Sean Black is founder-CEO of SalesCrunch, a social sales company focusing on sales training. He spoke with Follow the Lead about how b2b organizations can enhance their sales training and change their mindset about sales training from the short-term to the long haul.
Follow the Lead: In light of how fluid the trends are in b2b sales these days, what do you think should be the top priorities among managers for b2b sales training?
Black: Train early and train often. The trick is to start training early and integrate it into the daily workflow of your salespeople in a way that is seamless (i.e. invisible) to them, introduces learning in bite-sized chunks that they can immediately apply to actual customer situations. Given most companies have limited resources and desire to conduct ongoing training, automating and standardized as much of the training process as possible across your entire sales team is key.
FTL: When it comes to sales training, what are b2b sales managers doing right and what are they doing wrong?
Black: Right: Investing in sales enablement tools that help their salespeople spend more time selling from anywhere and stay out of the minutia of paperwork. Wrong: a) What they chronically do wrong is spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on outside sales trainers, pull all their sale people out of the field, bringing sales to a screeching halt and stick them in a room for a few days or weeks of intense classroom training. By the end of the first few hours everyone is overwhelmed, retention plummets and chances are they won’t remember 10% of what they learned two months later and b) They put all their energy and time getting on planes and coaching into the top 20% ‘A’ Players instead of setting up repeatable, scalable training programs that can help the other 80% get up the learning curve by sharing what the top 20% are doing right across the entire organization.
FTL: What do you say b2b sales managers who remain skeptical about whether investing in social media can lead to a correlation to enhancing lead-gen campaigns?
Black: Look at Hubspot.com. They generate 27,000 highly qualified leads per month, over half of which is from their blog, which is distributed across their social media account. We held a SalesSchool event at NYU with HubSpot in December where panelists went into great detail how they do this (School.SalesCrunch.com).