Technologies For Improving Sales Training

New Tools for Sales Training (Inc. Magazine)

In most organizations that field a sales force, the number one responsibility of their salespeople is to sell products to customers.  Whether a company is a retailer or manufacturer, a seller of products or services, a large multinational or local startup, or a for-profit or not-for-profit, virtually all organizations need someone who can sell.

However, as we note in a previous posting, it would be shortsighted to think that convincing customers to make a purchase is all salespeople do.  In fact, many salespeople function more like small business operators as they are assigned a dedicated geographic area and must manage all aspects of these territories as if it were their own business. This leads them to being involved in much more than selling by taking on such roles as office administrator, market researcher, shipping coordinator, meeting planner and much more.

While those in sales may serve many roles and are vital to many organizations, the amount of time companies spend training their salespeople is often woefully slim.  For instance, this story offers several statistics pointing out how limited sales training may be.  In particular, it reports on one study suggesting one out of seven companies do not engage in any formal training for their sales force while another study reports that a large percentage of seasoned salespeople (three or more years of service) get less than six days of training per year.

In addition to the sales training statistics, the story offers ideas for how a company can engage their sales force in more training.  In particular, it looks at a number of new technologies including smartphone apps, social media and lead generation technologies.  While adding these tools to the training arsenal can certainly enhance the training effort, getting salespeople to actually use these remains a big question.

Another product, Foretuit, can actually map employees’ business behavior and provide real-time information that can assist with a sale. A “Battlefield Finalist” at the May 2011 TechCrunch Disrupt conference, Foretuit could very well be the next generation of sales tools; it can analyze complex patterns of a sales lead and offer information that can be used to help secure the deal.

Salespeople are well known for not being early adopters of technology.  What can a sales organization do to help insure their sales force will adopt a new sales training technology?