Training Doesn’t Work: Sales Teams Need Dedicated Strength Coaches

by Jenna Sindle

This article was originally published on EDGE 360, a digital publication designed to educate solution providers on the latest trends and issues that will give them the edge in their business.

To transform sales force performance, you must have individuals dedicated to working with and showing the sales force how to actually do it, as opposed to just training them in sales methodology, according to David McNicholas, Director of Comstor’s U.S. Strategic Business Development, who spoke with EDGE360 in a recent interview.

Training doesn’t work, according to McNicholas, because even companies with sales professionals who have the best intentions, there is only about a 10 – 20 percent “stick rate” to the training/sales methodologies.

“They have every intention of implementing what they have learned, but they don’t know what to do with it in practice or in the field,” McNicholas explains. “Whether it is solution selling, Miller Hyman strategic selling, spin selling, customer centric selling or another method, people understand it, but a whole myriad of issues take place.

“For example, it’s usually not super specific to the company that is trying to implement it,” he explains. “What happens is the sales person goes to that training, gets excited and then gets back to work and thinks, ‘Wait a minute, I have to customize this for the business that I’m in.’ They think they bought the Statue of David and what they got sold was a huge cube of clay and some sculpting materials.”

Typically, what happens is there is not time to customize the methodology, so it is never implemented. In the cases where there is time, they still need someone to show them how to make it work in the field

McNicholas says there is a significant need in the value-added reseller (VAR) industry for a new functional role – the Vice President of Sales Transformation and Performance. That role would not only oversee education and training, but also would spend the majority of time going into the field with the sales people and showing them how to implement the training and how to help the end customers set strategy.

Most organizations will tell you, “Oh, that’s what my VP of sales is, that’s what my sales leadership is,” according to McNicholas, but the reality is that 80 percent of their time is spent on anything and everything except being in front of customers. They must deal with HR issues, set forecasts, deal with hiring and firing and put out customer fires.

To make true change, McNicholas says you need a strength coach, who will go out in the field with the sales force, evaluate performance and help make better players for you.

Hear his advice on what the position looks like, how it should work and how it can transform your VAR business in his podcast.