How To Pick A Sales Training Provider?

How To Pick A Sales Training Provider?

What are you looking for in terms of your next sales training programme? Well, to start you thinking, we did a little analysis of what is available in the marketplace.

We analyzed 10 randomly chosen training course (with the help of Google’ search rankings to guide us). Or to be more precise Wordle did the analysis for us – we simply copied the text from the outlines and popped it into the clever tool for building a word cloud showing the most commonly used words. The results are shown below.

Sales Training Analysis

(Click on the image to view the full-sized version)

The biggest words are the ones mentioned most frequently by the sale training providers in their course outlines. It is a fairly good indication of the emphasis, or focus of the training being provided. So, what does the analysis tell us and more importantly how can it help you in picking your next sales training programme?

Analyzing Sales Training

We sought to interpret the sales training word cloud by means of answering the following questions. They are questions we think you should ask in deciding on what training to provide to your sales team:

What today’s sales training programmes are focused on?

Surprisingly many courses fail to distinguish between B2B and B2C, or the long and complex versus the relatively simple sale. If you are involved in B2B sales then you could end up sitting through a training course that will be off little relevance to your customers.

It is clear that they are focused on sales techniques, objections, rapport, process, and so on. That is all good stuff, but if you were to be critical you could say that these topics give the impression that sales sounds a lot like something that is done to, rather than with a customer, or prospect.

How up to date is what is on offer?

Take a look at the list – how many of the terms shown are new, that is to say were not there 5, 10 or even 20 years ago? Why are we training in old techniques? Is there nothing new?

While so much else has changed – markets, customers, and technology – sales training has not. Indeed it would appear that much sales training is stuck in a time warp, with sales training companies providing ‘yesterday’s sales training today!’

Does it reflect changed market conditions?

Sales training in a slowdown has to be different than during a boom. But how many of the terms in the word cloud reflect the new low growth market conditions? A key challenge for any training programme is to help salespeople to deal with the new realities of buying, such as;

  • The competitive tender
  • The more sophisticated/demanding buyer
  • The growing role of procurement
  • Aggressive price negotiation
  • Supplier concentration.

How many of the topics covered make it easier for your customers buy?

Will the topics covered and the skills to be developed help your buyer to:

  • Make the decision and get it sanctioned internally?
  • Prevent the deal getting stalled?
  • Ensure success in a competitive tender situation?

What words would you expect to find, but are missing?

We asked a few sales managers and here are some of the important topics that are not being covered:

  • Stalled deals
  • Pre-qualification
  • Competitive tender
  • Buying process
  • Business case
  • Decision criteria
  • Procurement
  • Cost benefit analysis
  • Managing buyer risk
  • Price negotiation
  • Accelerating the sale

Did you spot any more?

Read the next one of this sales training article series:
Why Sales Training Is Not Enough!