8 years ago
April 13, 2016

Top 3 Sales Training Mistakes

Here are a few of the biggest sales training mistakes that companies frequently make.

Rhys Metler

Proper sales training is one of the best investments you can make for your company’s long-term success. Done correctly, sales training increases conversions and creates a more profitable sales force. On the other hand, sales training mistakes can actually hinder your salespeople, and drive prospects to your competitors. Sales training mistakes will end up costing you profits in the long run. Here are a few of the biggest sales training mistakes that companies frequently make.

Don’t Bother to Train

Some employers view sales training as an expense, instead of as an investment. In an effort to keep costs low, they forego training altogether. Instead, they rely on sales people to effectively train themselves on the job. There may be some dusty old training manuals for them to review, but there is no real process for them to follow. This is one of the biggest sales training mistakes, and leaves your sales people ill equipped to represent your business to prospects and customers.

Your sales people are the public face of your products and services. They interact with prospects and customers on a daily basis. If they don’t have the right knowledge and experience to effectively represent you, your customers will notice. The only way for them to get the right training, and for you to be certain they understand the training, is to have a standardized, repeatable process in place. Without that, everyone will just make it up as they go along.

Untrained Trainers

Often, employers rely on more experienced sales people to teach new employees. Just because somebody is a good sales person, doesn’t mean they won’t make sales training mistakes. Doing something well, and teaching others to do something well, are two entirely different things. If you’re relying on untrained trainers to get your sales staff up to speed, you’re setting both groups up for failure.

Your top sales people have to be the best by focusing on making sales. When you partner them with an inexperienced sales person, you hinder their ability to continue doing their job. Instead of being a sales person, they’re now expected to be a sales person and a teacher. Most people simply aren’t up to the task. Unless they’ve been specifically taught to provide sales training, leave your sales people on the floor, doing what they do best.

Ad hoc Sales Training

Also known as “pot luck” sales training, your new sales person is partnered with whomever happens to be working that day. If the training period stretches over several days or weeks, the new sales person may receive training from numerous people, opening up more opportunities for sales training mistakes. At best, this will result in spotty training and unreliable results. At worst, they may be partnered with someone who has no interest in training or someone who is just collecting checks until a better offer comes along.

Instead of receiving comprehensive training on your best practices, your new employee may be getting training in company gossip, infighting, and apathy. When the “training” is over, they’ll carry those sales training mistakes onto the floor with them. Potluck sales training puts your profits at the mercy of whoever happens to be on duty that day. They may have received inadequate training themselves, which will then be passed on to the new employee. You need to be sure of what is being taught, and who is doing the teaching.

Costly Mistakes

To avoid these sales training mistakes, you need to establish a standardized process that everyone follows. You need to test new employees on the process and, from time to time, test existing employees to make sure everyone is on the same page. Over time, people drift away from their initial training, and use their own instincts to fill in the gaps. To be measurable and reliable, and avoid sales training mistakes, you have to ensure that everyone is adhering to the same process.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.