How to choose the right sales training program for your team
By now, you've probably Googled and discovered that there is a plethora of options for everything from a large sales training company to a stand-alone businessman.
I would suggest that you hire someone who can demonstrate that they have been there, done that. They do not necessarily have to have experience in your industry, but they should be able to demonstrate that they have the right sales pedigree. Look in: Their personal sales history; where he worked; who advised him; If they have management experience; And how long were they in sales before they got into training. Ask about their teaching credentials.
You'll also want to know which companies make up their current customer lists; This will tell you a lot about your candidate. And find out if their sales philosophy matches what you want your sales force to emulate. They should also be able to demonstrate that they stay current with what is happening on the sales-education front. This will be evident in the courses they have recently taken, the current books or articles they have read and the last time they updated their course material.
Remember, the best players don't always make the best coaches. Whoever you choose should have excellent presentation skills and the ability to garner respect, from the most junior to the most experienced person on your team. The best way to assess this is by attending one of their sessions. If this is not possible, ask to watch the video. You can also ask for a reference or two, but beware of dubious references.
The one you hire should be able to grow with you. They should be able to provide you with a range of sales-training products, from basic sales skills to things like negotiation and communication skills, strategic account management and professional sales management. If you are truly committed to improving your team's performance through sales training, you will need access to these products as your business needs evolve.
Choose a trainer who can help you through the long haul. This is usually cheaper than jumping from one to the other, and getting familiar with your business and people will cut down on orientation time. A good instructor can also help evaluate your report, and your people will probably already trust and value your input. So, everyone wins.
I would also recommend hiring someone who not only provides courses but also provides a one-to-one coaching service for your representative to help reinforce learning. This can be done over the phone or videoconferencing as well as in person, but it is an important component if you want to get the most out of your training investment.
Finally, I would like to differentiate between training and pseudo-training. Camouflage training is a short session of one to three hours in which you bring in a dynamic speaker who focuses on a particular topic. Typically, these sessions are one-way information dumps. There is no discussion, no reinforcement exercise or follow-up. Pseudo training is like entertainment - everyone leaves feeling good, but nothing changes.