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Sales Training Vendor Du Jour

Confused!I recently spoke with a VP of sales for a $3 billion company.  He told me that they used, (direct quote) “a little Miller Heiman, a little solution selling and a little Neil Rackham.” 

One of the many important points Rick Page (CEO of The Complex Sale and author of Hope is Not a Strategy and Make Winning a Habit) made in our podcast discussion was this: although it takes 21 days or so for a person to change a habit, it takes 21 months (or thereabout) for a company to change one. He was referring to the effort, investment and expectations required for most companies to transform their approach to selling. 

There is an important underlying message here: If you are in the mode of cycling through sales training vendors hoping to provide your team with differing views on sales success, think again. 

Most companies are not going to benefit if they pick and choose discrete components of sales approaches from different vendors.  The only time I have seen this work is when a company has an established, widely-used sales methodology and has consulted with additional vendors on how best to integrate the vendor’s IP so it reinforces, rather than conflicts with, the company’s own methodology.  Using common terminology is only one of the considerations.

Let me be direct:  The “Sales Training Vendor du Jour” approach is a short-cut that doesn’t work.  It’s an excuse for not getting serious about sales performance improvement. 

Not only is a sales leader guilty of deliberately confusing their team with conflicting approaches, strategies and tactics. Far worse is their company not reaping the benefits of a strategic commitment to sales effectiveness, which includes, among other things, a long-term relationship with the right provider, an appropriate level of funding, and the commitment of their whole management team to see the transformation through.


3 Responses

  1. With the greatest respect to the author of “Sales Training Vendor Du Jour”, it does not take 21 days to beak a habit. I heard this many years ago and also believed it. Ask anyone who has lost weight over a period od several weeks or months and you’ll find that the vast majority went back to their old habits with added interest! Depending on how entrenched the habitual behaviour is (and many of the habits of salespeople are habitually deep) real change requires the presence of real “pain”, ongoing and committed self discipline and vigilance.

  2. Phil,

    Many thanks for the comment, and I appreciate your point. How long it takes and how completely one can accomplish changing a habit depends on the person, the habit and the environment.

  3. Spot on Dave!

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