Sales Coaching Blog

Learnin' to Fly, But I Ain't Got Wings

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

June 10, 2010

Research Focus: Sales Methodology & Sales Skills Development by Jaime Davis-Thomas, EcSELL Institute Resident Nerd 

Each month, the EcSELL Institute Research & Publications Team focuses on one of the 6 Pillars of Sales Managment. In April & May, we focused on Sales Methodology & Sales Skills Development.

At EcSELL Institute, we know HOW YOU SELL and HOW YOU TRAIN & DEVELOP SALESPEOPLE are two of the drivers of sales productivity. According to our survey of Sales Managers, Methods & Training were selected as third (just under "Talent Identification & Acquisition, and "Leadership & Management") most important sales management roles and activities that drive sales productivity.

Pillar Importance vs Skills 

What does our research indicate? 

The way reps sell is second only to who's doing the selling, and who's leading them. As shown in the chart above, there is an obvious gap between how important selling skills are, and how well they believe their company associates actually perform in selling and training to sell.  While compared to the other pillars, this skill area is stronger, still only 61% said they were worth their salt at it (very strong or strong). 

We've got some work to do 

Thirty-nine percent of sales managers said they were average-at-best at training salespeople at their company to sell! Think about that! The primary function of any sales rep is to sell... and some of the sales managers out there don't feel up to the task at readying them to sell.  

As always, any research I read only leads me to more questions... some of which I challenge you to consider if you agree that you could do better by your reps at training them to sell:

  • Is your sales methodology any good? How do you know?
  • Do you have a training program for sales reps? Does every rep receive the same training? 
  • Do you have a method for evaluating the rep during/after training for problem areas and strengths?
  • Do you have a development plan for each rep? Is it tailored to the rep?
  • How do you select trainers? Who does the training? What training and development resources are offered to these people?

A study by GeoLearning, an EcSELL Institute Partner, cites an 800% ROI on training and development. On the flip-side, a poorly performing sales rep can cost a company $1-2 million dollars in revenue (extrapolate that to sales managers and the numbers increase ten-fold!).   

So what are you doing to help your sales rep take wing?  

Write me back about your answers to my questions (nope, they're not rhetorical!)

Topics: sales training, Research, EcSELL Institute, Pillars, Sales Management, 6 Pillars of Sales Productivity, sales methodology & sales skills development

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