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ASTD: Shifting Sales Environment Requires Updated Sales Training

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Mon Dec 27 2010

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Successful selling organizations depend upon sellers' abilities to shift strategies in a changing sales environment. New research from the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) indicates that current sales training needs improvement to help sellers effectively confront these changes.

Technology available to buyers, buyer and seller behavior, and the sophistication of the marketplace are underlying causes of the rapid evolution of the sales profession. Sales training must now address these factors.

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In Accelerating Revenue Through Learning: Developing Sales Teams that Win, researchers found that 96 percent of survey respondents think continual learning is critical to their success. However despite recognizing the importance of training, only 44 percent of survey respondents attend any kind of formal sales education. Other key findings include:

  • Salespeople need customizable frameworks, approaches, and methodologies to effectively leverage the sales training they receive.

  • Relationship building, problem-solving/diagnosis, and listening are three critical sales skills.

  • Digital content is a valued delivery method. 44 percent say they learn by listening to digital content.

  • Nearly half of the respondents feel a lack of support in being agile, creative, and flexible with their clients and prospects.

  • Many salespeople are uncomfortable with how their companies and management define the role of a sales person.

The study also offers recommendations for taking a strategic approach to sales training, assessing training requirements, implementing appropriate support systems, and building performance measurement systems.

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