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Public Sales Training Programs

I recently noticed a schedule of public training classes to be run by SPI (Sales Performance International).  I wrote an email to Tim Sullivan, a director at the company.  Tim is a well-respected thought leader in the sales performance improvement industry (and writes the Selling Geek blog, which is on my illumio feed list). 

My email to Tim:

Hi Tim,  I have a question for you. I’m gathering my thoughts about a blog posting on public sales training programs. SPI offers public training courses.

I believe that SPI and ESR agree that sales training doesn’t return much for a company without relevant and underlying business process change and transformation.  If that’s the case, how do you at SPI justify individual or groups of sales people attending a public training program?
[…] Dave

Tim’s response (a downloadable PDF) is well worth reading.  SPI has accumulated some enlightening intelligence around the various applications for, and impact of, their public sales training programs. 

As you can see from my message, I came into this email exchange with a bias against public programs.  I’ve got a different view now. 

Here are a few important take-aways about public training programs:

  1. Some companies using a sales performance improvement provider’s methodology use public programs to bring new hires up to speed.  Of course the public program isn’t customized, so it won’t be a perfect fit. With that in mind, the public program can serve the new hire and the company well until the next internal training event.
  2. Other companies use the public programs as a refresher for selected sales people.  Again, the public program isn’t customized to the specific environment the sales person is working in, but there is still some value.
  3. Tim and I do agree that the maximum results from sales training occur when it is a component of a total business transformation and sales performance improvement initiative.

Let me know your experiences and thoughts about public sales training programs.

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