understand the training of new sales recruits and experienced salespeople
Sales training analysis
On the Job Training (OJT)
Electronic training methods
Sales training costs
OtherCharacteristics of a Successful Salesperson
(percent of all characteristics cited; multiple responses were possible)
Committed to quality and customer service, aggressiveness, persistent, self-confident
Sales, problem-solving, communication, time management
Product, industry, market
Completes paperwork, political acumen
Meg Kerr and Bill Burzynski, “Missing the Target: Sales Training in America,” Training and Development Journal, (July 1988), p. 68.
KnowledgeProgram Content Versus Characteristics of Success
Program Content: 1-3 Years Seniority
Characteristics of Success*
Program Content: New Hires
*See Exhibit 1 for additional characteristics.
Meg Kerr and Bill Burzynski, “Missing the Target: Sales Training in America,” Training and Development Journal, (July 1988), p. 69.
Increase Productivity: Provide trainees with the necessary skills so their selling performance makes a positive contribution to the firm.
Improve Morale: Prepare trainees with “how to” instruction on perform tasks so their productivity increases as quickly as possible.
Lower Turnover: Improve morale and increase job satisfaction through effective training.
Improve Customer Relations: Create continuity in customer relationships, build productive partnerships and increase customer satisfaction through more skillful performance.
Improve Selling Skills: Time and territory management.
Information Sources and Processes
Set specific, realistic, and measurable objectives
Develop and Implement Program
Evaluate and Review Program
Job analysis, job description, etc
Review needs, consider short-term and long-run issues, compare training objectives with company goals
Evaluate previous training methods, consider cost/benefits of various training programs
Develop monitoring system, monitor and revise
Salespeople need to know how their particular industry fits into the overall economy.
Forecasting sales and setting quotas requires knowledge of the industry and the economy.
Economic fluctuations affect buying behavior and requires adaptive selling techniques .
Salespeople need to understand customers' buying policies, patterns and preferences in light of competition.
Sales reps need to be knowledgeable about their customers' customers and what satisfies them.
Missionary salespeople must know the needs of both wholesalers and retailers.
Sales trainees must be aware of company polices that affect their selling activities.
Sales representatives can expect customers to request price adjustments, product modifications, faster delivery and different credit terms. How are these handles?
Major corporations provide the sales force with sales manuals that cover product line information and company polices.
A well-prepared sales manual gives a sales representative quick answers to a customer's questions.
Federal law dictates corporate action or avoidance of action in areas of marketing, sales and pricing.
Sales personnel need to understand the federal, state and local laws that will constrain their selling activities.
Statements - or rather, misstatements- made by salespeople carry both legal and ethical implications.
Lapses in ethical conduct often leads to legal problems.
Many companies issue salespeople laptop computers for presentations, connecting to the company intranet or extranet and for delivering documentation quickly and accurately.
Some companies create "home offices" for their sales force, thus eliminating the need to go to another office.
Armed with high-speed network connections, laptop or desktop computer, printer, and cell phone, a salesperson can work independently and be almost totally self-sufficient.
% of firms offering
0 25 50 75 100
Individual Instruction 69.8
In-house classes 60.8
External seminars 71
Home assignments 17.7
Instructional Delivery Method
Classroom with instructor 100%
Public seminars 93%
Non-computer, self study 79%
Case Studies 78%
Non-computer-based games 72%
Computer-based games 57%
Videoconferencing groups 41%
Some folks find thought of "learning by doing" (OJT) psychologically uncomfortable.
OJT should be a carefully planned process affording new recruits the opportunity to learn by doing, while earning and being productive.
A good OTJ program contains established procedures for evaluating and reviewing a trainee's progress
Research over the last three years suggests that informal on-the-job training is a very effective way of learning for salespeople
On-the-job training and coaching often occur together
The Internet, especially the World Wide Web and its graphics, revolutionized delivery of training.
Quality learning experiences can be delivered to staff and customers over the Internet.
Online universities offer a wide array of courses through the doctoral level.
Online training continues to grow exponentially.
Training can also be delivered via CD-ROM and DVD.
Sales training consumes substantial time, budget and support resources. It’s very costly activity
The relationship between sales training and revenue lies obscured in a complex process with delayed payoffs.
Pinning down the relationship between sales training and its financial benefits requires thought and effort.
Most sales organizations express blind faith by assuming that their sales training programs succeed.