Chances are, if you are reading this article, these words have never come out of your mouth. With demand for training outreaching supply by a widening margin, this puts tremendous pressure on L&D teams to invest in the right solution. An entire book could be written on whether this money should be spent on leadership, customer support, onboarding, etc., so we have decided to only focus on one item in this article: sales training.
There are four main sales training categories that companies are investing in; Selling Skills, Product Knowledge, Company Information, and Industry Knowledge. While that is nothing surprising in itself the comparative investment in each category is shocking.
The selling landscape has drastically changed in recent years. Customers are coming to the table much later in the traditional sales cycle and they are arriving armed with more data than before. Competition has also skyrocketed as of late, closing the differential gap between competitors.
Due to the increased competition and information availability, product knowledge training is more crucial than ever.
Absolutely not; because your sales team needs to know even more about your product than the customer!
A successful sales person must know so much about the product that they can also point out differences in competing products, pointing out the specific differences that matter most to the customer. Instead of telling the customer all that your product has to offer, a successful sales person can outline the specific outcomes the customer stands to gain by using targeted case studies and references. Instead of becoming best friends with customers, sales people need to challenge the preconceived notions that customers have about products and present new applications that they have never thought about before.
The changes in buyer behavior and the impact this has had on sales training has been well-documented, in large part due to the work of Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson, who co-wrote The Challenger Sale.
Yes, companies are already investing heavily in product knowledge, as we outlined earlier, but not nearly at the rate in which they should. We recommend that companies invest 40% of their sales budget on product knowledge training and reduce the percentage they invest on selling skills from 50% to 30% to achieve increased results without spending more.
Investing 40% of your sales training budget on “Sales Product/Service Knowledge” seems incomprehensible to most organizations because there are not nearly as many models for delivering this type of training as there are “Selling Skills”.
For this reason, we created the ARISE model, which aims to maximize the ROI of product knowledge training with a blended learning program that focuses on delivering information when, how, and where the sales team needs it the most.
This article is the first part of our White Paper “Investing Wisely”, for more on product knowledge training using the ARISE model read the rest!