A New Virtual Sales Training Offering from SPI


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Sales TrainingEighteen months ago we began telling you that more and more sales training companies would be investing in virtual delivery capabilities. We even suggested that training firms that didn’t move toward virtual would be significantly behind the industry leaders by the time 2011 rolled around. We knew their market would make that determination. Behind the scenes, we advised a number of leading sales training firms as well as individual sales trainers on redesigning their content for virtual delivery. At a minimum, we said, put your current stuff up in some type of virtual delivery system and do the redesign later. But get it up there.

2011 is here. The market spoke and many providers listened. Today there is a significant amount of sales effectiveness intellectual property (“IP”) available online through a broad spectrum of technologies, from formal, SCORM-compliant learning management systems, to learning embedded in CRM front-ends, to PowerPoint presentations and podcasts available to salesreps for download-to-desktop.

Today Sales Performance International (SPI) announced their SellingStreamTM, “continual learning” virtual offering. From the press release, “Unlike traditional event-based training, this new offering provides a steady stream of planned learning and reinforcement activities that significantly increases the retention and application of new skills. The subscription-based pricing model also allows companies to align costs with benefits that accrue across multiple years. In addition to planned learning and reinforcement paths by role, subscribing organizations also have unlimited access to an extensive set of learning and reinforcement assets to address specific selling and management challenges.” For those of you not familiar, SPI owns the Solution Selling brand. (Disclosure: SPI subscribes to ESR’s research and provider services.)

During a recent briefing with SPI’s Robert Kear and Tim Sullivan, Al Case and I discussed SPI’s interest in meeting the financial constraints of companies investing in sales training with this new offering. We agreed that for many companies the big-bang multi-million dollar sales training initiative is a thing of the past. SPI’s intent was to align delivery of sales learning in a way that better met their clients’ long-term investment and cash flow requirements.

We like how comprehensive this new offering is. In a nutshell, there is custom configuration up front (including sales process design), a significant body of more than 40 learning modules for reps and management, scheduled and on-demand reinforcement, and a dedicated program management team. SPI invested a lot of money in this, and it shows.

As ESR’s sales training buyer clients (and readers of this blog) know, there are numbers of different approaches to virtual learning available today. For most companies, “Which one is best?” isn’t the most important question. The question should be, “Which overall sales effectiveness approach best suits my unique requirements?” The degree of sales performance improvement achieved is based, most importantly, on the provider’s IP and how well it addresses the selling company’s challenges. How that content is delivered (all live, all virtual, or blended—and with whose technology) is a critical, but a secondary factor. There are many other critical factors as well. Overlook one and you risk a sales training train wreck. We’ve seen plenty of those.

Note: Watch for the late January launch of ESR’s new website. It will include profiles and evaluations of an expanded group of sales training providers that offer alternative virtual learning solutions, such as Richardson, 3G Selling, Revenue Storm, Miller Heiman, The Brooks Group, The TAS Group, Imparta, The Executive Conversation, TACK-USA and Mercuri International. If you’re interested in learning more about SPI and ESR’s evaluation of them, that’s where you’ll find it.

Photo credit: Igor Karon / Fotolia.com

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Stein
Dave specializes in helping his clients win critical B2B sales opportunities as well as helping them hire the best sales talent.Dave is co-author of Beyond the Sales Process. He wrote the best-selling How Winners Sell in 2004.


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