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Innovation in Sales Training

Training Magazine recently published an article I wrote.  It’s about innovation in sales training. 

There are a couple of points in the article I’d like to comment on.  The first:

© JJAVA - Fotolia.comInnovation has been slow to come to some of the larger training companies, as well. There are two major reasons for that. First, some of the companies that have been around for many years are still being run by the founders, some of whom are reluctant to invest in content, educational design, technology support, and high-quality facilitators. The reason? Investments such as those impact their personal income, and as a result, innovation suffers.”

Last week I spoke with Tim Young, who joined CustomerCentric Systems (one of the sales performance improvement providers that ESR covers) last January.  Tim’s background is in marketing services.  He’s a savvy guy focused on growing CCS.  Unlike some other companies in the sales training space, here is a company whose principals, Mike Bosworth, John Holland, Frank Visgatis, and Gary Walker decided to invest in the future of their company. 

I go on to discuss special requirements that companies have with respect to sales training:

“Most companies have heterogeneous sales teams with salespeople who are experienced and inexperienced, skilled and not so skilled, with right-brained tendencies (selling as an art) and their left-brained counterparts (selling as a science). Employing a one-size-fits-all approach to training results in little learning and considerable resentment on the part of a fairly large percentage of classroom attendees.”

Companies that are moving toward individualized learn-anytime and -anywhere will have the advantage going forward.  Leaders like SPI, The TAS Group, Sandler, Miller Heiman and Richardson (among others) are providing technology-enabled learning tools to meet those challenges head on.


4 Responses

  1. What I learned a long ago about raising kids applies to sales as well. Children want to both rebel and conform. It’s a hard thing to do. (Some say that’s why gangs thrive!)

    It’s the same with sales. The goal is to have a sales methodology that allows people to conform to a standard (language, funnel, forecasting, process for covering the bases, etc) and yet, still let them exercise their own judgment.

    The innovation in training that is required is to have a process that is scalable and applicable to many situations. That’s why training that uses canned cases fails so miserably. You’ve got to have training where people can actually work on their deals, their sales calls, their accounts. That way, the individuality can be applied while in the training, not later on in a vacuum.

    Best regards,


  2. So true Dave!
    We have moved from “sales training” to “sales technology”.
    Nice article.

  3. Hi Dave,
    I´m the Director of a Sales Improvement company in Latin America, and a special issue we have to consider at the moment of content and media development is frequently cultural pattern of the audience. Latin-americans look like people that need to have a person in front of them in order to get an effective learning instead of a lot of technological resources. What´s your own experiencie around this?
    Congrats for your blog!

    Enrique Maldini

    • Enrique,

      I think you have a very good point. In my past life, I did a lot of sales training for Latin American reps and managers in Latin America and here in the U.S. using simultaneous translation. Today, more than ever, cultural issues (among others) prevent the effective use of a one-size-fits-all approach. That’s why blended learning works so well in situations like this. Similar content can be delivered to diverse audiences with alternative mechanisms. More technology here, more classroom there, more self-directed study here, more one-on-one coaching there.

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