Failed Sales Training? Here's your answer.


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Traditional sales training has failed. We know this and it is supported by the ES Research Group which argues that 9 out of 10 sales training fail.

We want to show you why it has failed and what you as sales leaders with our support can execute more profitable sales training programs.

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Failed Sales Training? Here's your answer.

  1. 1. Another failed sales training? A case for a radical approach that challenges traditional dogma. White Paper Kumar Guru Sales Coach Isiddhi (c) 2013 Isiddhi
  2. 2. Meet Adam. He is a Business Development Manager for a large Business Intelligence software company. Recently, his sales results has been disappointing as prospects have preferred competitive vendors.To put things into perspective, over the last 3 months out of 48 fully qualified opportunities, Adam has only converted 9 of them. Adam built trust, asked questions and presented solutions as modus operandi. Unquestionably there is a lost connection in the entire sales process that is impacting his sales outcome.This is a concern for Dave, the company’s sales manager as his other BDMs are also experiencing similar sales losses. Dave invested into sales training to help Adam and his team. 1 month later. Adam still not happy Surprised? We are not. Study by ES Research Group proved 9 out of 10 sales trainings fail1 There is a purpose for introducing Adam and Dave to you in this paper. We wanted to share with you the everyday challenges faced by salespeople and their managers on the field. There are simply far too many Adams out there fighting in the trenches to deliver consistent sales results. As a leader in this subject matter, we argue that businesses by harnessing and deciphering the power of data will prepare their team to tackle the most stalwart sales problems. In addition, results has proven that data in conjoined with predictive analytics has empowered sales management to accurately measure revenue forecast and provide a broader view on sales operations. "Maybe its our pricing that lost the sale” said Adam to Dave (c) 2013 Isiddhi ~
  3. 3. Sales trainings are big business. Why do companies invest significant portions of their budget in sales trainings? Given the 4 variables which one do you think influence your buyer’s decision most? (i) Competitive Price (ii) Quality (iii)Total Solution (iv) Salesperson According to more than 15,000 buyers, by 39% your salesperson wins2 The study above creates a compelling business case to invest in your sales team. However most sales training according to the ES Research study produced disappointing outcome.To come up with a rational explanation, we must first ask ourselves what is the aim of sales training? If increasing sales revenue is your answer, its not entirely correct.The aim of any sales training is to modify your salespeople selling behaviours so that it aligns with your prospects purchasing drivers. What sales behaviours exhibited by Adam prevented him from winning the sale? How would we know this? Ask Adam? A whopping 87% of salespeople DO NOT KNOW the complete story behind prospects’ “NO”3 This is akin to a football post match review where only 2 of your players knew why they lost the game. As a team manager how are you suppose to architect tactical and strategic game plan? As a progressive company, would you cut down your margin based on your salesperson’s assumptions? (c) 2013 Isiddhi ~
  4. 4. Frustrated and bewildered - Dave needed our help. Dave narrated his story. We empathised at first. However to challenge his belief on price being the differentiator, we quipped: Successful sales training is not a two or three day event – it’s a journey. Before embarking on a journey one must capture all relevant information to complete a whole picture as to why sales wereWON and LOST. “Dave, how do you expect to deliver successful sales training without knowing what your prospects and customers said about Adam and your competitors?” “It is price.That’s why we are not winning. I trust Adam’s judgement” said Dave. (c) 2013 Isiddhi ~
  5. 5. How much ascendency would this add to your competitive edge? Could this customer and competitor intelligence add substance to your sales training? What if you could use the data to predict and increase your future sales win? Imagine if you could obtain REAL story as to why your sales team lost and won. (c) 2013 Isiddhi ~
  6. 6. Dave’s reaction is typical of most sales leaders that we’ve collaborated with. Its based on limited information and assumptions. We introduced Dave to our empirical method which is far more rational and scientific – Sales Autopsy™. It is a 3 pronged steps that (a) audits (b) investigate and (c) design workable models to optimize better sales training and forecast. We identified key selling gaps and formulated our own hypothesis: Auditing by joint sales calls with Dave’s salespeople. (i) “Dave’s sales team higher lost ratio was due to sales process focused on price” (ii) “Lack of factual data to identify specific selling gaps caused sales training to fail” (c) 2013 Isiddhi ~ Sales Autopsy™ uses data analytics that confronts current sales training practises.
  7. 7. Successful sport teams intently review their losses and wins. They don’t blame the outcome on assumptions. Their review will include post mortem videos and identifying a pattern that will point out to specifics weakness. This will form as a basis for training and coaching to improve their winning ratio. The BIG Idea: To test the viability of our hypothesis and prove to Dave that sales process was the agent for the losses - we progressed the case. This lead to 2nd stage of Sales Autopsy™ = Investigation Win/Loss Analysis To succeed in sales and business, one must undergo many failures. However you need to have the right attitude about failure. A properly designedWin/Loss Analysis is both hard data driven and narrates a story to answer your losses and wins.The results from such a process will allow you to understand your salespeople and position your sales training to rectify selling gaps. It is a forward looking and strategic approach to your sales training. Your salespeople may know the prospect but do they know what the prospect is thinking ? Why should your sales training be any different? (c) 2013 Isiddhi ~
  8. 8. Why Win/Loss Analysis? Open and honest feedback from your clients and prospects are an absolute gold mine to improve your sales , marketing and product development strategies This vital intelligence provides specific selling behavior trends that are impacting your selling strategies. The breakthrough allows you to yield a more custom-made sales training program. “Win/Loss analysis is the sales strategy answer to militaristic Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol where you penetrated deep inside your enemy’s territory to uncover their strength and weakness.” (c) 2013 Isiddhi ~ Far from being a monolithic marketing surveys. It’s a collection of approaches and techniques that, when systemically applied across a specific set of selling issues, delivers customer and competitor insights.
  9. 9. Our research into 100 B2B Australian companies found only 5% conduct a win/loss analysis but more alarmingly only 13% ever heard of win/loss analysis.3 This is shocking since one win/loss analysis (without any sales training) can increase your sales up to 20% and 50% better sales forecasting accuracy.4 In giving up 20% of your sales revenue you are empowering competition to build their empire at a great speed and in few years you either be dethroned or out of the game. Best sales teams hold their players accountable for continuous improvement. Feedback and intelligence gathering from your prospects and customers is the best way to create a best sales practice ecosystem.This informs to your customers and prosects that you are genuinely in the business of self development. It adds credibility in your next sales cycle. (c) 2013 Isiddhi ~ Companies that incorporated data analytics approach into their sales operations show productive rates 5 to 6 percent higher than those of their peers.
  10. 10. Some of the questions we asked for won accounts: Some of the questions we asked for lost accounts: To unearth credible and definitive picture we undertook surveys (quantitative) and phone interviews (qualitative) for both lost and won accounts. This gave Dave enriched sales intelligence.  Which areas did the wining salesperson did better than ours?  What were the key primary drivers in your decision?  Out of 10 how well did we articulated our value over price?  How did our solution presentation compared to others?  Out of 10 how well did we understood your needs?  What specifically set us apart from the competition?  What specifically did our salesperson do to win your business?  Who were the competitors?  Out of 10 how important was price to your final decision?  Did our marketing message resonated with your needs? (c) 2013 Isiddhi ~
  11. 11. 0 5 10 15 20 25 5 6 13 16 24 19 17 DecisionDrivers% Adam's selling behaviour: Sales Process 0 5 10 15 20 25 15 19 21 22 3 10 10 DecisionDrivers% Expectation from prospects and clients: Sales Process Win/Loss analysis is not just about data. It narrates a story and installs a mindset that puts customer and salespeople at the centre of sales training decision.To maximise the value of this findings we departed from the traditional “looking in the rear- view mirror” to a progressive and analytical approach. (c) 2013 Isiddhi ~
  12. 12. Our recommendation to Dave:  Concentrate on 3 critical influencers that carried the greatest impact on sales: (i) value story, (ii) teaching new insights and (iii) understanding prospects’ need.  Create a sales training action plan that focuses on these selling gaps.  Formulate predictive analytics to accurately measure win ratio if one of the sales process were improved (eg: increase of your value story from 5% to 15% will increase win ratio by 8.5%).  SWOT analysis as a strategic blueprint to evaluate competitive disadvantage and long term selling sustainability.  Design teaching methodologies that reinforces superior learning aptitude. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” Albert Einstein (c) 2013 Isiddhi ~
  13. 13. The 3 pronged actions provided Adam with: Customised sales training by Dave improved Adam’s selling effectiveness. Instead of worrying about price,Adam focused on: Superior sales toolbox  Articulating a value story that educated his prospects and encouraged a very early “buy in” to engage.  Taught prospects business insights that built compelling business case.  He not only asked more questions but asked better and challenging questions which set him apart from validating salespeople  Competitor Intelligence provided him with better judgement and intuition to strategically attribute his solution capabilities.  Presented compelling solutions that focused primarily on key business problems and goals. (c) 2013 Isiddhi ~ How do we benchmark our Sales Autopsy ™?
  14. 14. Adam is consistently converting opportunities to sales and is happy again. Sales Autopsy™ has given Dave a new perspective on sales training and stronger game plan. Final Outcome?  Increased in sales per employee and better sales conversion.  Adopted a culture and philosophy that embraced business improvement and good change or “kaizen”.  Better understanding of competitive landscape and played with an eagle’s-eye view.  Stronger alliance with sales training and sales forecast.  Well planned and executed sales training that produced intended outcome. (c) 2013 Isiddhi ~
  15. 15. When Dave approached us for guidance, his sales improvement process was colonized by forces of inertia. He needed an extrinsic methodological approach to act as an agent that both confronted and disrupted his status quo. However when we introduced our Sales Autopsy™ to re-engineer the current process, Dave was highly sceptical. We welcomed his reaction. History has taught us that any new radically challenging doctrine will be opposed at first. It takes courage to embrace innovation and the best channel to encourage such a process is through logical reasoning discourse. We knew that by conditional reasoning that breed facts, evidence and payoffs will resonate with Dave. This inspired him in accepting a unique and challenging approach to sales improvement process. Through critically auditing his sales team on the field, analysing customer and competitor intelligence and rendering the information to a custom-built sales training, galvanised Dave’s sales team to greater selling heights. In addition, our predictive analytics provided Dave with a sharpened sales forecast aptitude. In other words, Dave knew his destination however he needed an accurate travel time, map and a vehicle. Sales training should not be looked as a knee jerk reaction to falling sales revenues or inadequate sales team performance. It must be included as part of your mantra for a Business Best Practise. As prescribed, the guiding principal of any sales training is to modify selling behaviours. To diagnose its symptoms and identify specific antinode you must undertake an investigative approach. Traditional sales training that delivers canned programs without scientific nous will not deliver much value as proven by ES Research Group. However a systematic steps of creating a hypothesis and testing it with advanced apparatus will deliver a much desired outcome. c) 2013 Isiddhi ~ “What’s in it for me?” “Hiding from facts will lead you to failure- eventually truth will come out. You must not fear facts. Hunt for them Use them Don’t fear them.”
  16. 16. About ISIDDHI In late 2012, before launching our consulting and training services, we studied the current ecosystem in sales training.We discovered most sales trainings were presented as off the shelf programs that failed to specifically identify key selling gaps.Companies that subscribed to their programs experienced short term improvement but this euphoria ended few weeks later. We questioned this approach and our curiosity lead us to undertake extensive research to solve the puzzle of failed sales trainings. Our study lead us to uncover fundamental flaws in the current sales training programs. It failed to acknowledge the importance of cold hard data, behavioural and cognitive science.We knew from our research that event based sales trainings (eg 1 or 2 days sales training) without intelligence and reinforcement would be a failed doctrine.These insights lead us to postulate that sales trainings needed a different approach to be rewarding. It needed a complete new way of thinking that embodied innovation and dissent that aimed to upset the status quo. We decided to take the bold step in not only challenging but also redefining sales training DNA. Our paradigm shift focused on intelligence (win/loss analysis) and scientific teaching approach (weekly sales training/coaching) that strengthened the business case for sales training.We than added an extra dimension that was lacking in today’s sales training – accurate sales forecast. To increase sales training ROI we integratedAustralia’s first and only world-class predictive analytics into sales forecasting. SalesAutopsy™ which is a forward looking approach.This now has become the standardised benchmark for successful sales trainings. As a testing laboratory we applied our methodology to a mid-size IT firm which:  Uncovered the truth behind sales losses  Empowered selling accountability from sales team  Increased sales training ROI through tailored contents  Captured competitor intelligence that lead to better value and marketing positioning  Enforced proactive sales coaching that increased top line revenue by 27% Our guidance lead not only to an incredible organic growth but also smarter use of their investment programs. Contact us to learn how we can help you improve your sales results. Call 0481 310 033 (c) 2013 Isiddhi ~ “Getting started on a successful data and analytics journey is a complex challenge for businesses and they often struggle for a clear strategies that ties data and analytics to improved sales performance. Let our experience and expertise guide you towards myriad of “aha” moments.”
  17. 17. Endnotes 1David Stein. SalesTraining:The 120-Day Curse (ES Research Group, 2011) 3Howard Stevens (Chairman and CEO of Chally Group). Achieve Sales Excellence: The 7 Customer Rules For BecomingThe New Sales Professional (MA: Platinum Press 2007). 4 Guru, Kumar “Study into B2B Win/Loss Analysis Implementation in Australia”. Isiddhi. 26 June 2013 . 5Allision. W. Roger. “Sales Cycle Analytics”. attention/. Sales Cycle Analytics™. Accessed online. 15 August 2014. (c) 2013 Isiddhi ~ 2Schroder, R. “From a Good Sales Call to a Great Sales Call” (McGraw-Hill, 2011