Is Traditional Sales Training a Thing of the Past?

Is Traditional Sales Training a Thing of the Past?

By Peter Heredia Managing Director

Peter has been involved with sales for over 2 decades, dealing with multiple industries and diverse sales team cultures. He knows how to get the best out of any sales team and has the experience and results to back it up.


Over the last decade or more, I have really lost the appetite for the traditional sales training – two or three-day course. Typically, you sign up and attend a program where you learn some amazing techniques and tips, but then go back to the way you were doing things before and forget them entirely. I look at sales training agenda’s now, offered by sales training company in Dubai and see the most wonderful topics crammed into a short space of time, but is the attendee really going to understand ANY subject in such a short space of time? let alone all of them and more importantly will they ever apply any of what they have learned?

Training shouldn’t be focused on learning, it’s should be about changing behaviors. You want your staff to improve right? If they learn something and don’t apply what they have learned – how useful is that? Yes, they may mark the training programme highly, they are still enthusiastic, the momentum may be strong, but it doesn’t mean anything will be applied, even in the short term.

Psychologists will tell you that it is very difficult to change a person’s behavior when they have become an adult. I would multiply the difficulty by ten when you are dealing with sales people. They do a lonely job, they have probably received little feedback over the years and will have developed their way of doing things. Do you think they will be motivated to change the way they do things just by listening to somebody spout at them for 2 or 3 days?

Just to explain what I mean by ‘listening’ to somebody. If you are going to attend a sales training program that has more than 8 subjects (even less really, but some have over 20), it is not going to be interactive and you really are going to spend all the time listening (being told) how it should be done. Most adults don’t like this! Now there is even less chance of applying what has been presented.

I can’t think of any reason that anybody would want to attend a sales training, (or put others through sales training), other than to increase performance and increase revenue results. So, if this is what you are after….. going that little bit further and engaging in a program that will produce results where you can see the changes evolve makes absolute sense.

Here are some key reasons why a Sales Improvement/Development Program (SIP) runs over a period of time blows Sales Training out of the water and probably cost less too.

  • Sales people are different. They will find more value in some subjects than others. A few may dismiss a key subject that is key to them. Sales Training is providing the same to all whereby a SIP (Sales Improvement Program) allows everyone to take a subject on board and develop it.
  • The subjects need to be related to your own business. Most sales training is quite generic and therefore it gives the sales person an option to switch off. Every learning exercise in a SIP is related to what they do, day in and day out, which keeps them engaged. Just think for a moment how critical it is to have your teams genuinely engaged during the sessions!
  • What happens after the sales training? Two or three days of learning is not going to be applied as soon as the team get back to work. This is probably the biggest concern and failing when it comes to traditional sales training. Yes, there may be sales training enforcement in some cases, but it seldom, if ever, involves somebody working in alignment with the business, helping make things happen. How a SIP works is that a day’s workshop has two half days follow up sessions over an 8-week period to ensure that what comes out of the learning day is embedded into the business. Then the next workshop takes place and the same procedure is followed.
  • Most sales training is about Selling Skills, as it is the easiest part to deliver in a classroom. However, Selling Skills is about being in front of the client and a sales person must also be more effective in other key areas of their role that are more related to Activity. How do they find their target customers? How are they managing their pipelines? How do they look after their clients? How are they convincing clients to meet with them? How are they planning their day? How can they be more focused on Proactive tasks than reactive task? And many many more. A SIP looks at developing the whole Sales Person in order to develop and generate more revenue. Not just two days in a classroom with a nice lunch and then going back to doing what they were doing before.
  • The facilitator in a training program needs to know his materials and use preplanned elements to get the message across. His expertise is in delivering the material, with many sales training facilitators also delivering finance, customer service, purchasing or HR training. The facilitator in a SIP needs to understand sales, sales people, sales strategies, and leadership. They need to adapt to every program as this is the only way to achieve fantastic results that truly change a salespersons behavior for the better. With a SIP they must be sales focused and have years and years of experience to adapt every time.
  • Sales Training is 95% of the time off the shelf. There are slides and workbooks that the majority of sales people will go through. With a SIP nothing is prepared until a full analysis is completed so that the industry is understood and the areas that will have the best results are identified and agreed upon. Then the program is developed.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of Sales training in a SIP, but the learning is delivered through interactive workshops where attendees develop their own ideas and conclusions which naturally means there is a much greater chance of them being applied. Only best sales training company in Dubai can provide customised solutions for all your sales training needs.

So, when you are considering investing any money at all on developing your sales team make sure you spend it wisely on what will have a true long-term impact on performance. If you want to really change the behavior and performance of your salespeople, then the only way to do it is through a programme aimed at doing just that.

Talk to us about various Sales Improvement/Development Programs (SIP) today and know what we can do for your sales training requirements.