April is fast approaching, which means budgets are typically being negotiated and agreed.
Learning and Development and HR professionals will (hopefully) find themselves being asked to source Sales Training for another division or team.
The process of sourcing Sales Training can often be a first time venture for even the largest of organisations, meaning there is also no prior experience of either selecting a provider or running an external Sales Training program.
So where do you start? Google will usually be the ‘quick and simple’ answer in the digital age.
A Google search will no doubt produce at least 2-3 pages of results but this can carry the risk of a limited direction.
For instance, if you are working with a Stakeholder team, chances are one or all of them will have already completed the same search in advance and possibly even quickly asked Procurement to step in.
So… how do you avoid mismatched expectations?
To help with the process of preparing a “Request for Proposal” (RFP) and then sourcing Sales Training; Salestrong recommend covering 6 Essential Topics with either the requesting Manager or Stakeholder team before you start the buying journey.
1 – Identify the ‘real’ requirement
What prompted the request for sourcing Sales Training in the first place? Are there non-performance issues in the sales team? Capability Gaps?
Or is the driver for Sales Training a new growth opportunity, like entering a new market?
Sometimes it can be operational, like the team has evolved and they now need structure.
Ultimately, something has flicked a switch in the mind of the Manager or Stakeholders. The key question is ‘What was it?’.
This will help give your RFP a more concrete direction and allow the provider to respond with a detailed proposal, first time around.
2 – The Past – Who was trained in what?
Start with some very direct questions and measure the responses.
What have we tried before? What providers did we use? What parts of it worked? What didn’t? How long ago was that training?
This final question is hugely important and one that should not be forgotten.
This question helps you to identify and track down any internal trainers or learning and development colleagues that were involved, allowing you to obtain more valuable insight to the earlier questions in this section.
3 – The Present – Current Training Requirements
What type of Sales Training would they like to see? There are usually two parts to this you should aim to cover:
- What delivery options do they have in mind? Face to face classroom training? Online learning? Simulations? Coaching?
- What content options did they have in mind? Strategic account management? Pitching skills? Negotiations skills?
If they say that all of these are required, move onto the next question which is ‘budget’ as they will most likely need to prioritise the requirement.
4 – Budget Requirements
It’s important to get a fixed point on the budget available, otherwise you may waste time looking at entirely the wrong options.
Solutions can vary from hundreds of pounds to tens of thousands, dependant on the provider, the requirement or both.
E-learning is relatively cheap, face to face is more expensive in outlay (including time away from the job) and simulations using actors are yet more expensive.
5 – Expectation Management
At this stage of the discussion, we would suggest a question/answer workshop session, using the responses to build a fuller picture.
Work with the Manager/Stakeholder team and ask them to imagine a point in time after the training has been completed.
What’s different? What’s different for them personally? What’s different strategically across the business? What’s different tactically and operationally in the Sales department? And what’s different in the relationship between the Sales department and the other departments of the organisation?
All of this will help you define some clear measures of success, allowing you to comfortably answer the provider’s question of “What does your organisation want the impact of the training to be?”.
It may be that this question can be answered upfront and you obtain a clearly set answer.
It is more of a judgment call based on how well the earlier topics have progressed.
6 – Timeframes
Lastly when do they envisage rolling out the Sales Training?
This is more important than you think because it takes time to develop content. If they want it for say 4 weeks’ time then that could be a problem as most good providers have programmes active.
Obtaining all of this information will allow you to have a more targeted and productive conversation with your shortlist of training providers.
After all, it may be that topic 6 has uncovered an urgent requirement. It makes sense at that point to ensure that the quicker information is exchanged, the better chance of a realistic proposal you will have to take back.
Finally, consider the importance of “the right fit” which sits more with your expertise as a HR or Learning and Development business function.
What are the company goals and aims? Does the training provider have a similar outlook? Do the trainers seem to be the kind of people the Sales teams would work well with?
To help you even more, the following blog from our archive covers another topic concerning the different types of training available.
In summary, by covering these essential topics you will not only have created a sourcing guide for this particular request, but also something that you can use as a template for other requests for training with other areas of the business.
Furthermore, the requesting Manager or Stakeholder Team will have had more direct input at the start, leaving you to write proposals and coordinate responses without distraction and at your own pace.
Salestrong offer not just bespoke Sales Training, but also Coaching and Consultancy. Our mission is to make Sales teams simply brilliant at Creating, Communicating and Capturing value; for both themselves and their Clients.
If you would like to talk to a member of the team about your requirements, simply call us on 01778 582300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.