I’m VP Sales – Why Shouldn’t I Do the Sales Training? – by Kevin Graham
In working with various sales organizations, I come across many competent, capable and committed sales leaders who ask a perfectly legitimate question: “Why should I use a third party sales training company?” Or posed another way: “I’m the Vice President of Sales, why shouldn’t I be the one doing the sales training?“
First of all, if you’re a senior sales executive, you SHOULD be doing sales training, mentoring and coaching of your sales team… on a day-in, day-out basis. That being said, there are specific reasons why you should leverage a proven outside agent for a formal training program.
- Your message needs support. By working with a third party training company who customizes the material specifically to your business model and selling cycles, you’ll find reinforcement of your message and sales process. Not only that, but the third party will provide you insight and recommendations on individual sales representatives…which supports your efforts to lead the team going forward.
- The Youth Sports Coach Dynamic. This dynamic draws its name from the world of youth sports. My kids play soccer and I’ve got over 40 years experience on the pitch myself. I can direct my adolescent all day on specifics of how to play the game, but I’m just “Dad” so those words of wisdom will only sink in so far. BUT, when the coach (who likely doesn’t have the same level of expertise that I have) utters the same instruction, those words are gold. The same is true when your sales reps hear the sales training expert provide direction. Sometimes hearing recommendations from the boss only makes so much impact, but the individual may take heart if the sales training expert makes the point.
- Depth and Breadth. There’s no doubt that a competent, capable and committed sales leader knows more about their individual sales process than an outside agent would know. But is sales training really the best use of his or her time? Sales training requires more than delivery. The best sales training requires massive preparation. After all, the biggest cost of any sales training is taking the sales feet off the street/phone in order to participate in the training. But there’s more to it than the commitment to preparation required of the VP Sales. An outside sales trainer likely has a breadth of experience from other industries and selling cycles that can be the basis of significant incremental improvement. I’ve seen first hand how some industries can benefit from the other industries–i.e. discovering the value of a basis point, learning fresh referral techniques, qualifying and closing methodologies, etc.
At the end of the day, in order for sales training to be effective (translation: immediate improvement AND lasting change), it requires ongoing reinforcement from sales management. The company’s selling process should be reinforced on an ongoing basis. By leveraging an outside agent for sales training, you’ll likely discover more power and influence over your own sales teams.
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