Research from the sales enablement platform builder Showpad has suggested that many sales staff are being left dangerously exposed when selling complex or high-value products and services. According to the company’s study, 25 per cent of organisations fail to carry out any kind of training or coaching for these staff. Indeed, only 16 per cent of firms offer the continuous and ongoing training and coaching necessary for sales teams to keep up with the increasingly sophisticated products, services and AI-driven solutions across their industry.
“Organisations today are selling incredibly complex propositions,” commented Iain Masson, director of Sales at Showpad. “If staff are simply being trained when they join the company, or when a new product comes out, they will be taking an ineffective approach – or worse, missing out on deals, upsell or cross-selling opportunities.”
The study revealed a disconnect in how organisations are empowering their sales staff with content, training and coaching (sales enablement) with 51 per cent of organisations admitting that training and coaching was important or crucial but many companies failing to train effectively.
In fact, 65 per cent of companies admitted to using training methods such as lectures, presentations, demos or group discussions, when studies from the NTL Institute have shown that these methods help learners retain 50 per cent of the content at most. Only 16 per cent of sales staff are using highly effective methods, such as learning, then having learners teach others, which results in a 90 per cent information retention rate.
“Sales is a complex role,” concluded Masson. “Although staff will learn from their own experiences, it’s better to share these learnings across the organisation, then track and use analytics to understand the best ways of selling and how to shorten the sales cycle. There is certainly optimism – 79 per cent of staff believe that training and coaching is better than it was five years ago – but it’s crucial to accelerate such sales enablement initiatives if organisations are to make the most of new budgets in the new year.”