The Training meeting had ended. Like so many sessions before, it was billed as sales training when in fact it had been product training. Lots of materials had been shared to show the enhancements to the product. There were several shiny new bells and whistles, none of which me or my colleagues had ever been asked for by a customer. We were assured that these new features were in the best interest of the customer and the best part was we could charge for them. What was even greater was we were being told we could earn lots of commission selling them. The trouble with all of this was there was not a shred of tactical sales strategy given to us, to help us with that process. Sound familiar to you?
As I talk to fellow sales professionals across the country, I hear countless stories like this where their organizations confuse Product training with Sales Training. Where they confuse CRM Training with Sales Training. In Product Training, features and benefits are discussed and we know that features tell and benefits sell, but not alone and by themselves. They usually require an individual to put their spin on the benefit in a way that brings that to life for the customer or prospect. That successful spin might involve a story or an anecdote and should be delivered with enthusiasm and knowledge. This is where tactical sales training comes in, that is separate and distinct from all other trainings that involve salespeople. Just because you involve a salesperson in a training session does not make it a sales training session unless you are talking about how to sell what you are selling.
Thinking more about my career and the sales training I had received, I thought back as to how many sessions I took that were actually conducted by salespeople themselves. The more I thought, the fewer I could recall. The sessions were normally conducted by someone that was from Sales Enablement or Sales Support or the Sales Training Department. These were usually very nice people but had never worked in the field or sold the product they were speaking about. Sure, they could whip up a fancy 25-page presentation with the latest graphics and information, but their trainings never had an ounce of tactical sales strategy. I began to think if this was like this at my former firm, might it be that way at others? And if it is, how many salespeople are starving for Tactical Sales training, that could actually help them sell their products. And do their organizations even know this is an issue?