Disrupting Sales Training: A New Dawn in Personalized Learning

By Joe Wikert, President, Revenue Path Group
An empty classroom with sunlight shining through.

Traditional sales training methodologies, which have remained unchanged for decades, are on the brink of obsolescence. Your current approach could be putting your sellers at a disadvantage, and the way you develop them might be causing them to fall even further behind.

With prospect access ever more limited, commoditization rampant, and seller influence minimized, one must wonder about the value of today’s seller. What does the future look like when artificial intelligence (AI) assists buyers who already have a clear idea of what they want? Sellers will survive – but only certain types.

We have entered a new paradigm where seller success is rooted in creating and winning margin, not simply making a sale. Larger-margin deals occur when the seller initiates the process before the prospect begins shopping; however, traditional seller training methods typically do not adequately prepare sellers for this earlier stage in the buyer journey. Most training programs are built on an outdated chassis – positioning and training sellers for battles where there is little to no margin left. This shift, which will create new winners and losers, will drive the biggest reskilling and upskilling of sellers we have ever seen.

The imminent revolution in seller development, powered by AI, heralds a future where training is personalized, seamless and always on. Redeveloping sellers to seek margin – plus the needed skills to sell in a much different world – requires more effort than allowed by traditional training methods. In the future, learning will happen continuously and informally through conversational interactions with AI-powered tools tailored to each seller’s strengths and weaknesses. This approach moves away from traditional classroom settings, where much of the learning is often forgotten or inadequately reinforced.

A New Approach: Integrating Methodology, Skills, and Organizational Insights

The next generation of sales training breaks away from the conventional, adopting a comprehensive approach that uses three elements: modern sales methodologies, individual skills assessments, and deep organizational insights. This innovative model will be built with AI and deliver infinite, just-in-time personalized training opportunities that adapt to the evolving needs of each sales professional. By tackling the forgetting curve with continuous individualized reinforcement and using a company-specific knowledge base, this approach ensures sales professionals are always at their peak.

Beyond the Procurement Phase: A Shift in Focus

Clinging to training that focuses solely on the late-stage procurement phase – characterized by a race to the bottom on pricing – is akin to preparing for a battle already lost. The future of sales training lies in preparing sellers not just to close deals but to forge and sustain value-driven relationships with clients. This shift from a transactional to a strategic focus on margin creation requires a fresh look at how sales professionals are trained. The goal is to develop sellers who can engage with clients at a higher level from the outset – aligning sales strategies with the broader aim of margin creation.

The Future Is Now: Rethinking Sales Training for Tomorrow’s Market

The disruption awaiting traditional sales training methodologies is inevitable. As technology continues to advance, the opportunity for personalized, adaptive, always-accessible learning becomes not just a possibility but a necessity. The future of sales training, with its emphasis on margin creation and individualized development, promises to equip sales professionals with the speed, skills, and strategies needed to outpace competitors and stay relevant with prospects. This shift from a one-size-fits-all approach to a more tailored, strategic model of sales training will ensure that sales professionals are not merely trained but are truly developed to confront the challenges and seize the opportunities of the new sales frontier.