For the sixth year in a row, the category of sales representative is one of the top two hardest jobs to fill globally, according to Manpower Group’s 2011 Talent Shortage Survey results.
Another study shows that only 44 percent of respondents attended any kind of formal sales training. However, the Accelerating Revenue Through Learning Study by ES Research Group and ASTD indicates that 96 percent of respondents think that continuous learning is critical to their success.
When you combine a talent shortage with the current lack of training, it creates a perfect storm for problems generating revenue from an area that is critical for an organization’s success.
Although many employers may be delaying hiring due to the economy, they may be surprised later when the labor market becomes tighter. Relevant and exceptional training attracts and retains the best skilled workers. This could be bad news for organizations that are reducing or eliminating training. The storm continues to build, and better and more focused training is necessary to weather it.
And the Surveys Say …
The Manpower Group study points to the following factors, among others, contributing to the shortage of top talent:
- Lack of knowledge of business or industry-specific qualifications
- Lack of “hard” or technical skills
- Lack of “soft” or interpersonal communication skills
In addition, the Accelerating Revenue Through Learning Study names the following factors:
- An increasingly complex sales environment Tech-savvy customers conducting their own independent research
- The expansion of strategic procurement
- Increased competition
- Customers who want consultative guidance from people they trust
Given the findings of these two surveys, it is safe to say that without a formalized training process, salespeople won’t be equipped with the tools they need for success. Furthermore, companies cannot hope to retain the best talent or attract the right talent when they are ready to hire.
Here are some more startling facts: Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed for the Accelerating Revenue study said that they believe better selling and influencing skills are highly important in their positions.
Sixty-one percent said they need frameworks, approaches and methodologies they can customize, in order to effectively leverage the sales training they have received.
Finally, the majority of respondents said that relationship-building, problem-solving and listening are critical skills for their jobs.
Desperately Seeking a Solution?
It’s time to become aggressive to stem the tide and weather the storm. Vital Learning’s Customer-Oriented Selling™ is both comprehensive and flexible as a sales skills development tool. The program teaches both process and interpersonal skills to build successful and trusting business relationships, so your customers get what they need to achieve their objectives. In Customer-Oriented Selling, participants learn the following:
- How to determine the customer’s objectives and situation factors
- How to understand and use key, customer-focused communication skills
- Valuable pre- and post-call analysis techniques
- How to conduct sales calls using a proven four-phase customer-focused sales process
- How to effectively handle obstacles without feeling uncomfortable or becoming adversarial
The program allows organizations to tailor videos and role-play scenarios to their customers, products and services. In addition, one-, two- and three-day implementation options are available.
To help organizations provide ongoing support and measurement, Vital Learning offers a two-hour Skill Builder seminar for in-field follow-up. This seminar gives participants hands-on experience in practicing the program’s skills and methods.
When a talent shortage converges with a need for better skills, hire smart and train well. Your sales team will be more confident in reaching their numbers because you are providing a more strategic approach to training — one targeted to their needs.
Leadership Matters — Vital Learning and Chart Your Course International
Greg Smith | Lead Navigator | 770-860-9464 | Chart Your Course International
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