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  • ESR’s STVG

    Here is ESR's highly acclaimed Sales Training Vendor Guide, Third Edition.

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The Brooks Group: Getting A (Second) Life.

The Brooks Group surprised ESR when we commenced coverage of them for our last Sales Training Vendor Guide.  They scored very well in both solution breadth and solution effectiveness, even against many of the bigger, more well-known training companies.

Al Case, Vivian and I did an analyst briefing call with the Brooks Group management team earlier this week.  For all the details, you’ll have to wait for ESR’s upcoming Guide.

I will share with you that Brooks is determined to continue being rated in the top tier.  Their advancements in prospect nurturing, measurement, post-program reinforcement (especially coaching), distance learning and technology-enabled learning (the image shows their soon-to-be-released Second Life training facility—click to enlarge) put them in the short-list category for certain companies with certain sales training requirements.

ESR believes that a Second Life training capability at this point is a nice-to-have for a small percentage of sales training buyers.  But as sales training moves further away from the three-day live classroom model, training teams continue to become more diverse, and travel budgets are cut, if not eliminated, Second Life and other such platforms will become the norm.  Although the Brooks Group isn’t the only training company to offer a Second Life implementation, they are absolutely doing the right thing moving in that direction.

Finally, this all may sound terrific to you, if you’re searching out a sales performance improvement provider. I can only warn you that selecting The Brooks Group or any other company based upon this or any other one-page write up is precisely the wrong thing to do.  If you are presently, or will be evaluating sales training companies, consider investing in ESR’s upcoming Sales Training Vendor Guide, where we really compare and contrast The Brooks Group against 25 other leading providers.

Disclosure: The Brooks Group subscribes to ESR’s research.

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ESR’s 2008 Sales Training Arena

Click on the image for full size.  Do not make a sales training decision based solely on this chart.Each year ESR publishes its annual Sales Training Vendor Guide.

The 2008 Guide, which was published last December, compares and contrasts 19 leading sales training providers across many different capabilities such as depth and breadth of offering, program effectiveness, educational design, available customization, post-program reinforcement, learning technology support and measurement.

Although the 2008 Guide came in at 170 pages, the ESR/Arena (right) was, for many, the highlight of the report.  With appropriate deference to the Gartner Magic Quadrant, we designed the ESR/Arena to provide a quick, graphical perspective for those who would read the report.

We released a standalone copy of the ESR/Arena early in 2008. We found that some buyers of sales training were leaning toward making decisions about vendor selection based solely upon a single glance at the Arena.  We’re certainly delighted that they have that degree of trust in us, but that is precisely the wrong way to go about such a critical decision.

Selecting the right sales training company—the right way—is a process.  There are no shortcuts.  The foundation, and most critical component of the process, is a comprehensive assessment of the selling company’s situation.  I’m not talking about a quick, “The reps need training in cold-calling,” or “They need to get higher in the customer’s organization.”  Hundreds of millions of dollars a year are wasted on training based upon such short-sighted and matter-of-fact statements.  I know.  Performing postmortems on failed sales training interventions is part of what we do at ESR.  And now is a really bad time to spend money getting your people trained only to find that there has been no measurable improvement.

Now that I’ve offered that disclaimer you can take a look at the 2008 ESR/Arena. (Click on the graphic for full size.)  There are a few things for you to keep in mind:

  • This graphic is a year old.  A number of vendors have gone through changes during the past year.
  • There are eight additional vendors that ESR has included in our coverage that are not represented in the 2008 ESR/Arena.  (Here is a complete list.)
  • There are literally hundreds of other training firms, from one person to many, that could very well be the right one to meet your company’s training requirements.  Your perfect partner may very well not even be on this chart.
  • No single vendor that ESR covers is right for every company.  It’s your job, not theirs to make sure you’ve selected the right one.

ESR’s 2009 Sales Training Vendor Guide will be published early in the year.  It will include 26 vendors and considerably more information about training programs, CRM integration, Sales 2.0 technology, and other critical capabilities than previous Guides.