I believe that inside sales training should take a very tactical approach to improving sales performance.
Most sales training programs are driven by pre-developed content. Content developed from a particular “viewpoint” and aimed at a specific facet of selling.
For example, a program might be focused on “cold calling,” another on handling objections, or territory management. Another may focus on developing customer needs or managing the key decision makers.
The subject isn’t important. As all of these subjects have value.
And that is the point.
When you pick a training company you get a program aimed at “their” viewpoint or target in selling, NOT (directly anyway) at your salespeople.
The program by definition must be a “sliver” of what your salespeople do. They may have multiple programs aimed at different subjects, but each is a sliver and to get the results you need you’ll have to buy them all.
I personally don’t believe this is the best approach. The typical inside sales training program will improve one area of the team’s selling skills or activities and pretty much if not completely ignore the rest. This is not an effective model.
The question one must ask is: “Is that ‘sliver’ the most needed and valuable set of skills for your team?”
Or the better question: “Why do a sliver at all? Why not do what the salespeople need, whatever facet or facets of selling that may be?
Though the trainer may tell you this is the most important thing, the only way you really know is to listen to numerous calls made by the sales team and find out.
My experience, work, and research over the last 25 years reveals that most inside sales reps have weaknesses across the board.
And improving one sliver is not an effective way to address the issue.
The weaknesses tend to be common errors such as poor delivery, failing to qualify, the use of non-optimum communication, failure to engage the prospect before starting to sell, failure to close, failure to ask key questions, and many more.
There is also a systemic problem in most inside sales organizations. The best known selling practices for the sale have not trickled down to the sales team. In other words, what the top management and superstar salespeople know about selling the product or service is likely unknown to the core of the sales team.
This can be easily tested by the way. Simply ask the top sales executive and CEO of the company what are the three most important factors affecting the success of the sale?
Then ask the sales team members the same question. You’ll be lucky if anyone gets the same answers or even matches one of them.
These facts have led me to conclude that the best sales training methodology is one that starts with the errors and mistakes being made, rather than a fixed set of sales course materials.
If you focus the training on the actual strategic and tactical mistakes occurring on the phone, you get a much more effective program. You also get immediate and visible results.
I have personally practiced this approach for over 25 years and gotten remarkable success.