American corporations spend $7.2 billion* every year on sales processes, account management sills, negotiation and opportunity management training. That's an average of $347,000 per company, according to SellingPower. But there is little information available on whether or not those investing the money are achieving a return on their investment that's at least equal to -- if not better than -- their cost of capital.
In our "Enable Your Growth Strategy" research paper done in conjunction with SellingPower and the Professional Society for Sales and Marketing Training, we talked about "flavor of the month" training, and the opposite end of the spectrum; where a training initiative has become "deeply embedded into the DNA of the organization.
Most organizations view training initiatives as a "linear" sequence of events. Another item to mark off on a checklist. Unfortunately, this perspective fails to address the interconnectedness between the process of selling and the process of negotiating. Negotiating doesn't just come at the end of the selling process.
Let's look at sales and negotiation training for a 300 person sales force. In the traditional approach, the participants would go through sales training and then return for negotiation training. This could take up to 16 months to complete.
In an integrated approach to installing competencies and problem solving, that same sales force of 300 was categorized into A, B and C players. Cold calling and lead generation training was conducted first followed within one month by the start of a combination opportunity management / strategic negotiation workshop. Within 8 months, 100% of the A and 50% of the B players were trained on the total solution -- and using it in their day-to-day activities.
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* - Journal of Personal Selling Summer 2005