How well are your sales team prepared to sell?
Many people in Business Development have spent four or more years at various colleges or formal education centers to gain degrees or equivalent. Then through a various set of circumstances have end up in a Business Development role.
I remember my move to Business Development well. At the time I was running a small training department where I had about six years of experience. The Business Development Manager came to see me on a Friday afternoon and basically told me that with my military background and product knowledge, it had been agreed between him, the Managing Director, and my boss that I was moving into a sales role, starting on Monday. On the Monday, I was given three ongoing pursuits to win and provided zero training. Talk about being thrown in at the deep end.
Over time, I have found that my experience isn’t that unusual, as many people are in Business Development roles, due to a set of circumstances, with little or no training on how to sell. Many do what I did and self-teach, learning some through the “school of hard knocks”, some through reading books and some through what I had observed in the past.
After several years and once I became responsible for the Sales organization, I wasn’t prepared to let this self-learning to continue. Therefore, I implemented a sales training program to train my team on complex selling skills and what was important in how we interacted with our clients. I did this as I wasn’t prepared to just “hope” that my team had self-developed the right skills. I wanted to drive some consistency in how we interacted with our clients, have a common vocabulary, and focus on our unique value propositions.
For many this was the only formal selling skills training they had ever done. Many had learnt from the other side of the desk being customers both the good and the bad experiences.
So, think about your team and ask yourself how well are they prepared to sell?