By now, you probably have Googled and found out there are a plethora of options, everything from the large sales training company down to the lone practitioner.
I would suggest you hire someone who can demonstrate that they have been there, done that. They don’t necessarily have to have experience in your industry, but they should be able to demonstrate that they have the right sales pedigree. Look into: their personal sales history; where they worked; who mentored them; if they have management experience; and how long they were in sales before they got into training. Ask about their teaching credentials.
You’ll also want to know what companies make up their current client list; this will tell you a lot about your candidate. And find out if their selling philosophy matches what you want your sales force to emulate. They also should be able to demonstrate that they stay current with what’s happening on the sales-education front. This will be evident in the courses they have taken recently, current books or articles they have read and the last time they updated their course materials.
Remember, the best players don’t always make the best coaches. Whomever you select should have great presentation skills and the ability to command respect, from the most junior to the most experienced person on your team. The best way to evaluate this is to attend one of their sessions. If that’s not possible, ask to see a video. You also could ask for a reference or two, but be wary of suspect references.
Whomever you hire should be able to grow with you. They should be able to provide you with a range of sales-training products, from basic selling skills to things such as negotiating and communication skills, strategic account management and professional sales management. If you truly are committed to improving your team’s performance through sales training, you will need access to these products as your business needs evolve.
Pick a trainer who can help you over the long haul. It’s usually cheaper than jumping from one to another, and familiarity with your business and people will cut down on orientation time. A good trainer also can help evaluate your reports, and your people will presumably already trust and value their input. So, everybody wins.
I also would recommend you hire someone who not only delivers the course but offers a one-to-one coaching service for your reps to help reinforce the learning. This can be done by phone or videoconferencing as well as in person, but it is a key component if you want to get the most out of your training investment.
Lastly, I would like to draw a distinction between training and pseudo-training. Pseudo-training is a brief one- to three-hour session in which you bring in a dynamic speaker who focuses on a particular topic. Typically, these sessions are a one-way information dump. There is no discussion, no reinforcement exercises or follow up. Pseudo-training is more like entertainment—everyone leaves feeling good, but nothing changes.
View more sales articles from CPSA’s Knowledge Centre.
- Sales are Only as Strong as the Sales Team: The Value of Sales Training and Coaching
- Getting the Dream Team…By Investing In It