Note: This article was written by David Kurlan, CEO and Founder of Objective Management Group.
Do you partake of dessert prior to eating your appetizer?
Do you eat your dinner in the morning and have breakfast at night?
Would you prefer to have the builder complete the finish work on your new house prior to framing it and installing the roof?
Would you back your car out of the garage before opening the garage door? (I've actually done that by accident - twice!)
It's all quite silly. You wouldn't think of doing those things in that order but that's how most companies choose sales training companies. After 35 years in the sales training industry, I'm qualified to comment on this silly behavior, and explain why companies have it all backwards.
If your company is going to partner with a third-party to help increase sales, the actual sales training component should be the last of the various services to be delivered.
What 5 services should be delivered prior to sales training?
First, a complete sales force evaluation to identify the gaps, problems, challenges, and most importantly, the reasons why your sales results are what they are.
This allows you to set realistic expectations for growth by understanding who is capable of improvement, by how much they can improve, and what will be required in the way of training and coaching to achieve that growth. If you provide training without conducting the evaluation you might as well just write the check and spare everyone the time, effort and aggravation.
Second, sales process. Your sales process must be customized and optimized because training must introduce your formal sales process and all of the content must be delivered in the context of the process.
Third, sales management training and coaching. If you want the sales training to work, then your sales managers must be trained and coached so that they can coach to the content in the context of the sales process. If your sales managers won't or can't coach consistently and effectively, the training won't stick and the changes won't take place.
Fourth, tweaks to your sales operations infrastructure. You don't want to start tweaking things after sales training has begun.
Fifth, Upgrades. Some of your existing salespeople won't be part of your future and knowing who they are in advance from the intelligence of the sales force evaluation allows you to replace them before, not during the sales training.
Of course, there are other variables, like how the training will be delivered, support materials and technology, the effectiveness of the trainer, how many training sessions a program will include, the topics that will be covered, how much role-playing will be included to demonstrate what good conversations sound like, and homework assignments. If you make the mistake of rolling out sales training instead of the sales force evaluation as the first step, you won't have the MRI of the sales organization, or a sales radiologist to read the MRI, so it would be like ordering surgery from a menu instead of receiving the proper needs-based treatment.
Where do you find such a sales radiologist? Objective Management Group (OMG) partners with 300 of the best sales experts in the world who all provide those services as part of an OMG Sales Force Evaluation. Sure, there are other assessment companies and other team reports but nothing compares with what OMG offers. Not a single one is able to do the in-depth sales-specific analyses of your team that OMG provides. Request a sample Sales Force Evaluation
Some of the analyses that OMG includes in a Sales Force Evaluation:
Role Analysis (right people in the right roles)
Pipeline Analysis (quality and restaging)
Sales Process Analysis (thoroughness, sequence, milestones and adherence)
Development Analysis (scope, friction, opportunity and timeline)
Analysis of 6 Sales DNA Competencies (do strengths support sales process, strategy, tactics?)
Analysis of 10 Sales Capability Competencies (selling skills)
Sales Management Coaching Analysis (skills, environment, frequency, topics, effectiveness)
Sales Leadership Analysis (competencies and effectiveness)
Messaging Analysis (elevator pitch and value proposition)
Analysis of 5 Will to Sell Competencies (can vs will sell)
Industry Comparison Analysis in all 21 Sales Core CompetenciesSystems and
Processes Analysis (sales operations)
Priorities for Growth (areas to focus on and training and development requirements)