B2B Sales Blog
Back to Blog Index

3 Out Of 4 Sales Professionals Lack Fundamental Phone Skills

The A-Team Formal Sales Training

What do successful companies have that less successful companies don’t?

A team with formal sales training.

Three out of every four sales professionals lack the fundamental skills to be highly effective at their job – and at least a 1/4 don’t know they lack essential sales skills. Only 6% of salespeople are “Elites” and only 20% do “OK”. 74% who are failing, most can improve if they get formal sales training. But, unfortunately, the bottom 25% are hopeless because, in addition to being ineffective, they aren’t trainable. (Hubspot)

Sales team competency fits into four categories:

The A-Sales Team (6%)

These are the 6% elite. Their numbers prove it, month in and month out. They know the WHAT, WHEN, HOW, WHY to say after “Hello, my name is….” And they can walk a prospect down the sales path in a helpful problem-solving consultative way that feels natural. They know the game and know the play to call each step of the way. They’ve mastered the sales process from “Hello” to “Thank you for your business.”

The B Sales Team (20%)

The B team is the “20%” below the A-Team. They do OK and sometimes have a nice spike – but they could be doing better. They have a fair amount of the sales process puzzle down but are missing a few pieces. The right sales training program could quickly have them competing to be on the A-Team.

Selling By Phone Isn’t Rocket Science.

After all, there is a science to selling by phone, but it’s not rocket science. The four phases of how to close a deal are simple:

  1. Openers
  2. Qualifying
  3. Presentation
  4. Closing

The B Team has a solid grasp of the sales process and could quickly rival for a spot on the A-Team with a bit of guidance.

The C Sales Team (74%)

This group usually has zero formal sales training. And if they did, it didn’t stick. That may not be their fault, per se, as traditional instructor-led sales training is 60% less effective than eLearning.

Humans learn best by doing. So taking a short lesson and then immediately picking up the phone and putting it to practice for a week before learning the next step is a far more effective way to learn.

Microlearning would greatly benefit most sales reps in this category. Do you ever see one of those companies that only have A and B teams? That didn’t happen by accident. Their company culture is to win by preparing and training.

Plus, offering continued training reduces turnover.

“New Employees are 42% more likely to stay when receiving the training they need to do their job properly” (IBM Study)

If you have a C Team, the only way to get them to move up is to improve their phone skills. And that means you sit with them every day, or you find an automated sales training program to provide the learning you need them to have – is up to you.

The D Sales Team (25% of the Over-all Team)

The D Team are in the “3” part of the “3 out of 4 sales reps don’t know what they are doing,” and to make matters worse, they don’t know that they don’t know and refuse to grow, get better and earn more revenue for themselves and the company.

For whatever reason, their egos can not handle the fact that they suck. Yea, I know that is a harsh thing to say – but it doesn’t mean it’s not true. We ALL sucked at sales at one time or another. So get better or get crushed by those you are.

“How can I avoid hiring “D” Players?”

One of the easiest ways to avoid making a sales hiring mistake is to, at some point, ask the candidate to role-play with you. Give them a scenario and see what they do. You will usually get one of three types of responses:

  1. They give it a go. Good, bad, or ugly, it doesn’t matter – they went for it. There’s potential here.
  2. The interviewee will ask you a few questions related to who the target audience is, what pain points they have, and how your company solves them. BINGO – ELITE LIGHTS ARE GOING OFF. They know that they need to understand the buyer’s pain points before they can create an opening value statement, etc.
  3. The Nervous Nelly. They are hesitant, make excuses like “I wasn’t prepared for that,” etc. Why would you offer this person a sales job if they can’t try role-playing in a freebie situation? There’s no potential of a lost sale. Do you want this person burning through your leads?

Pull the cord on those who are not hitting their numbers and prove to be un-coachable. And get the rest of the team continuous formal training so that “all ships” can rise to the Team A and B status.

– Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone teaches outbound sales teams exactly what to say to get sales conversations started with hard-to-reach decision-makers. He is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com – An online sales training company.