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Chapter 8

Global Sales Training


Sales Management:
A Global Perspective
Introduction
Sales training can provide a variety of
benefits that include
Higher sales force performance
Improved customer relationships

More efficient time management

Less need for management supervision

Greater product and market knowledge

More comprehensive understanding of firm

policies
Importance of sales training

 Critical because of cost of sales call


 Sales activities must be efficient
 Sales force must produce satisfied customers
 Salesperson must also be able to operate
globally
 Distinct language and cultures
 At great distances from headquarters
 Training provides skills needed to succeed
Cultural Impact

 Culture impacts the sales process


 As such, this impacts all training activities
 National culture shapes the content and
presentation styles
 e.g. Malaysia comprised of three groups
 Malay, Chinese, and Indian cultures can clash
 Standardize technical skills, but modify “soft”
supervisory skills to local culture
Need for Sales Training

 Sales personnel, whether new or


experienced, must be socialized
 Work ethics, job expectations, and ways of
conducting business
 Training process complicated by introduction
of race, creeds, and cultures
 Training allows firm to set standards for:
 Job accuracy and job expectations
Discussion Questions

 There are numerous potential benefits


related to sales training—are there any
potential downside?
 Why do you think some firms do not conduct
sales training?
The Sales Training Process

 Consists of six distinct stages:


 Needs assessment
 Objective setting
 Plan training
 Conduct training
 Evaluate
 Follow-up training
Needs Assessment
 The first stage is to determine the strengths and
weaknesses of skills, knowledge and attitudes (SKA) of
sales force
 Subjective assessment methods

 Upper management judgment

 Sales management judgment

 Training department judgment

 Objective assessment methods

 Interviews

 Surveys

 Performance measures

 End-of-course evaluations

 General assessment methods

 Organizational and sales training objectives

 Competitors’ sales training programs (benchmarking)


Training Objectives
 Set objectives or goals of training program
 Objectives address SKA “gaps”
 Should set SMART objectives
 Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and
Timely
 Total sales revenue will increase by 5%, over the
next six months, for the PBX product
 Objectives communicate the expected
outcome of the training program
Planning Sales Training
 Methods – theme, scope, coverage, length,
instructor, location, media and materials
employed
 Firms can use formal and OJT training
 Culture impacts the translations of materials
and the way instruction is presented
 Must be aware of time away from customers
Planning (continued)
 Program length – formal training is one or
two weeks in duration normally at a central
location
 Consult with local managers about holidays
 Length varies by:
 Industry, company size, adoption rate of high
technology, training budgets, and corporate culture
 Sales personnel should be taught:
 How to sell, company policies, product knowledge, local
market conditions, and their clients’ culture
Planning (continued)

 Training Methods
 High-tech – computer based and interactive
 Lecture, programmed, case studies, coaching,
role playing, business games, and discussions are
also utilized
 Training Location
 Physical location and availability
 Normally conducted off site for privacy
 Firms may select a centralized site
Planning (continued)

 Instructor Selection
 Sales manager, trainers, or consultants?
 Training Topics
 Select those that will satisfy objectives
 Product, market, and company information, along with
sales techniques, and socialization
 Firms often spend most time on product
knowledge and sales skills
 Will vary by industry and desired performance
Conducting Sales Training

 Put the planning stage into action


 Must remain flexible
 Training team in India without power!
 If a particular aspect of training not working
as planned, it should be changed
Evaluating Training

 Important to measure how well the training


achieved the goals set
 However, many variables can complicate the
evaluation of training
 There remain a number of ways to provide
evidence of training success
 Has funding been well spent?
 Did trainees learn and can they perform?
Levels of training evaluation
 Reaction
 Trainee response to the training program
 Getting accurate responses in some cultures
 Scales
 Numbers
 Openness
 Knowledge
 Measuring the knowledge or skill attained
 Tests/Exercises
 Early intervention to improve learning
Levels of training evaluation

 Attitudes
 About the customer, firm, and job
 Provides benchmark for how training applied
 Accuracy, objectivity, and friendship concerns
 Results
 What outcomes did training cause
 Most useful, but most difficult measure
 Many extraneous variables dilute measure
Other Evaluation Methods

 Compare outcome(s) to training objectives


 If objective was to increase sales of product PBX
by 5% over the following 6 months; did this
happen?
 Utility analysis permits computation of sales
training value
 Managers compute cost and gain to compute an
outcome utility
 Estimates lead to criticism
Follow-up Training

 Sales training continual


 Initial training to establish basic skills
 Follow-up training to reinforce basic skills, plus
teach new skills, knowledge, and attitudes
 Continual training imperative in global
marketplace
 Sales force may cling to local culture
 E.g. not rewarding merit in former Soviet Union
Summary

 Training provides benefits for the firm, the


salesperson, and the customer
 Training consists of six stages, which are
interconnected and dependent
 Culture making larger impact on programs
 “Softer” skills directly influenced by culture
 Difficult to evaluate training’s effect
 Training is an on-going activity
Discussion Questions
 Are any sales training stages within the
process more important than another? Why
or why not?
 List as many reasons as possible why it is
difficult to objectively evaluate sales training.
 Why is it important to conduct follow-up
training? How can high-tech methods help
with this responsibility?