A woman came up to me at the conclusion of a panel discussion I participated in this week at the ASTD conference. I was in a hurry to get to the airport to catch a plane, so I asked if she'd walk me through the convention center to the entrance, where I would find a taxi.
On the way, she related this story: She works for a Fortune 100 company. Household name. Another division had engaged with ESR in the past to assist them in finding a sales performance improvement provider. They found the right firm for the right reasons. A success for the client, the client's customers, the vendor and for ESR. That was several years ago.
Her division went down a different path. They had invested in an earlier edition of ESR's Sales Training Vendor Guide. "Great report," she said to me, "but we wound up choosing a vendor that wasn't in your report." (That's not the first time that has happened, so I wasn't too surprised. Even though companies sometimes wind up selecting vendors not included in our report, they tell us that reading the report and understanding how we evaluate vendors enables them to make much more informed decisions.)
What she told me next was painful to listen to. The training approach her division took puts them into the category of the 85% of sales training that doesn't have any impact after 90 days.
"Did you ever hear of," and she mentioned the name of a very well-known trainer, author, and speaker. "Of course," I said. She said, "All that you said during your presentation about methodology coming first... It was in your report as well. We didn't do any of that. We just did the training, and now things are really, really messed up. We've got no process. It's a mess."
I know this trainer. All tips, silver bullets and shortcuts. I don't think the word strategy ever entered their mind. No foundation building. Just a charismatic presenter with some slick, worthless content.
Where does the responsibility lie? The trainer who knows better, but doesn' t care, so long as they get paid? The VP of sales, who wasn't interested in doing things the right way, even after it was presented to them? The executive who hired the VP of sales? The training director (to whom this woman reports) who couldn't or wouldn't fight to prevent this situation from happening?
I feel for this woman. She is really frustrated. My frustration is that this happens all the time. When is this insanity going to end?
Photo credit: RCSTANLEY
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