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Practical Advice for HR Managers

The 3 Pitfalls to Avoid When Hiring a Sales Training Company
As the sales landscape has become increasingly competitive, many HR managers are facing the daunting task of selecting the best-qualified training provider for their sales team. There are hundreds, or even, thousands of options to consider and a large pool of potential candidates to draw upon, putting a great deal of pressure on the human resources department. Sadly, even the most sophisticated organizations make mistakes when bringing a sales trainer on board. These mistakes may result in lost productivity and lost customers, making it so much harder to compete and move the business forward. In addition, smaller companies may typically incur even bigger damages.

Simply put, hiring the wrong person is a costly mistake. So, what should human resources managers do to alleviate the stress of identifying the ideal candidate who has all the attributes, knowledge and expertise to train and coach their sales force? How do they avoid making the wrong decision and letting their team down?

Below, are a few crucial pitfalls to avoid when bringing a sales training provider on board.

1. Placing too much emphasis on industry-specific experience

At first glance, industry experience may seem like a positive attribute; putting a particular sales training provider ahead of others during the selection process. Some HR managers still adhere to the mistaken belief that industry expertise is the solution – the surefire path to improved sales performance and increased profits. Ironically, there is a downside to this theory.

At a time when novel ideas are critical to the success of every organization, it would be wise to partner with a trainer who brings a broad range of experience to the classroom. It’s the fresh perspective and the bold new insights that will invigorate the training process and pave the way for competitive advantage. Conversely, giving too much weight to industry experience is equivalent to maintaining a tunnel vision or reinforcing bad habits that may impede the organization’s progress.

2. Failing to match the sales trainer to the audience demographics

Keeping the audience engaged is a challenge, even for some of the most experienced, outgoing and talented orators. If the trainer fails to establish a connection with the audience, the message will be lost and the sales training investment will go to waste. To avoid this predicament, the hiring manager should match the sales trainer’s energy, style and point of reference to the age, interests and expectations of the participants.

A sixty-year old sales trainer, no matter how wise, effective or eloquent, may have a hard time connecting with the young audience and holding their attention throughout the whole session. Equally, a young and highly-energetic training provider, with an effervescent style, may fall short of establishing a close rapport with a group of senior employees who would prefer a more subdued or conservative style. From movies to extracurricular activities, the trainer should be able to refer to topics that make sense to participants and connect with the group on a variety of levels.

3. Failing to take into account the extent of the trainer’s real world experience

Without a doubt, education is very important. However, one of the biggest mistakes some HR managers make is putting the trainer’s academic credentials before his or her real world experience. Theoretic peddling may not sit well with the participants who are eager to explore the real issues that invariably arise during the selling process. Savvy sales professionals in the audience may challenge the trainer, ask probing questions and put his/her credibility to the test. Therefore, the trainer should be able to rise to the challenge, provide clear-cut answers to every question and demonstrate his/her expertise by offering specific examples that are steeped in real world experience. By focusing on practical and field-tested techniques, the trainer is more likely to win respect, establish credibility and energize participants.

When it comes to sales training, one indisputable fact remains; in order to improve performance in a measurable way, it is important to select the right training provider. If done correctly, sales training can be a great investment for every organization. We believe that the HR managers who will heed our advice and avoid the pitfalls outlined above are well on their way to a solid, productive and successful engagement.