Is it a good idea to use a sales simulation?

Business Sales Simulations

Face-to-Face Sales Simulation

Historically companies have used sales simulations as a capstone sales training program with their senior sales force. While sales simulations certainly fit this need thinking of sales simulations only as a training design to be used as an advanced program is unnecessarily limiting. With state of the art designs, sales simulations have become more versatile and more cost effective so they now represent a viable alternative for addressing the entire spectrum of sales training needs.   

 Let’s review what some innovative companies are doing.    

Some companies now are looking to sales simulations as a way to realistically combine training in sales call execution skills and sales strategy into a single sales training program.   There are several benefits to this approach. First, this approach reflects the need to minimize time out of the field. Second, it acknowledges that sales call execution and sales strategy are two intertwined activities. After all, the best sales strategy cannot succeed when poorly executed and vice-versa.      

Beyond addressing traditional sales training needs, some companies have used sales simulations to focus on strategic business challenges. Sales simulations uniquely are suited to address this objective.  One challenge is aligning the sales training to business goals. During the past years, the degree of change in the business environment has accelerated at an unprecedented rate.  Accompanying this unprecedented rate of change are expectations for sales people to adapt to the new selling demands.      

Sales simulations allow companies to meet this demand while addressing a classic dilemma: Do you replace your existing sales training with a “better” program? The downside risk is you end up replacing the existing common language with an alternative and confusion rather than improvement is the end result.  Doing nothing and hoping sales people meet their targets isn’t an answer either. Sales simulations represent a third option that allows companies to help their sales teams adjust and adapt their existing skills sets to their buying environment, yet maintain the common sales language in which they already have invested.    

Finally, companies find sales simulations as an ideal alternative to put in place sales training programs that are “sticky.” Simply put, companies seek to decrease the amount of time it takes for participants to translate the principles and best practices learned in the classroom into real performance improvement in the field.  Sales simulations are an effective answer because of their realism and relevance.    

With sales simulations, companies are able to align sales training with business goals, reduce the length of time it takes for sales people to master the knowledge and skills – and minimize time out of the field so the answer to the question in this blog title is: Yes – sales simulations are an idea we think worth considering.    

What has been your experience with sales simulations? To read more about sales simulations, check out other posts on the Sales Training Connection.   

©2011 Sales Horizons, LLC    

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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3 Responses to Is it a good idea to use a sales simulation?

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