Over the last couple of years, I’ve attended nearly 100 sales kick-offs and quarterly business reviews. And at each one of these events, I’m always amazed at how much companies focus on the status quo. Every time, they focus these three- to four-day events on product-based information. They look at new tools and products they’re launching. They go through the features, advantages, and benefits, talk tracks, and call sheets for these new products. But where is the skills-based training?
When you look at the agenda for the few days, only a small portion is dedicated to skills-based training. I’m astounded at how many companies continue to focus on the status quo within the skills of their sales professionals. They’re running all kinds of new initiatives, new communications plans, new territories, and new products—but they’re not dedicating enough time to building the core skills of the sales professionals.
Truly great enablement teams aren’t afraid to press Refresh. They realize that high performance comes from constantly introducing new ideas and best practices, and then constantly reinforcing them. They’re not afraid to push off the status quo of their current sales methodology. They’re not afraid to look at the hard numbers and realize the way they’re doing things today can always be improved. And small changes can make a huge difference!
For example, an article titled “The Six Myths of Sales Training,” stated that by improving the skills of your core performers by only 5%, you get a 60% uplift in your entire program. Let’s break this down. Your core performers are your B students, who comprise 60 to 70%—or nearly 2/3 of your sales force! Improving the skills of these people by just 5% by translating learned behavior into sales outcomes, means a 60% increase in your total program.
A great sales performance team is not afraid to evaluate the way they do things and determine that the status quo is just not good enough—that they need to find new people, processes and technology in order to improve performance.
It’s not easy for organizations to change how they do things. And Social Selling is a complete evolution. It’s a reset in the way marketing integrates with sales, how marketing fuels the conversation with digital insights and digital content. But great organizations know that they need to continually evolve and challenge the status quo. They’re not afraid to take a step back this quarter to focus on skills-based training, to allow them to make three or four steps forward over the next three or four years.