Some aspects of sales training are easy to measure others not so, but it is a fair question when I am asked what they can expect from an ROI standpoint. For some of the more difficult to measure situation elements, I try to quantify things a bit differently. My experience has been that about 25% of the team will jump all over it, implement it, and see exceptional improvement in the way they do things, and their results after a sales cycle or two; that lift alone usually will cover the cost of the program. The middle 50% will see a measurable and sustained lift if their managers continues to be proactive, and we help them with that through the Follow-Through Action Plan. I then tell them that the last 25%, and they know who they are, will get nothing out of it except a free lunch.
While they always appreciate my honesty when I am asked, most are shocked when I tell them that there is no need or reason to have those people attend, often they are just a distraction for those who do want to learn and improve.
Some nod as if to agree, and then they send the deadwood anyway. Why?
I always say there is no need for democracy or equality when it comes to sales training, why should a company or leader waste time and money on someone they know will not produce any returns, and whose time is usually limited.
Companies have shown selectivity with other training or development programs. Even within sales organizations, we see different development tracks organized for high potential individuals, so why not extend that logic to sales training.
Most VP’s I work with know who is who, and where they sit in the group. Many do a great job segmenting their teams into A, B, and C players. The key function with the C’s is to manage them out, so why train them? I know some feel this is harsh, I remember the feedback I got when I suggested getting rid of C players in the past. Not only do I think that isolating the C’s is a start, I think you can have a debate about how to handle the B’s, I do support the view that the focus should be on the A’s only; but I can buy the rational for including the B’s.
Everyone in sales seems to buy into the old 80/20 rule, if you do, ask yourself how negatively your sales would be impacted by getting rid of the C players, not much if any. What if you got rid of the bottom half of you B’s? Probably not devastating, especially if you replace a few with B+ or A reps. Now if you did that, and did that every year, you would end up with a killer sales force. Not only will you continuously improve sales, but attract much better sales people, as they look for an environment where their talents are appreciated, where they are not ignored because their manager is preoccupied with sales people who will never make it anyways, the C players. Given that, why train them?
I know some people don’t like to hear this, they would rather sit in the board room, hold hands and sing Kumbaya, feels good, but doesn’t do much to bring in sales or get rid of the C’s.
You measure ROI on other investments; you pass on the ones that don’t show any returns, so why not when it comes to training, forget the C’s and see a 25% improvement right out of the gate.
What’s in Your Pipeline?