Debunking Five Common Sales Training Myths

By Alex Kaye, Revenue Operations Expert, Rose Garden Consulting

For as long as one can remember, sales training has been the ultimate prescription for below-par performance and dried-up pipelines. However, a number of malpractices and over-promises are often delivered in the name of sales training.

According to Forbes, 55% of salespeople lack basic sales skills today. Given that many sales organizations already opt for sales training frequently, this clearly indicates that something within the present-day training environment is amiss.

In this article, we will debunk a few common myths related to sales training, so sales leaders can make more informed decisions moving forward.

Myth #1: Sales Training and Sales Enablement Are One and the Same
The very first (and often most misunderstood) myth on this list is that sales training and sales enablement happen to be the same.

To understand how this isn’t the case, think of sales enablement as a tricycle. While one of its wheels is supported by buyer/seller activities and sales processes, another wheel is firmly supported with enhancement of the requisite skills and efficacious selling techniques. The third wheel is supported by value messaging, where sales are sanctioned with captivating solution value propositions around which an entire organization has aligned.

Sales training is only one of the many elements that take a seat on this tricycle – helping salespeople implement and embrace each of these three components of enablement. There are many other odds and ends that go into sustaining overall revenue streams within an enterprise.

Myth #2: A Single Sales Training Session Will Be Enough
The next myth that is about to get busted is that a single session of sales training is enough.

As with every other profession, practice makes perfect. Salespeople are no different. Sales leaders shouldn’t neglect the fact that having frontline sales managers coach their sales team – not just during a single training session, but in an ongoing manner – can work wonders for their organization.

Every sales organization should require its training staff to allocate appropriate time for effective coaching to enhance and reinforce the training, as well as rehearse the professionals’ use of the tools and skills of their craft, especially in the areas where they have weaknesses – known and unknown.

Sales leaders should seek continual improvement to enhance the sales team’s performance and make sure the organization stays ahead of its competitors.

Myth #3: Training Will Enable Your Teams’ Sustainable Revenue Performance
Oftentimes, when sales organizations fail to fulfill their quotas, salespeople are the first to get blamed. In such cases, sales training is usually prescribed as the fix.

Although sales training can usually effectively mend parched sales pipelines and cycles, it hardly ever fixes underlying issues. Too often, sales training is void of any value here since it cannot mend misalignment between the marketing, sales, and product teams. In any case, it really cannot assure sustainable revenue performance.

It is critical that sales leaders understand training is only a small part of effective sales enablement, and it, therefore, cannot promise any magical cures to a disappointing previous year in revenue or a clogged pipeline. Any sales training provider who promises you that much from their training alone is either not serving or is trying to oversell.

Myth #4: Our Industry Is Unique, So Generic Sales Training Won’t Work
Next in line is the common myth that generic sales training will not work across different industries within sales itself.

The sales niche certainly is unique. Notwithstanding the industry you’re in, however, training can greatly enhance results when the program is tailored to suit the needs of a particular industry and its target audience.

Experienced sales coaches will make sure they listen to your team’s distinctive situation and will furnish insight on the basis of what they’ve learned from interacting with other salespeople in and out of your industry.

An experienced sales coach will work with you and your team to recognize sales techniques and growth opportunities that would be most beneficial for your business. Therefore, it wouldn’t be wrong to say there’s no such thing as a generic module when you’re invested in the right sales training.

Myth #5: The Training Isn’t Going to Be Worth the Cost
The best part about this last myth on our list is that the exact opposite happens to be true. Time and again, various studies have proven companies that invest in training see better ROI.

Think of it this way: When you invest in your team’s development and learning, you are investing in yourself by providing resources to help you do your job more efficiently. This results in increased confidence and knowledge, which ultimately leads to closing more deals.

You can also avoid spending more money on live workshop training by seeking out alternative options to deliver a blended experience combining offline and online activities.

While it may seem more expensive in the beginning, investing in a customized sales training approach translates into spending fewer days out of the office, better training results due to a tailored experience, and a better return on your sales training investment.

Lastly, don’t believe something until you experience it firsthand. Sales being a vast industry, every organization’s experience is going to be different from the other. Trust your instincts and invest in a training plan you think is going to be best for your team.

You can also ask for input and collect feedback from every single member on your team. After all, an organization can be successful only if its employees are completely invested in their own growth and development.

Alex Kaye is a veteran revenue operations expert at Rose Garden Consulting, with over a decade of experience helping companies achieve sustainable growth.