Recently in one of the groups I belong to, Sales Professionals of America, there arose a question about sales training. I felt it beneficial to share that conversation here. One of the group members wrote:
What I've found in my experience is typically the large corporations tend to have the best and biggest training programs. The small and start-up companies usually don't because they can't afford to.
Otherwise, you can check out the advice on Scott Jones' links and ask other professionals here.
Oh, and of course, go out and buy Jeff Gitomer's book, "The Sales Bible" at www.amazon.com or direct at www.gitomer.com.
Here was how I answered this prompt:
What we have seen is that sales organizations, regardless of size, do a fine job of training the sales team on product knowledge ... which is a great and necessary part of their development. Some even do a fine job of teaching sales processes. However, very few do a good job at getting down to how to operationalize these approaches.
Most of the time, even in some of the sales organizations where you wouldn't think this would be the case, sales people are simply expected to bring "it" to the table and are left to sink or swim on their own.
One thing that is clear is that sales occur because of a relationship between individuals, not typically between organizations. The hole that we have found is that sales people, across-the-board, need to be better trained on prospect knowledge ... how to relate to the executives they "sell" to and help them find that elusive point where their offerings intersect with a specific decision maker's issue(s). Without this knowledge the term consultative selling is a farce.
Our company President, Bob Beck, covers this pretty well is his book called "Mutual Respect: The art and practice of the Quid Pro Quo selling approach".