Sales training is an important part of any business organization. It teaches new knowledge and skills to the sales force and, if done correctly and with the right resources in place, can generate a high return on investment (ROI). Broadly speaking, organizations have two different training pathways: internal and third-party vendor training. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of using an external firm for your sales training solutions.
1. A Third-party Vendor Is an Outside Pair of Eyes
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s semi-autobiographical debut novel, “This Side of Paradise,” was a commercial success, but reviewers and the author himself said that the work had some flaws due to his being too close to the subject. The same is often true of businesses trying to assess their sales training needs.
A reputable outside sales training vendor will conduct deep, thorough research and discovery to assess your organization and its situation (including culture, employees, buyers, industry and marketplace) to determine areas of improvement and the exact type and content of training you need to address the issues it discovers.
2. Outside Vendors Specialize in What They Do and Have Proven Results
As a business, your primary focus is producing and selling your products. Sales training, while critical, isn’t your organization’s area of specialty (unless you’re a sales training company, of course). Unless your team has sales training expertise, trying to do it yourself is a bit like doing anything else you’re not an expert in — sure, you can get it done, but the results probably will fall short of what you’re hoping for.
In contrast, sales training companies wouldn’t last long without the expert, specialized knowledge to make their clients more successful at sales. And the planning, designing, execution and follow-through of sales training goes much more smoothly when you don’t have to do it all internally.
Additionally, by procuring sales training from a vendor, you’re obtaining a program that is research-based, field-tested, and proven to work at numerous companies and industries. It’s analogous to the question of a customer relationship management (CRM) platform: Do most companies design their own, or do they go with a leader? Obviously, it’s the latter.
The best sales training vendors understand adult learning and development, which translates into driving better sales results, because they not only understand sales performance but also how to implement training and ensure long-lasting behavioral change through reinforcement.
3. Third-party Sales Training Is More Cost-effective
If you’re only looking at the initial dollar signs, internal training looks cheaper. But when you consider the time and labor that come with planning and developing an internal training curriculum, in-house training suddenly looks like the massive resources hog that it is. Your time and labor investments can be spent better elsewhere.
Furthermore, many vendors have already built the sales training programs they bring to your organization (albeit with some customization needed to fit your needs). Because the basic structure is already in place, your sales team can learn and, therefore, become more productive, more quickly.
One of the unsung benefits of a third-party sales trainer is their taking on those time and labor costs (which, of course, is partly reflected in the price). Not only do you gain the benefits of experts in their field, but you realize massive savings in the bargain.
4. If You Want to Shift to Internal Training, a Third-party Vendor Can License Your Trainers in Its Curriculum
As your sales organization grows, you might still want to consider a training division for future new hires and career development for current employees. In that scenario, hiring a third-party vendor for the initial program and train-the-trainer events becomes even more vital. Poorly designed training will have long-lasting effects and be even more costly — in a myriad of ways — to correct.
An experienced, qualified outside sales trainer will head off that calamitous scenario. Typically, the vendor will license your future internal trainers in its curriculum and work closely with them to be sure they’ve mastered the material and can then train other employees.
Also worth noting: Content is one critical component of success, but top sales trainers are another. Many sales training companies bring top sales training talent to the table to ensure better results, whether in a direct-to-end-user situation, a train-the-trainer situation or both.
5. Outside Vendors Can Help Guarantee Reinforcement and Sustained Change
Due to the distractions of other business needs, organizations frequently conduct internal training and then fail to follow it up with reinforcement — a serious problem that can make training gains short-lived. In order for training to enable permanent behavioral change, it’s essential to have reinforcement in place.
The top sales training vendors offer reinforcement platforms and strategies to help lock in the training and ensure that learners encode the acquired skills and knowledge in their long-term memory and behaviors. Because these firms are experts, they can devise and execute customized reinforcement programs tailored to sustain the knowledge and habits learned in the training event.
Whether it’s a one-time event or an ongoing program, sales training (and the subsequent reinforcement of the training) derives the most long-term benefit when it’s conducted with a third-party vendor. Although the initial monetary cost will be higher, the savings in other resources, combined with the higher ROI and customized, focused training to address identified needs, makes working with a sales training company an attractive option.