I have just been working with a business that once owned its market but sales are now falling and relationships built over years are being lost to new players commoditising the product so price is the dominant purchasing criteria. In the past the brand was so strong that sales people turned up, exchanged pleasantries, built the relationship and took the order but that approach no longer works.
The business responded positively by developing a new compelling value proposition, creating a customer segmentation model and offering training to the sales force. Training solutions abound consultative selling/ solution selling/challenger selling from really good training companies with tried and tested processes. However not everyone benefits in the same way from training and some not at all. To be helpful some providers use an assessment to identify gaps but be wary these assessments are often linked to the specific training course they deliver and have a built in assumption that everyone will benefit from this training. Many of these sales courses are driven by process which is often easy to understand but difficult to implement.
An effective assessment measures competence and has an objective benchmark so everyone knows what good likes so people are tested against best in class. It should differ with different sales roles, the behaviour, skills and capability needed for selling to small business is different to someone selling to larger customers or to key accounts.
An effective assessment separates the sales process from behaviour, capability and skills, though process changes from sector to sector or culture to culture the same behaviour and skills are employed albeit in a different sequence or priority.
An effective assessment tells you if a sales person can apply the skills they have or need. If they have been on plenty of negotiation skills courses but still struggle with price realisation their development need is not another training course but more likely they struggle with numerical reasoning so pressing the “more” training button won’t help but other development tools might.
An effective assessment opens up different development channels that match the specific content and learning needs of the individual including e learning, traditional training courses, focused coaching or mentoring and sometimes seeking a new role.
My client took a step back and invested in a stand-alone assessment enabling them to focus their investment where it would do most good in a way that was most effective so potentially they can match specific competence gaps to the right development intervention even collect groups together with common needs and leverage development for maximum impact.
Our Sales Talent development tools can help you recruit, organise or create development plans for your sales force for more information contact us at Shekhar@sdvtraining.com or call +44(0)7973727803.