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Sales Training Management Dilemmas


Thu Sep 17 2009


Sales Training Management Dilemmas

Do you really know your sales organization?


Most people don't realize that the sales culture created in the organization is actually built upon bits and pieces of the sales profession. By that I mean, each person that has had a critical decision to make has uniquely crafted the sales organization...

based upon their own understanding of the profession. With that understanding, they have infused both good and bad practices.

These practices can be traced to several distinct sales eras. Each era, can leave a lasting impression on your organization -- thanks to the people who infused the sales culture from the beginning, until today.

Here is each of the eras:

The Time Period Era of...


Late 1800's -1920 Sales Science

1920 - 1945 Sales Process

1945 - 1985 Sales Confersations

1985 - 2005 Sales Technology

2005 -?? Sales Performance


For each of these eras, please read my other articles.

The sales eras are important for historical reasons, but there is a practical reason for understanding that they survive until this day. Much of the knowledge new salespeople attain is grounded in the Era of Sales Process. Much of the knowledge on client decision making comes from the Era of Sales Conversations, and much of the advances in managing information flow appeared in the Era of Sales Technology. It's interesting to note that each selling era precedes the other. If you're just starting to analyze a sales team, you can start with the work required to accomplish a single transaction while Identifying how the sales team is organized, how quotas are assigned, and who reports to whom (Era of Sales Science).

From there, move into identifying the processes, systems, and tools in place that support the sales team as they attempt drive multiple transactions (Era of Sales Process). Next, move into understanding how the sales team supports client decision-makers as well as how they help clients justify purchase decisions (Era of Sales Conversations). After that, you can analyze the technology in place designed to support and align the sales team (Era of Sales Technology).

Finally, you can move into understanding the individual and organizational competencies required of the various levels within the sales team (Era of Sales Competency). Think about it! Entering the Era of Sales competency requires all other eras to exist first. Therefore, identifying theses eras can be accomplished even if you have a new sales team that lacks the history, but needs processes, tools, and systems to align to the client.

So, is your sales organization ready?

Welcome to the Era of Sales Performance -- seriously.

The age of the millennial salesperson... In today's complex business environment, a need continues to exist for sales professionals who can build relationships, truly understand the customer, and bring value to the client. It may be true that remnants of preceding sales Eras still exist in your organization. While most organizations would argue that they are working diligently to understand the customer and consult with them to develop win-win solutions, this continues to be extremely difficult. These difficulties require a holistic approach and understanding of the complex environment sales teams operate within.

This complexity has created today's sales era. This era is built upon a platform of salesperson competency. Because buyers are demanding more and more unique answers to their complex business problems, salespeople of today must be able to customize and personalize the information and knowledge from the previous Sales Eras to create their own unique selling approach. This requires a holistic understanding of knowledge, skills, and abilities required to succeed.

Are you working in a high performing sales organization?

- Does your organization spend time on developing the right transaction, at the right time, with the right prospect and support salespeople with a holistic approach with sales, support, and services all working together?

- There is an increased emphasis on how deals are done, not just what the end result is.

- Salespeople are encouraged to personalize their approach within a standard sales process.

- Salespeople are enabled to develop self-directed learning approaches and given the flexibility to pursue the right training for them.

- Salespeople are taught not only about their client's industry, but the industry of their client's customers.

- Salespeople are required to attend a training program focused on different levels of their career

- Sales training is broken into categories such as selling skills training, product training, industry training, and technical (administrative) training.


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