White Paper: 90% of All Sales Training Fails
Here’s the Problem–And the Solution
Sales Training’s Dirty Little Secret
Investing in training for your sales force seems like a perfectly sensible business practice. It must be a smart thing to do; after all, sales training is estimated to be a billion-dollar industry.
Then again, that really means nothing except that we’re selling it and you’re buying it. Here’s the problem: I estimate that 90% of the training that salespeople receive fails to produce meaningful, long-term performance gains. Yes, I’m biased. But ES Research isn’t, and they put the figure in the high 80% range.
A billion-dollar industry with a failure rate approaching 90%? Even I’m disgusted with that. Why would any company want to waste training dollars and everyone’s time doing something that has a one-in-ten chance of producing a significant payback?
But You Still Need Sales Training
With the ever-accelerating speed of change in both knowledge and technology, it is clear that we have a choice: We either continue to learn or we allow our skills and knowledge to become obsolete. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “We only hire experienced salespeople,” as if that were a solution.
The idea that sales experience is a “living textbook” has two major pitfalls.
- As the world changes, our methods for dealing with situations lag the change. Old coping techniques become ineffective without us ever realizing it. So we continue to make the same selling errors time and time again.
- In a sales career spanning 30 years, the same one-year’s experience can be repeated 30 times. The quantity of experience is not necessarily connected to its richness or intensity. Following Action Selling workshops, I’ve heard hundreds of veteran salespeople say, “I wish I’d learned these skills 30 years ago.”