It costs money to hire and train salespeople. That’s why it’s important to choose candidates with the skills and talent to succeed in sales. Salespeople who do not perform as expected lose companies money. High rates of turnover cost companies more money. Small businesses and large companies alike can profit by training their salespeople. The investment of time and money may be small compared to the long-term outcome.
Types of Sales Training
Not all types of sales training are the same. Training may target a salesperson’s communication skills, sales skills, knowledge about the product or industry, sales strategies or sales tools. Learning proper sales techniques can improve a salesperson’s general effectiveness on the job. Successful sales training programs are designed to instruct salespeople how to achieve measurable performance objectives.
Training Costs as an Investment
Although some employers choose to conduct sales training themselves to save money, hiring a professional sales training organization may get better results. Ineffective sales personnel can cost a company its competitive edge and hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost sales opportunities. Sales training programs cost anywhere from $50 to $200 for a half-day seminar to $1,500 for a three-day workshop off-site, according to Leanne Hoagland-Smith, small business columnist and sales coach. Onsite weekly training sessions over a period of 10 to 12 weeks can cost $2,000 or more but generally earn a company more sales revenue in the long run.
The primary cost associated with training is the time the person does not spend selling. One way to reduce the loss of revenue to a company during training time is to maximize the amount of time an employee spends training. Employers often do better to focus training on the specific skills an employee lacks. This usually involves a fewer number of days in training. Another method for improving a new employee’s sales performance is to follow up a few weeks later with some reinforcement training. Salespeople can forget 80 to 90 percent of what they learned in training within a month without review, according to the Sales Alliance Inc.
Sales training is a worthwhile expense for employers. Better-trained employees can boost productivity and sales. The findings of a study conducted by the American Society for Training and Development show that employees who receive sales training and reinforcement earn 50 percent more in net sales. This results in higher gross profits for the company. Top-earning sales companies spend about 6 percent of payroll costs on training and continued education for employees.