Real B2B sales training and coaching became almost non-existent in the 1980’s, 90’s, and the first decade of this century.
This was especially true in the technology world.
Because technology became so ubiquitous, every company needed it, just to keep up with their competition. And B2B technology sales people became mostly order takers.
Real B2B sales training was simplified to providing a rep with a compendium of products and prices, run them through a script, assign them a territory, and then let them sink or swim in a cold, Darwinian fashion.
Almost all B2B selling was based on whether your company had the latest and greatest products and features, not real business drivers.
Now, the B2B sales world is back to where it was when I started my business career with IBM in the 70’s.
It is back to understanding what the business drivers are for your prospects and clients, and working with your prospects and clients, to show how your products and services will help them grow their business.
It is back to B2B sales people understanding what ROI is, what payback is, (how they differ and their importance), and how your products and/or services drive your prospective client’s business.
It is not talking about the features of your products and/or services.
Unfortunately, most B2B businesses are still stuck back in the previous mentioned decades, as far as training their sales people is concerned.
Because of the lack of real B2B training and coaching in the previous decades, most of the current B2B sales executives have never had that training and coaching, and so are unable to coach their current sales people in these so called “new” methods.
That is why sales training and coaching, many times by outside coaches, is a real necessity in today’s B2B sales world.
And if your sales and marketing people are not getting this solid B2B sales training, and especially ongoing coaching, then your company is probably in the laggard category of growth.
According to the Aberdeen Group – a renowned B2B sales research company – states that companies deploying formal sales training initiatives lead non-adopters (laggards) in overall team attainment of;
• Sales quota (78% vs. 63%),
• Client retention (71% vs. 66%),
• The percentage of sales reps achieving quota (64% vs. 42%), plus
• Additional key business metrics.
The key metric here is that 50% more B2B sales reps make quota when they have the right training and coaching.
These companies are responding to a variety of business pressures when implementing their sales training programs:
• Increase or sustain revenue during an uncertain economic recovery (50% of companies indicating this as a top-three pressure).
• The need to align sales activity with overall business objectives (37%).
• Changes in products, functionality, or services offered (28%).
• Longer customer buying cycles (18%).
What needs to be done
For all of these challenges, an enhanced focus on better-informed, well-trained and coached front-line B2B sales reps can mitigate the negative effects of a competitive marketplace.
Let me repeat, in order to be competitive in today’s B2B sales world, your company needs to have well trained sales reps and marketers. And the training needs to be entrenched with ongoing coaching.
Also, your prospects and clients want your sales reps to understand their goals and the issues that are preventing them from reaching these goals.
But your sales reps and marketers need to understand these goals and issues before they communicate with potential clients.
B2B sales reps and marketers need to know how your products and services will do that. Most sales training doesn’t do this. Over the years, my colleagues and I have developed a methodology that does exactly that.
It shows how your products and services, through a direct correlation, help your prospects and clients achieve their goals and alleviate their issues.
No other training does this.
If you want your company to be a leader in your marketplace, then the right training and ongoing coaching of your sales reps and marketers is a must.
Please contact me through my email, in my signature below, to discuss how your company can become the leader in your marketplace.
In the meantime, you can download Aberdeen’s research report here. Best-In-Class B2B Sales Training: It’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint
Image courtesy of salesforce.com