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The Benefits of a Sales Education

By Drew Stevens

Did you know that 92% of most selling professionals do not have a proper sales education? Did you know that the lack of education could hurt prospecting and closing ratios? Unfortunately many organizations spend little time and resources toward sales training. Many believe lack of time, and most importantly money impact developing a proper training program. More importantly, when they do, many organizations spend more time on products/service and make training an event providing little return on investment.

Sales [Selling] have become an increasingly important position in contemporary organizations, especially with the growing global economy. Many traditional companies, such as insurance companies and marketing firms, require effective sales training, but most organizations, including educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and for-profit companies, grow and thrive based on their ability to effectively sell their product or service to consumers and potential students. Simply put, nothing happens unless something is sold so why not invest in the sales team?

As the recession reverses and there will be an increased need to refocus energies on productivity and performance. Selling professionals will be pressed to make budget and exceed their quota goals. The only way to do this is with proper sales training. However, organizations will no longer provide as much organizational training due to budgetary issues. Additionally, managers and business professionals do not have the time. Education therefore will shift to a process approach with individuals being responsible for their education.

There are three methods for individuals to gain resources to help them each with their own values and limitations.

Books, Audio and Video: These time tested resource tools always assist individuals seeking to acquire knowledge. The major concern is the lack of accountability and return. The onus is placed on the individual to apply their learning and research that initial application is helpful however, research shows that after the initial 90 days fewer than 20% of individuals realize any sustainable productivity gain that lasts beyond 12 months.

Public Seminars: Public seminars are purposeful, one gains content rich information during a one to three day session. Benefits include networking, collaborative group interaction and facilitated lecture. However the concerns for public seminars sometimes outweigh the benefits, as public seminars are event based ignoring returns on investment. Secondly, seminars require participants to absorb as much information as possible with very little application. Third, there are a plethora of public seminar companies confusing the market.

Online learning/Webinars: These electronic resources are most helpful to individuals seeking specific knowledge. Understandably the ability to take a course wherever, however and whenever an individual needs immediate information is a terrific real time concept. Additionally, the ability to enroll in job specific courses assists with gaining immediate answers to present sales issues. However similar to books and audio there is little productivity gain without accountability.

University Training: There is a new genre emerging in major universities- sales training. As adult programs proliferate, major universities are attempting new methods to reach those seeking to return to school for job advancement. Ironically, with the need for selling in every business, there are fewer than a few dozen of the more than four thousand colleges and universities in the United States with an established, formal sales program. Many simply offer one or two sales courses within the Marketing core. In the United States, there exist only 14 universities with Professional Selling Programs. These programs offer complete credentialed programs that are recognized by employers.

Benefits of recruiting university sales curriculum trained salespeople:

  • Increased competence in a competitive and global world

  • Confidence that helps to increase productivity and employee morale

  • Leadership qualifications with the enhancement of persuasive communication

  • Reduction of attrition, which saves an organization millions in profitability

  • Understanding the importance of selling to the organizational strategy

The concern for any individual seeking to invest in their future is to choose something that fits their budget, their time and their interest. Yet the most important issue is choosing something. In order to gain a competitive advantage; selling professionals require better preparation, planning, strategy and processes than ever before. Those that invest will thrive, those that remain inert will lose in today’s global competitive workforce.

Read other articles and learn more about Drew Stevens.

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