Trends in sales training – an interview with Richard Ruff

Jason Kanigan at Salestactics.org interviewed Richard about sales training trends earlier this week. We thought you might be interested.

Some of the points raised were:

  • Upgrading sales teams is a continuous challenge given the changing sales environment.  Most companies have purchased some sales training – especially around basic selling skills. Companies shouldn’t throw out what they’ve already done and replace it with something else on the same topic.
  • A better approach is to help the sales team to adapt their sales existing sales skills to new sales challenges.  Sales simulations are a good way to help salespeople make the requisite adjustments.
  • Sales training has changed over the last 20 years. The six or seven dominant companies of the past have merged or have been bought up by equity firms. So, now there are a few small giants and many boutique firms that are nimble and are price sensitive because they have more flexibility in the pricing structure.
  • Online training is becoming increasingly more prevalent. Today it’s more affordable and much easier to do – you don’t need sophisticated LMS systems anymore. Classroom training is expensive but 40% of the cost is T&E.  Online training removes the T&E cost.  So companies are doing what uniquely needs to be done in the classroom and the rest online.  Sharing knowledge is idea for online – like sales skills or product knowledge. The classroom is a great place for application of the knowledge.
  • Software is now available to help in the performance effort.   It is being used in areas such as coaching and pipeline management.
  • How buyers buy has really changed. Hospitals are a great example – what they buy and how they buy is significantly different today. Sales training is needed today to help sales teams adapt their skill sets to meet the changing buying environment.
  • Finally, everyone agrees sales coaching is a good idea, but it just isn’t done in a sustained way. Sales managers have so much pressure that they just run out of “time and tape.”  There just isn’t a serious commitment to taking the time to doing sales coaching.

I hope this summary whets your appetite. Take a listen – click here.

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©2014 Sales Momentum LLC

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About Janet Spirer

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. Janet has followed two different, yet complimentary paths. First, as a B-School Professor she taught marketing, sales, and business strategy courses. She also managed a consulting practice focusing on sales productivity and marketing – working with a variety of clients ranging from Xerox to IBM. She translated those experiences into a book – “Parlez-Vous Business” – that helps sales people develop the business savvy to sell successfully. Since co-founding Sales Momentum® in 2000 with Richard Dr. Spirer received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, an M.P.A. from The University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. in Economics from Brooklyn College. She holds the appointment of Professor Emeritus at Marymount University.
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