August 2013
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TD Magazine

Sales Training Needed for New Product Launches

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Research finds that sales reps are left to learn material on their own, which is a risky business move.

A majority of sales reps are forced to prepare for new product launches with static marketing collateral rather than training, according to research from Corporate Visions. The sales and marketing messaging company polled approximately 400 business-to-business salespeople and marketers worldwide to understand how companies equip sales teams to manage new product messaging.

According to the results, only 38 percent of sales reps receive formal training for new product launches. And role playing, which many believe is essential for sales reps to retain the information they receive from marketing teams, only accounts for 3 percent of that formal training.

Most sales reps learn the material themselves through PowerPoint presentations, data sheets, phone scripts, and other documents. Whether they will commit to understanding and using new product information is largely left to chance.


Likewise, the survey reveals a lack of coaching, which is crucial for greater adoption, reinforcement, and maintaining message consistency over time. Less than 19 percent say that coaching sessions are offered monthly or bimonthly, and a mere 18 percent say they receive coaching quarterly. About 32 percent of respondents report that their organizations never offer coaching to reinforce delivery of new product messages.

Virtual training is the one bright spot for preparing sales teams for new product launches. Among those who receive training, 41 percent report virtual training as the most frequently used tool for learning.

"Survey results reveal a critical gap where marketing and sales teams need to come together to find a way to roll out new product messaging so it gets the necessary uptake in the field," said Tim Riesterer, chief strategy and marketing officer for Corporate Visions. "Product launch success is critical to a company's success, and sales conversations are the key to making that happen in the market. So both sides need a sense of urgency around making sure that training, role playing, and coaching sessions take place to enable sales reps' proficiency in delivering the messages in a confident and compelling way."

About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently sources and authors content for TD Magazine and CTDO, as well as manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs. Contact her at [email protected]

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