Although no one in the learning and development field would like to believe it, there are some things that are incredibly difficult to teach. Empathy, for example, comes to mind. As does quantum physics. And according to a new report, sales training should be added to that list.
An independent report by ES Research Group (ESR) reveals that 90 percent of all sales training programs conducted for corporations result only in a 90-to-120-day increase in sales productivity and, as a result, fewer than 20 percent of companies realize any sustainable productivity gain that lasts beyond 12 months. These and other findings are contained in the 2006 ESR Sales Training Vendor Guide. ESR, publisher of the 2006 Guide, is an advisory firm on sales effectiveness programs and an independent authority on assessing the performance of sales training organizations.
According to Dave Stein, founder and chief executive officer of ES Research Group Inc., many sales training programs offer short-term results, but fail to deliver over the long term.
“With sales officers spending billions each year on third-party sales training programs, it is critical to know which external provider is the best match to meet your internal needs and goals,” Stein said. “In speaking with sales vice presidents and managers across the country, we discovered that the vast majority of sales training programs produce an immediate increase in a company’s sales productivity, however, fewer than 20 percent show any sustainable productivity beyond the first year. This is worrisome.”
Some of the key findings in the 2006 Guide indicate that:
- Sales is the one specific area where most companies under-perform in their use of technology.
- The primary objective of sales training is to effect organizational change and that sales training is of little use without an underlying methodology
- Projecting the return on investment is a critical requirement for sales officers to secure funding for performance improvement initiatives.
“Not all training programs are created equal, which served as the genesis for creating the guide,” said Al Case, group principal analyst at ESR and a former Gartner executive. “In fact, we learned that most companies retain multiple training providers because they know that finding the right fit is difficult and crucial to their business success and return on investment.”
The ESR 2006 Guide is the result of 12 months of extensive industry research, one-on-one personal interviews with CEOs of sales training organizations, corporations, sales industry executives and public information.
For more information, see http://www.esresearch.com.