Are You Investing in Your Most Valuable Sales Resource?


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In the past year, your company probably slashed virtually all “unnecessary” expenses from its budget. How did it hit salespeople? Perhaps your annual sales meeting was cancelled. Maybe important training was delayed. You probably cut your travel expense big time too.

But what happens after you’ve squeezed every bit of fat out of the budget?

It’s time to focus on growth again. That’s the only viable option for companies who want to be around for the long haul.

Instead, I see the opposite happening.

Companies are refusing to spend money to upgrade the knowledge and skills of their salespeople – when, in fact, that might be their only salvation.

Recently I spoke with Larry, the senior VP of sales for a technology-driven company. Last year was a brutal year for his dealers-orders were way down with existing customers, who’d been battered by the economy.

Even worse was his prognosis for the future. While his dealers were good at servicing accounts, they stunk at landing new ones. After years of coasting along during the good times, they were woefully unprepared to generate new leads and open new accounts.

Yet if they wanted their business to recover, that is precisely what they needed to get good at – and quickly.

Larry contacted me because he knew what needed to get done. His dealers desperately needed to enhance their new customer acquisition skills. So all that’s good – at least from my perspective.

Then Larry dropped the bomb. He had virtually no money to invest in the professional development that was vital to the company’s growth. Our initial discussion about a 2-day workshop quickly migrated to a one-day program, and then to doing a series of webinars so he could eliminate travel costs. But even that was too much.

My final recommendation? Buy a copy of Selling to Big Companies for every dealer sales rep and have him lead weekly discussions on each chapter.

He wasn’t even sure he could get that approved—which of course, leads me to conclude that his company’s executive team is totally clueless when it comes to understanding what it takes to get business today.

Yet these same smart people willingly invest in new technology to manufacture better products or improve their supply chain.

I never got a chance to talk to the head honchos, but I do have a message for them:

  • Your salespeople are your company to every single customer they call on.
  • If they’re still selling your product’s features, advantages and benefits, they’ll never get their foot in the door.
  • If they can’t clearly articulate your value proposition, they’ll be irrelevant to decision makers.
  • If they aren’t skilled in having business-focused conversations, they won’t be invited back.

Unless you invest in your salespeople, you will find yourself in a slow death spiral.

Because the truth is, I don’t see how it’s possible to save your way into growth.

Now that I’ve shared my two cents on this matter, I’m wondering what you think?

Republished with author's permission from original post.


  1. Hi Jill: Thanks for bringing this up. If anyone thinks sales training isn’t important, listen to the outcome without it.

    I cringe every time I hear the recording. Forget about what causes a VP of Sales to break into a sweat. Think about the CFO. What you just heard is her quarterly cash flow projection falling off a cliff.

    Ongoing professional sales development and training enables strategy. If you think your product “isn’t that hard to sell,” or that you just need “someone to go start knocking on doors,” then I have a great deal on land in Florida to offer you.


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