ROI from Sales Training and MLB Home Runs
By: Steve Richard, Co-Founder & Head Sales Trainer
Are you thinking about hiring a sales training company? Seeing ROI from sales training is like getting the most Home Runs from a power hitter in baseball. If I put my top slugger in the #9 spot in the lineup, he will not produce as many HRs as in the #4 spot. In the #4 spot he has more protection from good hitters around him and will get more at bats over the season. If I take my top slugger and trade him away to the team in last place, his performance will drop because he has no incentive to push harder. If I take my best hitter in terms of average and try to coach him to hit a lot more homeruns, he may hit a few more every year, but he will never hit as many as the top slugger. Why? You need to match the right talent to the right job, create the right environment for success, then train, manage, and coach that talent the right way. Fight DNA, and you will lose.
The same goes for B2B sales. We train a lot of sales teams on tactics and techniques for B2B prospecting, cold calling, and hunting. Some of the reps we train increase SQOs (sales qualified opportunities) or SQLs (sales qualified leads) by only 10% while others jump 100% or more. A rep I worked with for 2 days in November 2009 increased performance from 16 qualified meetings per month to 36 qualified meetings per month. He sustained that performance and still hits those numbers a year later. One month of his higher performance generated enough incremental revenue to pay for sales training for the entire team. And he still hits 36 EVERY MONTH.
In order to get that type of ROI from sales training you need to consider a lot of variables:
- Do I have the right people in place to begin with? Are these people capable of learning sales prospecting techniques or are they better suited to account management or out of sales all together?
- Do I have the right team dynamics? You may have a lot of great people, but if they do not collaborate and function as a group, then you have succeeded in creating a herd of cats…good luck.
- Do I have the right environment for them to succeed? Have I put in place the proper incentives and culture to drive behavior and sales? If you do have the right environment and provide the right training and coaching and the results still aren’t there, see #1.
- Do I have the managers in place to reinforce what they learned in the sales training? Do the managers have time to sit with and coach the reps or are they too busy counting beans for upward management reporting?
- Do my reps have the tools and skills training they need to perform at the highest levels? Most organizations are great at training sales teams on products or services and the competitive landscape, but most are terrible about training their teams on selling skills. This makes no sense. Your value proposition may be great, but if you can’t deliver it effectively or even find the prospects in the first place, then you will not maximize revenue.
If you are missing any of these, you are leaving money on the table. You need to seriously consider outside help to:
- Assess the current talent
- Hire better people
- Spark creativity and collaboration
- Create better incentives
- Foster a culture of success
- Serve as interim or full time management
- Coach individuals on your team
- Usher in new tools and drive adoption
- Provide sales training