Chief Learning Officer magazine is a trademark of Mediatec Publishing Inc. All clomedia.com and Chief Learning Officer magazine content Copyright 2013 MediaTec Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved. It is illegal to copy, reproduce or publish any information contained on clomedia.com or in Chief Learning Officer magazine without express written permission from MediaTec Publishing Inc.
The Evolution of Sales Training
Finance departments have generally accepted accounting principles. Manufacturing departments have ISO 9000 designations. But when it comes to sales departments, many aren't expected to comply with such formal processes. As sales training evolves, will for
Only now in 2007 do we have evidence that the 130-year-old discipline of sales training is on the right path to meeting the special needs of its direct customers: salespeople and their managers.
Why has this taken so long? Is anyone accountable? What is occurring now that wasn't occurring earlier that facilitated this advancement in the right direction? What can we look forward to regarding how corporations train the people responsible for delivering their top line?
Sales is Last in Line
Most departments within a typical business have a set of processes or procedures to guide them and metrics or standards by which performance of that function is measured. Finance must comply with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Manufacturing departments seek an ISO 9000 and/or Six Sigma designation. Measuring a customer care department's effectiveness through surveys has become a standard business practice.
Even marketing has learned about process and measurement -- direct marketing campaigns are measured through conversion rates. In many companies, sales is last in line when it comes to the employment of and compliance with formal processes, ongoing performance measurement and a strategic approach to training.
Generally speaking, the traits, personalities and behavior patterns of sales leaders have been a root cause of this lag. Many sales leaders, having come up through the sales ranks without having had formal sales methodologies to guide them, opted for event-based sales training rather than the strategic approach that has been the preference of their counterparts in other departments within their own companies.
A Look Back
When we look back at the early days of sales training, we begin to realize, as legendary sales trainer Zig Ziglar so aptly describes it, the purpose of sales training is to teach people how to persuade. As long ago as the 1870s, there was formal sales training (then in the form of "Sales Talk," which was provided to the men -- because there were no saleswomen at that time -- who sold subscription books.)
In 1904, P.W. Searles discussed how salesmanship was taught to new recruits at large manufacturing companies. Sales managers did the instructing, covering things such as how to stand when talking with a customer and how to hand over the pen when closing a sale -- clearly tricks of the trade for those who persuade.
Microlearning — Size DOES Matter
June 20th 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT
2013 CLO Breakfast Club, Boston
September 12th - 12th, 2013The Westin Copley Place
Get the Magazine