A Recession is the Most Imperative Time to Get Your Team Sales Training
I bet I know what you’re thinking: “Wow, a sales trainer who believes sales training is important…”. Yep! You got me. In fact, my belief on the matter is the very reason I am a sales trainer. At one time, I sat in the very rooms at the very tables and in the very building that my now clients come to see me in. During the time I was a Lushin client my career was so transformed via what I learned that I wanted to be a part of that experience for others. So yes, you could say sales training is something I am very convicted about.
- Outsourced sales training is different than sales enablement and sales management, both of which are important to organizations. Managers are tasked with numbers, activity, pipeline, forecast, budgeting, attracting new talent and keeping current talent, and a list of a dozen other responsibilities. Sales enablement is responsible for ensuring the team is set up with everything they need to have in order to sell : product knowledge, CRM, quoting tools, presentation decks, marketing materials, etc. However, that means there is very little time and/or focus put in to teaching salespeople HOW to sell. Things like how to understand human behavior, how to manage conflict, how to communicate effectively, how to get their prospects to make decisions, how to uncover compelling reasons to buy, how to identify their own comfort zones and get out of them. It’s often assumed that if management and enablement provide the “what”, salespeople will organically figure out the “how”.
- The sales team is directly influencing your company’s bottom line. Why in the world would anyone NOT want their people in this position to be as supported as possible? No further comment.
- Salespeople tend to be expensive. Depending on your compensation structure, their salaries alone could be higher than a large portion of the organization. But there are other facets to the cost of salespeople:
- Losing business is expensive but is so the process of acquiring a new account. New customer acquisition can cost 4-5 times more than retaining a current customer.
- The salesperson’s cost of doing business can be rather high if you are compensating for travel, phone plans, any number of technologies, buying leads lists, etc.
- Remember all those responsibilities that management and enablement have? They spend a ton of hours supporting the sales team – if the team is not getting results, this is a huge cost to the organization.
All that to say, sales training that is impactful, that works, that helps to build the team’s skillsets and reach their goals is an investment in protecting your assets.
- Meaningful training that supports people and enables them to live better lives is a HUGE retention factor. I have heard countless salespeople express gratitude to their employers for providing them the support they needed to feel fulfilled in life.
- Lastly, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. A recession is a critical time to ensure your team has sufficient capability in all 21 core competencies required for effective selling. Sales teams can no longer rely on prospects having a surplus of cash on hand as budget restrictions become inevitable. Additionally, if your current sales process is not a quick one, it will surely become longer in a recession. Is your team trained and skilled in the 11 factors that shorten the sales process? Are their consultative and negotiation skillsets strong enough to help shift paradigms and get prospects to a decision? Do they have the appropriate urgency to close? Teams need confidence in these skillsets and many others as the marketplace turns to a mentality of scarcity. You will need a competitive edge – a skillfully trained sales team is the best advantage to have in economic downturn.
Whatever route you decide to take, planning and preparation are key. The easy thing to do is to cut back. You can cut back on salespeople, sales training, and bonuses. While that may be a short-term solution, it becomes a long-term problem as sales decline, which causes a dip in motivation, which leads to a drop in revenue, causing a downward spiral in moral. Instead, I encourage you to unlock the potential in your sales team and watch it become sustainable performance. Happy selling!