According to Manpower’s 10th annual talent shortage survey, a sales person is the fourth hardest role to fill in an organization. Ask any sales manager and they will tell you that of all sales roles, inside sales teams are especially difficult to staff. Inside sales representatives typically need significant sales training and a lot of high quality sales enablement tools to do their job well, feel successful, and therefore commit long term to the role. While sales positions in general are hard to fill, it does not help the situation that inside sales reps are also expensive to source.
Business analysts have a long tradition of researching about why businesses fail. The topic has become a staple of business publications and bloggers who will periodically rank their 5-10 reasons that startups don’t take off, small businesses dreams crumble and once successful enterprises meet their demises.
According to Salesforce.com, a sales rep spends 67 percent of their time doing something besides selling. We know all too well that a good chunk of that time is spent on reporting, but another significant portion of it is spent in training sessions. Too often those training sessions are in-person, large group training sessions designed to provide the greatest amount of information to the most people in one sitting.
Sales training is a $5 billion dollar industry, according to Sales Performance International and companies spend as much as $30,000 or more training individual sales reps.
Sales trainers are smart people. They know when something is broken, and if The Bridge Group is correct and sales reps are only meeting their quota half of the time, then something is very broken. It is clear that sales kick off events, in-room presentations, and mandated day-long training sessions are not working for the 50 percent of today’s sales learners who are failing to meet quota. E-learning programs can fix many of the problems with sales training.
Sales managers, especially B2B and technology sales executives, are fighting an uphill battle to recruit and retain their sales staff. In fact, according to Manpower's 2016 survey sales representatives are the third toughest role to fill for any organization. But, it turns out that more so than many other tools, effective sales enablement programs can play an outsized role in helping sales managers increase retention and job satisfaction amongst the sales team.
Just in case you were hungry for a shamelessly tortured holiday sales analogy… here’s a quick Turkey-Day tidbit cooked up especially for my peers in organizations with new or evolving sales enablement functions –many of whom are hard at work right now setting the table for sales in 2017.
Just 10 years ago the term sales enablement would have drawn blank stares even from seasoned sales professionals and top business leaders. By contrast, a 2015 Forbes study affirms that today nearly 60 percent of companies with best-in class sales organizations boast a robust sales enablement function.
We have all worked with sales people. Think about the last great sales person you worked with – the one that helped you make the right decision for your business. Chances are that person is engaging, committed and dependable. Most likely that rep has had soft skills training. Of course, the sales rep has also learned how to prospect, position the product, and negotiate. But those technical skills are not the skills that have made you a loyal customer. When it comes to being a successful salesperson, sales managers say that soft skills training matters most.