Come On, Dave. Who’s The Best Sales Trainer?


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That’s a question I’ve been asked again and again by journalists, sales leaders, sales training company CEOs, corporate training departments, consultants, and our clients, when they first contact us.

When I tell them that’s not a question I can easily answer, many offer to pay me just for providing them with “just one name.”

If they press me for an answer I take a deep breath and say…

I first need you to tell me just a bit about the company seeking the best sales training firm:”

  • What do they sell?
  • How do they sell it?
  • How well do they sell it?
  • Why do they win?
  • Why do they lose?
  • How long is their sales cycle?
  • Is it a complex or transactional sale?
  • Do they sell to committees or individual buyers?
  • What resources are required to support a rep?
  • How do their buyers buy?
  • Who are their competitors?
  • What’s their go-to-market strategy?
  • How are leads generated?
  • Where percent of market share do they own?
  • What are their business goals and objectives for the coming quarter, year and three years out?
  • How well is the sales team performing? What percentage of sales reps are at or above quota?
  • What processes and tools do they currently have in place?
  • What geographic territories do they cover? In what languages? With what local cultural requirements?
  • How is the company structured?
  • What about their sales channels?
  • What compensation and incentive approach do they employ?
  • How well do the first line managers manage?
  • What gaps exist in management skills and capabilities?
  • Do they coach effectively to a process?
  • What analytic and measurement systems are in place?
  • How well is sales integrated with other functions within the company especially marketing and service?
  • What is their propensity to change?
  • Are the corporate leaders ready for a business transformation?
  • How much time, resources, and money are they willing to invest in it?
  • Which vendors have already been engaged with this company?
  • What learning mechanisms and tools are in place?
  • How diverse are individuals within the sales team with respect to experience, skill, effectiveness, business savvy, age, learning preferences, etc.?
  • What are the company’s annual revenues?
  • How much are they willing to invest in a sales effectiveness initiative?
  • What technology, if any, is currently supporting the sales function?
  • Are they thinking about training strategically or tactically?
  • Who is currently providing training?
  • What do they think their biggest sales challenge is?
  • What special skills, if any, are required for sales effectiveness?  This question alone requires discussions with many diverse stakeholders and is a critical component of ESR’s discovery process.

Do you get my point? No single sales performance improvement provider is right for every company’s requirements.  If you’re looking for the best one for your business, you’ve got to start with requirements. Skip that step and you just become another statistic.

Resource:  ESR/InDepth Report Understanding, Defining and Meeting Your Sales Methodology and Training Requirements

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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.


  1. Great list of questions. I almost blew right past #10 “How do their buyers buy?” But there it was. It’s a great starting point for a discussion, because the next question, “Who are their (your) competitors?” will set up this one: “When their (your) competitors are successful selling (against you), why are they successful?” Match that answer up with the next one on the list, “What’s their (your) go-to-market strategy?” and you have much of the picture.

    Today, discovering incongruities between how buyers buy and how sellers sell will reveal opportunities for improvements that combine training, technology and processes.

    Thanks for the questions. I found them valuable.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Andrew. I deliberately didn’t number these because the prioritization is different by company…


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