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Why Teams Need Both Sales Training And Development

Training and development are the cornerstones of building a successful sales team. However, they are not the same thing. Many sales leaders use these terms interchangeably, but there’s a difference. Sales development may involve training, but it also involves other components. Sales training, on the other hand, usually teaches professionals a certain skill, like prospecting or negotiating.

Anthony Iannarino, the founder and CEO of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, says that when sales leaders make distinctions between sales development and training, they can help increase their team’s effectiveness.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we discuss Iannarino’s thoughts on sales training and development, including where you should start and the outcomes of each.

Start With Development

Most sales organizations start with training, but you should begin with development, Iannarino says. This may include nurturing competency in an individual salesperson or entire sales force. By starting with a competency model that provides both the attributes and skills to succeed in sales, you can design a better approach to increasing and improving sales effectiveness, he says.

Few careers require professionals to call people they don’t know and ask for meetings. And outside of sales, few professionals get judged on their ability to create value in a conversation. Iannarino says that sales skills are critical, but other factors impact a prospect’s decision to move forward with a sales professional or disengage.

By starting with sales development, leaders can help their sales teams develop the skills necessary to succeed today. Most of these skills are uncommon in check-box training, Iannarino says. You might attend a training course on business acumen, but the knowledge transfer needs to be coupled with competency transfer, he adds. This can be harder to measure.

Experience Matters

The best salespeople make their jobs look easy because they have probably been doing their job for quite some time. They’ve had practice engaging with clients and responding to objections.

Iannarino says that development requires that the sales force reflect on their experience. They should look at what worked, what challenges they faced, what changes they may have made and how their experience compares with their peers’ experiences. Doing this helps them to see the differences among approaches.

The Problem With Traditional Sales Training

Many sales teams roll out sales training just to check a box. They gather sales reps together and complete a one-off, one-day training that covers a single topic like how to overcome objections. Iannarino says that in six hours of training, a sales force can receive a framework that enables a new skill or a new approach. However, a single session isn’t really enough to make any change stick.

Blend Training And Development

Building a successful sales team requires both training and development. Training helps you share knowledge, while development requires experience on the job. Coach your sales reps regularly, recognize their strengths and help them make adjustments where needed.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Anthony Iannarino is the founder and CEO of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting firm.

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