Finding the right fit for your team.
Business is booming. New customers and requests for new products and services are flowing in. We are offering solutions we never thought possible five years ago. Sales invoices are stacking up. Products are flying out. Wonderful problems to have, no doubt! Can our sales team keep up? Do we have the skill sets necessary to sustain our booming business and take it to the next level?
Our company has redefined itself and its business. We expanded our capabilities from offering used rack and shelving to customizing material handling solutions that best suit our customers’ objectives. As our business grows and as we continue to expand into unfamiliar markets, developing our sales team becomes more of a challenge. Since we couldn’t keep growing using the same strategies, we decided that sales training was needed to push us out of our comfort zone, fostering the expansion and development of our skills and expertise.
Questions abounded: What types of training are available? What will we have them trained in: Cold call ing? Telemarketing? Customer retention? New customer acquisition? How do we choose a sales trainer? How much input will our sales team have in the decision? Who do we trust? We considered all these questions.
When first going to market, we discovered the choices in sales training are overwhelming. A simple search of “sales training” on Google returns over 14 million search results. Is anyone selling anything except how to sell? As we evaluated the various programs, we concluded that each could be placed in one of two categories: behavior modification or personal growth and development.
In our assessment, training programs that fall under the behavior modification classification seek to change the “erroneous” behaviors salespeople are accustomed to by training them to take certain actions in certain situations. Behavior modification programs emphasize sales tips and techniques and promise to deliver immediate results.
Personal growth and development programs view the sales process on a personal level. They are more psychology- and philosophy-based and require more time and commitment. The salesperson discovers himself or herself and understands their customers’ motivations. Personal growth and development programs emphasize expanding skills and making permanent changes over time.
warehouse1 contacted four sales trainers to participate in our interviewing process. We classified two trainers in the behavior modification category and two in the personal growth and development category. When interviewing, each trainer delivered a presentation and Q&A session to our sales team, followed by a sit-down meeting with our management team.
Before we could determine which trainer would best develop our sales team, we needed to figure out which of our team’s skill sets are a strength, which skill sets are average and which skill sets are underdeveloped. Do our current skill sets align with where our business is going? Do we want more of what we have or do we want what we don’t have?
In order to get an objective view of where our sales team is, we are currently utilizing a sales staff recruitment consultant to test our team on a number of scales: education, past performance, experience, thinking ability, conscientiousness, stability and situational judgment. Once we analyze what we have, we can make that first big decision: picking a sales trainer.
|Meet the Author
Daren Froeschle is marketing specialist at warehouse1, located in Kansas City, Missouri, and on the Web at www.wh1.com.