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Maybe This Sales Training Will Work…

If Not DATA, Then What, a series covering topics on the benefits of DATA.

This is the second in a series of articles describing the dramatic advent of easily accessible behavioral and cognitive DATA into the business world. What is DATA? BestWork measures how a person thinks, learns, and behaves, based on hard-wired personality traits and cognitive abilities. These do not effectively change with training, coaching, or incentives. They are strengths and abilities that are never lost. By themselves, they are neither positive nor negative. Their value depends entirely on what the person is trying to do.

Certainly, similarly sounding stories have echoed around the halls of HR for many years. The difference is that BestWork combines the highest levels of accuracy and reliability with remarkable ease of use, requiring no special training or old profiling methodologies. Cognitive and behavioral information is available for hundreds of jobs and virtually any business decision. These articles tell stories of how this DATA will radically change hiring, training, and management, opening up extraordinary ways to unlock human potential.

After considerable strategic discussions, a Fortune 500 company decided to transition its historically transactional sales business into more aggressive solution sales efforts. Knowing this would be a different type of sale, they engaged a leading sales training firm to train the 120 salespeople on solution selling. After seven figures of excellent solution sales training, the team was launched at the market with enthusiasm and excitement. This died somewhat when the first year’s efforts produced only 47% of the projected revenue goal.

Obviously (?) there had not been enough training. Perhaps a different flavor of training would do the trick. Another leading sales training company specializing in solution sales training was engaged, and no cost was spared to bring this erudition and expertise to the task. Another seven figures was spent, and the now hyper-trained sales team was loosed on the market. There was a distinct improvement…58% of the revenue goal was achieved.

What could be the problem? The sales training was unquestionably of high quality, and it had been delivered professionally. It had been enthusiastically received by the sales team, who worked diligently to apply what they had learned. What to do next? With far less confidence than with the two previous ventures, they engaged a third sales training organization.

This time, however, before the training began, they inventoried the hard-wired strengths and abilities of the sales team. The DATA revealed that only 56% of the team had the strengths and abilities which were necessary to sell the solutions program. If it was a baseball team, there would have been only six players on the field, making it nearly impossible to win a game. It was clear that no amount of sales training was going to solve the problem.

Training the wrong people is common in the business world. Well-meaning companies want to develop their people and see them grow. It makes sense that this will help the company to grow with them. Unfortunately, training people who are in the wrong jobs is discouraging for both parties.

Professional trainers were surveyed regarding what results they typically achieved in their training programs. They responded by saying that one-third of the participants generally did extremely well; another third did okay, and the last third achieved little or nothing. For too long, this has been ascribed to many reasons such as learning styles or training format. If it was a basketball camp training players to slam dunk the balls, what results could be expected from the tall players versus the short players? Each group might work hard and be enthusiastic about slam dunking the ball. The principal difference comes from the height of each individual.

Would it make sense to know the strengths and abilities of the participants before investing in the training? With that DATA, the right training can be provided to the right people. The DATA will even show the best ways to train each individual. No one gets left behind. Training pays off the way you expected it to do.

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