At first glance, sales training appears to be an excellent investment. It’s an opportunity to up-skill your sales team and invest in their personal and professional development—why wouldn’t you jump at the chance?
Especially when most courses are affordable and only take a couple of days to complete?
The short answer is yes: thousands of dollars are wasted on sales training every day. Here are a few reasons why this popular strategy doesn’t always generate the return on investment you’d expect.
1. Some sales trainers lack experience and/or qualifications
It’s terrifying to think of people posing as trainers when they have very little on-the-job sales experience or even a sales qualification, but it happens. Some people enter the coaching industry to make a quick buck. Others base their teachings on theories from textbooks as opposed to tried and tested practical experience.
Of course, not everyone can be lumped under this umbrella, but this does serve as a reminder to always ask your training provider for ‘proof of expertise’. Request references, ask to see their resume and don’t hold back on the questions – it’s important to make sure they can walk the talk.
2. Training is only one part of the equation
Most training programmes look very impressive. A well-written course outline can make even the most basic of teachings sound sophisticated. But the reality is, training is not an antidote to poor sales performance – and you should be extremely wary of any provider that tries to tell you otherwise. Training is one piece of a much larger puzzle, and is rarely effective in isolation. In order for a training programme to work, it needs to be preceded by a comprehensive evaluation, and align with your company’s overall sales strategy. If your training provider does not have a robust understanding of your team’s strengths and weaknesses, how can they provide solutions?
3. Most sales training providers don’t measure results
Any trainer that is good at marketing will be able to tell you why their course is great – but it’s only those who can actually prove this with cold, hard numbers that are worth listening to. Sales training is an investment, so it’s important that you are able to measure its return. Unfortunately most providers do not offer any reporting services. They deliver the course, your staff come back to work and you have no way of measuring whether the sales training impacted their performance in any way. This makes it far too easy for some trainers to get away with providing poor quality education. Try to work with companies which are prepared to be held accountable.
4. Mindset is more important than skill set—but most trainers only focus on skills
Did you know that success in sales is more down to mindset than it is to skill set? You can arm people with the skills to succeed, but unless they are able to shift their mindset to a more positive, confident way of thinking, then they will likely continue to make the same mistakes over and over. However, most training providers ignore this research and continue to focus on skills-only. This approach will make little to no difference to your team’s development. Look for a provider that understands the importance of mindset and prioritises it accordingly.
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Unfortunately, there’s a dark side to sales training. Not all courses are of the same quality, and many simply do not offer enough depth to make any difference to your team’s performance. Many companies spend thousands of dollars on training programmes – could all this money be going to waste?