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Must we update the sales training pricing model?

In a B2B sales environment it can be argued that due to a number of reasons a superior sales team is one of the few sustainable advantages that companies have left and therefore sales training is more important than ever.

Question: In these uncertain economic times are companies doing less sales training than they would like not because they think it won't make a difference but because they assess the traditional per head pricing model used by most sales training companies as out of touch with their budget challenges and priorities? - by richard ruff
In a B2B sales environment it can be argued that due to a number of reasons a superior sales team is one of the few sustainable advantages that companies have left and therefore sales training is more important than ever.

Question: In these uncertain economic times are companies doing less sales training than they would like not because they think it won't make a difference but because they assess the traditional per head pricing model used by most sales training companies as out of touch with their budget challenges and priorities?
That is a well thought out and well stated question. However, I think the answer can be stated in simple terms. They don't see the value.

That said, all sales training is not equal in value. But let's suppose a training program could have major impact on a company's success. Huge value. Why does a catch 22 exist where the people offering such a value in training have trouble selling it? If they can't sell, how can they teach others?

I believe the answer lies with companies who demonstrate the model they are selling by practicing it themselves. Success can be contagious. - by Gary A Boye
Gary

Thanks for a thoughtful answer. Point well taken on being able to model the sales system one is attempting to sale. That is clearly step one for success. - by richard ruff
That is a well thought out and well stated question. However, I think the answer can be stated in simple terms. They don't see the value.

That said, all sales training is not equal in value. But let's suppose a training program could have major impact on a company's success. Huge value. Why does a catch 22 exist where the people offering such a value in training have trouble selling it? If they can't sell, how can they teach others?

I believe the answer lies with companies who demonstrate the model they are selling by practicing it themselves. Success can be contagious.
While not seeing the value is the most immediate cause, my clients have experienced other obstacles.

Studies show that since formal sales seminars began in 1940, the fail rate for those new to sales have been in excess of 90%. Even with demanding new recruits pass a personality profile test, the rate was still 50%-70% failure. But even that was inflated due to the fact that new trainees were provided with a substantial draw against commission enticing them to stay on the books much longer.

In fact, it was common in the insurance business that many had part-time jobs while collecting as a full-time insurance rep. Once this draw became exhausted, the fail rate jumped back to over 90%.

For these reasons, confidence in outside sales training plummeted and in-house training was initiated and emphasized to cut costs and maintain control.

We have discovered that you can have the best sales training in town but selling it is another story for many other reasons:

Companies are locked in due to contractual obligations with training firms owned by company friends or relatives.

Owners are subject to the "Cry Wolf" syndrome where dozens of training firms have made the same claims and failed to produce results. (Why are you different?)

Some companies are run by seasoned sales reps having 20-30 years experience and do not believe anything is new and there is nothing to learn.

Others believe that sales is personality driven and sales reps are born and not made.

Also, company owners also know what your up to and cannot fall for sales techniques as easily as the common prospect. - by John Voris
While not seeing the value is the most immediate cause, my clients have experienced other obstacles.

Studies show that since formal sales seminars began in 1940, the fail rate for those new to sales have been in excess of 90%. Even with demanding new recruits pass a personality profile test, the rate was still 50%-70% failure. But even that was inflated due to the fact that new trainees were provided with a substantial draw against commission enticing them to stay on the books much longer.

In fact, it was common in the insurance business that many had part-time jobs while collecting as a full-time insurance rep. Once this draw became exhausted, the fail rate jumped back to over 90%.

For these reasons, confidence in outside sales training plummeted and in-house training was initiated and emphasized to cut costs and maintain control.

We have discovered that you can have the best sales training in town but selling it is another story for many other reasons:

Companies are locked in due to contractual obligations with training firms owned by company friends or relatives.

Owners are subject to the "Cry Wolf" syndrome where dozens of training firms have made the same claims and failed to produce results. (Why are you different?)

Some companies are run by seasoned sales reps having 20-30 years experience and do not believe anything is new and there is nothing to learn.

Others believe that sales is personality driven and sales reps are born and not made.

Also, company owners also know what your up to and cannot fall for sales techniques as easily as the common prospect.
Before I read down to the mention of insurance companies, I recognized those statistics as being akin to that industry. With that said I'll comment further.

The same low standards for employee selection was probably spilled over into the choice of sales training. For instance, with the largest insurance company at the time, comedian/character actor Charles Nelson Reilly was recruited to narrate/role play the training. (Think Hollywood Squares). The same company used a lot of J. Douglas Edwards stuff with overkill on the platitude, "When you ask a closing question, SHUT UP!" Those who showed up, providing their other jobs didn't interfere, either were entertained, or fell asleep. The real sleepers, of course, were the Peter Principle managers at all levels that perpetuated that nonsense. - by Gary A Boye
Before I read down to the mention of insurance companies, I recognized those statistics as being akin to that industry. With that said I'll comment further.

The same low standards for employee selection was probably spilled over into the choice of sales training. For instance, with the largest insurance company at the time, comedian/character actor Charles Nelson Reilly was recruited to narrate/role play the training. (Think Hollywood Squares). The same company used a lot of J. Douglas Edwards stuff with overkill on the platitude, "When you ask a closing question, SHUT UP!" Those who showed up, providing their other jobs didn't interfere, either were entertained, or fell asleep. The real sleepers, of course, were the Peter Principle managers at all levels that perpetuated that nonsense.

Point well taken. I didn't know that Peter was also schizophrenic. - by John Voris
Thanks for the responses. As a note when I posted the question I had in mind the top 12 or so sales training companies that have a proven track record with market leading companies. There are a lot of others that are not worth the money regardless of what they charge

The question is however even for the best is the per head head model becoming a problem and the sales training industry needs to explore some new innovative approaches for their engagement models? - by richard ruff
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