I feel so strongly about this issue that I recently wrote a white paper on the topic. You can download that paper here: “The New Role that Drives Sales Leader Value“. In case I haven’t already spoiled the suspense, my answer is a resounding “Yes.”
Sales training and sales coaching always have been critical job responsibilities for every sales leader. But in today’s selling environment, it is no longer enough just to be responsible for seeing to it that reps receive some sales training programs. If sales leaders want to be successful, it is now crucially important that they, themselves, become skilled sales trainers.
Here is an abridged version of my reasoning: It is self-evident that if you want customers to buy from you instead of the competition, you need to distinguish yourself somehow. But, in every industry, we are seeing the end of meaningful differentiation in products and services. No matter what you sell, chances are you have competitors who offer something very much like it.
If your company does come up with a feature or a method that distinguishes you from the pack, that novelty can and will be copied by the competition very rapidly.
Without a meaningful and lasting differentiator, you fall into the commodity-selling trap, where price is the only major buying factor—a race to the bargain basement.
How can you escape that trap? You need to end the focus on what you sell. It’s all about how you sell.
For a lasting advantage, build the most competent sales force in your industry.
Here is the best way to create a lasting advantage that your competitors will find extremely difficult to copy: Build a team of the most competent salespeople in your industry through continuous sales training and sales coaching. In other words, don’t try to compete on product features or service gimmicks. Compete instead on the basis of sales skills.
If the objective is to achieve significant improvements in sales skills, the question then becomes, what’s the best way to approach sales training and sales coaching? I believe that the best answer, by far, is for sales leaders themselves to serve as sales trainers and sales coaches.
Several reasons for this are spelled out in the white paper. For the purposes of this blog, let me just pose a quick question: If you want to conduct sales training programs and sales coaching in such a way that the sales skills you’re trying to teach get accepted, learned, and then actually used on the job until they are thoroughly mastered, who is in the best position to make all of that happen?
If you are the sales leader, then YOU are. Therefore, who is the best sales trainer? YOU are. Therefore, who should teach the sales training course? YOU should.
For information about how you can be the catalyst to improve sales skills and make sales training pay huge dividends, contact Action Selling at (800) 232-3485.
About Duane Sparks
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).