Here’s a pop quiz for sellers and sales enablement folks. Be honest, don’t cheat……..
Raise your hand if you have had a formal training program on change and change management! If you are a sales enablement person, Does your sales training/learning program included formal training and development on change and change management?
Our sales training programs spend a lot of time helping us develop skills around what we sell and how we sell. We have endless classes and programs around what we sell—our products and services. We have terrific programs about how we sell. They may be broadly based methodology programs. They may be more narrowly focused on specific skills like objection handling, prospecting, closing, negotiation.
All are useful and important for us to master.
But the one thing I seldom see in any formal training or development program is specific training on change and change management.
Because what each of us is selling is change! Whether it is switching vendors, improving operations, addressing new opportunities, solving a problem; what we are asking our customers to do is change.
When we look at the biggest problems our customers face in their problem solving and buying processes, it’s not vendor selection. Yet this is where we focus 99% of our sales training and development.
The biggest problems our customers face are committing to change, managing the change management process. But we aren’t training our people to help customers do this.
And, as a result, both we and our customers fail. The majority of committed buying journeys fail, resulting in no decision made. As you drill down, it’s either the lack of commitment to change or the indecision around the issues in making the change.
For those that do make a decision, a large number have buyer’s remorse–less about solution selection and more about whether they are doing the right thing, whether they are achieving what they expected. And much of that is change management.
And then, the opportunity that’s like the part of the iceberg we don’t see–the biggest part of the opportunity for customers and us is those customers that need to change but are oblivious to it–that need to be incited to change.
It’s remarkable that virtually no sales training or development program I see incorporates formal training and development on change and change management. As a side note, very little of the content I see focuses on change and change management.
If we want to help our customers buy more, more successfully; if we want to achieve more, sell more, and grow more, we need to train our people about what we sell. And it’s change!
Afterword: The best way to develop and hone our skills on change and change management is within our own organizations. Our own track records are pretty poor with our own change management efforts, so how can we provide great leadership to our sellers, if we are so bad at this?
After Afterword: If, perhaps, I’ve energized some sales enablement people to develop a change and change management program, please, whatever you do, don’t call it “Change management for sellers…” The worst thing we can do is to separate how we talk about change with our customers from how they view, manage, and implement change. Why not train sellers with the same programs, processes, jargon our customers use rather than “invent” a unique “selling approach?”