The changing scenarios like globalization, Mergers and strategic alliances are making the competition more intense and are altering the market place, where the sales person has to operate, making selling much more difficult.
As a result, training to sell given to a sales person, has become more challenging. Let us see what are the typical specific challenges identified that are making sales training difficult.
1. Too much knowledge to be assimilated
As part of their strategy to be on the competitive edge, companies are coming up with new innovations and new products every year often every quarter, especially in the high-tech IT industries, where a later version of software is released on a periodic basis. According to USA Today.com, “38,372 new products hit the shelves in 2012”.
On the other hand, products have become complex in nature, with various versions making it necessary for the sales person to recall lot of complex information. For example, Lenovo has launched 12 products under different categories in the year 2012. Each category has a name and under each category there are different model numbers. This could be exciting to shareholders, but very hard for a sales person to remember all of them.
Adding to it, Sales people should have the competitor product information on their fingertips to convince the customers to choose their solution over the competitors.
2. Being hard-pressed for time
You might be wondering why this is now put up as a challenge. Moreover, isn’t everybody is hard pressed for time? But a sales person’s job is such that his office is where his customers are, as his customers are the end users, partners, retailers or resellers.
It is seldom seen that customers line up at a company’s gates to buy its products. And with this kind of competition and buyer’s market, Sales people are always under high pressure trying to meet tough deadlines and 70% of his time spent in travelling and non-selling activities.
Thus a sales person, by the nature of his job is very hard pressed for time and more so in current business scenarios.
3. New age customers
The new-age customers are more sophisticated, as they can now get all the knowledge they want about competing products through internet. Today’s Customers are usually ready with questions and clarifications about products, instead of just waiting for the basic product information.
Customers expect them to understand their requirements and match their needs by suggesting appropriate products.
Therefore, sales people are no more just the walking brochures, or mere information providers they need to be solutions providers adding value. Hence, the training given to sales people needs to be more strategic and with a more customer-centric approach for imparting product knowledge.
4. Nature of a sales person
Sales people psychologically, are more action oriented people, hands-on people who are target-driven. They are people who are less academic and dislike sitting in meetings, hate to fill forms, write reports and are quite reluctant to read product manuals or literature.
Especially the new generation sales people, who are young, energetic and tech-savvy, they prefer bite-size information or information snacks on the go, whenever needed.
Therefore, you will find it very difficult to get them to a room in a traditional kind of classroom training; also, you cannot give the current day sales person a sales training manual and ask him to read it.
Given the above challenges, it has become imperative for organizations to adopt new ways of training to ensure that their sales people are up to date and armed with information. What are the ways that you have adopted for your new generation sales teams? Do share your experiences.
In my next blog, I will discuss with you the Next – Gen Solutions to these Sales Training challenges. Do stay tuned in for the second post.