How Can Sales Managers Upgrade Their Sales Force? Hire More Certified Salespeople


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college graduate entering sales forceThe other day while perusing a few of the sites Google told me would keep me abreast of what sales managers were thinking about (other than this one, of course), I came upon an article that piqued my interest. It seems that University of Texas Arlington was about to offer courses toward a certificate in sales. The certificate would become part of the University’s marketing department curriculum but would not be mandatory for marketing majors.

Wanting more information, I contacted UTA Associate Professor of Marketing, Jorge Jaramillo.

“Approximately seventy percent of marketing students first jobs are in sales,” Jaramillo explained. “The best way to describe it is that there are far more sales jobs out there than there are students coming out of college having been trained for that. We think that if we provided that kind of training, it would make it easy for a lot of our students to find employment that way.”

I agree with Professor Jaramillo completely, particularly with his assertion that there are not enough students being trained for a job in sales. I would only add that there aren’t enough salespeople working in sales forces today who have been properly trained for a job in sales, either.

The article and my conversation with Professor Jaramillo actually reminded me of an exercise I used to run at the beginning of an Axiom Selling Sciences Program training class. At first, I thought the exercise would simply serve as a good icebreaker at the beginning of a three-day program. However, the results of the exercise were revealing and as I quickly realized, were indicative of a problem all sales organizations face.

Here’s how it worked. A few minutes after participant introductions were made, I’d ask the group two questions. The first, “How many of you, while you were in college, planned on graduating and pursuing a career in sales?” The second, “How many of you, while you were in college, took even one course in sales?”

As you might imagine, very few hands were raised after either question. In fact, it was not uncommon that there were no hands in the air at all. And therein lies the problem for most sales managers – how to find qualified sales people.

For almost any profession you can name, practitioners learn the basics of their craft in some type of educational environment, be it in college, trade school, technical institute, etc. The same can’t be said of sales people, though. We are perhaps the only profession for which there is little or no education available prior actual employment. We learn “on the street” and depending upon the quality of training made available to us by our employer, we pick up a lot of bad habits.

So how can sales managers upgrade their sales force? Hire graduates of programs like Professor Jaramillo’s. And for sales professionals already plying their trade, don’t worry. Help is available.

While there is no “one size fits all” sales force development solution, AXIOM has a demonstrable history of outstanding results with clients seeking the key qualities in their partner: Customer Focused Approach; Superior Process and Methodology; Ownership Guarantee; Coaching that Drives Change; Expert Consultants and Instructors; and Customized Programs.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mike Bybee
Mike Bybee serves as VP of Program Delivery and Development at AXIOM. He has a successful track record of 25 years in sales and sales management Have also served as a consultant building sales methodology and sales process with executive sales leadership at companies such as Verizon Business, AT&T, Qwest, Misys Healthcare, and Parker Hannifin, and UTStarcom.


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