“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you are doing.” So said management theorist W. Edwards Deming, the world’s leading expert on quality improvement.

All work involves a process. That includes sales work. Yet most sales training programs proceed as if improving sales results were a project, not a process. When they do this, they are dead wrong.

Sales training without a process is a problem, not a solution.

Leading-edge thinking about quality improvement in any field of work focuses on process improvement. ISO 9000, Six Sigma and other change-management programs zero in on process improvement in order to achieve lasting advances in quality.

What is the difference between a process and a project? Process management involves planning, monitoring, and improving permanent repetitive actions. By contrast, project management is a temporary endeavor undertaken to produce a particular result.

For example, suppose you define the problem like this: Your sales team lacks the ability to negotiate price. This is, indeed, an issue for many sales organizations, and if it’s the only thing your team needs, then a sales-training module on price negotiation might be the answer.

But let’s just suppose that price negotiation is a symptom of a larger problem. Actually, I’d say there’s something like a 100-percent chance of that because trouble with price negotiation is always a symptom. Selling your price has to do with how well you, the salesperson, have sold yourself, sold the value your company brings to the table, and positioned your product as a unique solution to the customer’s needs…

Duane Sparks - Is Your Sales Training a Project or a Process?


Duane Sparks is founder and chairman of The Sales Board, the authoritative source of practical and leading-edge information about the art and science of selling. He has created Action Selling sales training products and learning systems that transform sales organizations. Duane is author of these best-selling books: Action Selling, Selling Your Price, Questions (the Answer to Sales), Masters of Loyalty (How to turn your sales force into a loyalty force), and Sales Strategy from the Inside Out (How complex selling really works).

Discover how the best sales training process can make spectacular improvements in sales skills. Action Selling: How to Sell Like a Professional (Even If You Think You are One).