Fortunately, it's a busy time for us at ESR. Right now, we're providing advice and guidance to a number of companies that are actively evaluating strategies and solutions for sales performance improvement, but based on the economy, the state of the sales training industry, and the mistakes they've made in the past, have to finally get it right. We're learning a lot about what's really going on out there in sales performance improvement-from the buy-side and the sell-side.
There is a lot going on in the sales training industry, but a lot of it isn't sales training. As they continue to see the demand for traditional classroom-based training falling off the cliff, some training firms are scrambling to get their content online. Some are taking shortcuts. Others are going about it the right way. Even during these challenging times.
We know of several very large corporations that have announced internally that they will offer no more classroom sales training. Numbers of other large and mid-size buyers of sales training are moving in this direction. I don't have to spell out what that means for training company owners that have been drawing tons of cash out of their companies during the past number of years instead of investing in new content and new delivery media. Can they make up for lost time? Some will and some won't. We're predicting the acquisition or demise of several of the 23 training companies we cover. In fact, numbers of training companies, large and small, are in a bad situation right now. Names you'd recognize. For many of them, it's going to get worse before it gets better-if it gets better.
On the subject of shortcuts, it's disappointing to see that "free" sales tips, tricks, and silver bullets continue to appear in dozens of blogs and websites every day. The very salesreps and managers that seek out these tips are the ones that are hurt most by them. They need structure and a strategic approach for selling their products and services to their customers. When you think about it, these sales tips aren't really free at all. They cost money. A lot of it, in the form of lost business opportunity-deals those reps will never win because they are seeking shortcuts and shortcuts don't work in sales.
In addition to the free sales tips promising to help your reps win, there are other distractions as well. Social media is one. ESR published some research on that last quarter. We know that for some companies, social media, integrated within an overall internal and external communications approach can be very powerful. It can build awareness, drive business, and improve customer and employee satisfaction. As with sales tips though, a tactical, seat-of-the-pants approach takes salespeople and their managers' eyes off the ball. For many, the promise of social media is an little more than mirage. When you finally get there, you're thirstier than when you started.
Sales 2.0 is another area of potential risk for sales leaders seeking quick solutions and shortcuts to their selling challenges. Sales 2.0-like, vendor- and press-driven "new, more efficient and more effective ways of doing business" have a way of attracting those seeking shortcuts. In fact, some of the marketing messages I've seen specifically target the ever-hopeful, quick-solution-seeking sales leader. Again, I've got no complaints with companies that are marketing legitimate Sales 2.0 tools and approaches and are sharing with their customers the truth about what those applications will and will not do and the proven path to get results. I'm offended by the tidal wave of hype advanced by some who would drive a sales-challenged company in the wrong direction just to make a sale. SiriusDecisions' Joe Galvin shared a piece he did on the subject of Sales 2.0. If you can get a copy, it's well worth the read. With his background at Gartner, and a deep understanding of sales leadership, Joe's got a terrific perspective on the subject.
I want to hear about more companies that are making forward progress doing the right things. There are a lot of others out there who can use some additional encouragement.
Link to original post