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  • Brian Burns

3 Ways to Fail at B2B Sales Training


It goes without saying, but sales trainers and sales managers have one of the toughest jobs. Unlike other roles -- which depend strictly on the performance of the individual -- they need others (aka their sales staff) to perform exceptionally and often in order to succeed.


This requires finding and implementing effective training methods to set their sales staff up for success. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Here are 3 ways you may be failing at B2B sales training (and how to right the ship):


1. Treating Training as an Event


When it comes to sales training, you should never treat the process as an event; but, rather, as development. For example, you may provide several major sales concepts to your team over the course of a single day. In this scenario, the trainer (you) is expected to deliver each concept in a way that ensures perfect comprehension and retention by the sales team.

Additionally, the participants are expected to understand and retain all of the information they just learned flawlessly to be able to implement the sales concepts after only one day. Unless you couldn’t tell, the expectations here are not realistic. Instead, trainers should focus on developing their staff’s skills over a period of time.

This approach entails reinforcement and continuous learning to help your sales team digest new strategies and concepts at their pace.


2. Failing to Enable Behavioral Change\

Any way you slice it, training is all about changing the behaviour of your sales team. Failing to do so means you must rethink and retool your methods altogether.

Even the best sales training material won’t do much if it’s not accompanied by the proper follow-up and accountability as it pertains to behavioural change. You may believe a transfer of knowledge from you to your staff is all you need to succeed, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. If your goal is to increase the competency and ability of your team, you’ll need to change their way of thinking.


3. Teaching Outdated or Irrelevant Tactics

In sales, a lot of what is taught was established long ago. However, while some of the principles remain relevant to this day, many of the old tactics and strategies have become ineffective.

Decades ago (when these tactics were conceived) the need to compel change was non-existent. Sadly, this happens to be one of the most relevant and critical needs in B2B sales today. With this in mind, you should ensure your curriculum is built for the 21st century and continues to be updated as the world of sales is an ever-changing one.


The Takeaway

These are just a few ways trainers might be failing their sales team. However, there are many more. As a B2B sales trainer myself, I’ve spent over 25 years learning the most effective strategies, tactics, and concepts to help others become killer salespeople.

If you want to gain more sales knowledge -- for yourself or your staff -- then I suggest listening to my podcast The Brutal Truth About Sales & Selling!

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