Coca-Cola, Nike, Microsoft, Apple, General Electric, and Disney. These are some of the strongest, most enduring brands on Earth. Yet, despite the potential for their products to practically sell themselves, each one of these companies uses corporate sales training programs extensively. Why?
There are several reasons why I think that major corporations still invest quite heavily in business sales training programs rather than leave everything up to their advertisements.
If you haven’t invested in a training program yourself, consider these reasons for your own business.
Advertisements don’t sell – people do
An ad attracts. In most businesses, without someone there to close the sale, nothing happens. In fact, having untrained people in customer-facing positions is likely to drive business away.
One of my associates relayed an example of this to me just the other day. A client of his hired a “social media manager” – some kid straight out of college with no sales experience. A top vendor in their industry for many years, they’ve already enjoyed a decent amount of social media traffic and queries, but no one was really doing anything with these leads.
Last week, they received a Facebook message from a prospect who inquired about a competitor’s product. Instead of introducing his own company’s similar, and much more affordable product – he simply replied, “we don’t sell that model” and directly linked to the competitor’s product page, sending the visitor away to buy elsewhere.
That is what happens when you fail to have a corporate sales training program. Business brought in through marketing is literally shown out the door, in this case by an employee who thought he was a personal search assistant rather than a salesperson.
Your competition is deploying their salespeople against you.
If you don’t have people out in the field talking up your company, products and services, you’d better believe your competition is going to eat your lunch eventually. They are probably talking smack about your brand while building themselves up in order to steal your best accounts.
So, you must have a sales FORCE in constant action in the marketplace to continue to build up your brand. Corporate sales training is the fastest, most efficient way to build up your ranks of brand advocates.
Salespeople identify new markets (and build them)
As I just mentioned, sales people are your boots on the ground. They are the ones who see and hear things at an intimate level directly in the marketplace by talking to other businesses in the area; vendors, competitors, and so on.
As such, they have the chance to spot a new prospect and can even create an entirely new market by tapping into underserved areas of their region.
There is a reason why top salespeople are worth their weight in gold and highly paid – they literally can create something out of nothing simply using their product knowledge and through conversation. Investing in corporate sales training can move your decent producers into superstars who create new markets for you.
Okay, I think I have proven my point. No matter how big and recognizable your brand is, you need a strong sales force. I don’t think there is a more important investment you could make than in building one.