75Because no one ever taught them how to sell.

How many of us studied sales in college? Engineers, scientists, accountants, lawyers—these folks all study their crafts. But most sales reps enter the field without any formal training.

Some of us get lucky and thrive under a brilliant sales manager. But most of us are left to figure things out on our own. It’s not surprising, then, that many reps fail.

In fact, three out of four salespeople aren’t performing up to par, according to research from sales training consulting firm, Kurlan & Associates.

In a recent blog post entitled “3 of 4 Sales Reps Have No Idea What They’re Doing,” Dan Lyons interviews Dennis Connelly, vice president of business development for Kurlan, about the organization’s research. Here’s a snippet of the post:

[Kurlan] has found that 6% of salespeople are “elites” who are great at selling. Another 20% are doing well but could do better. Then there are 74% who are failing. Most of the people in the 74% bracket can improve if they get training. But the bottom 25% are hopeless, because in addition to being ineffective, they aren’t trainable. Those people “should be doing something else,” Connelly says.

 Connelly says it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, or what company you look at. The results are almost always the same. “Try it sometime. If you meet someone and they tell you they’ve got 20 sales reps, just say, `I’ll bet you have two who are really awesome, and five who are pretty good and get the job done. Then you have 10 who are not as good but could be trained up, and then you have three or four who shouldn’t be there.’ They’ll think you’re the Oracle of Delphi. You’ll be dead on.”

Read the rest of this article.

So what’s the secret to increasing sales effectiveness? Invest in sales training programs that provide the formal learning experience most reps never get. And if you’re a sales leader, be sure to keep reinforcing that training, even after class is out.

Check out the latest from No More Cold Calling for more sales strategies that work:

Is Your “A-List” Too Big?

Many organizations believe the best method for developing and increasing sales funnels is to cast a wide net. But that’s how you catch a bunch of tiny fish that aren’t worth your time. To reel in the big fish—the Ideal Clients with money to spend and who are great to work with—you have to be a lot more choosey about where you go fishing. (Read “Is Your ‘A-List’ Too Big?”)

Message to Management: Are You Losing Your Top Talent?

The job of sales reps is to sell—to maintain strong sales pipelines and spend their time talking to clients. When you force them to spend hours entering data, coaching new hires, and attending long, boring meetings, they’ll leave. (Read “Message to Management: Are You Losing Your Top Talent?”)

Let My Technology Connect With Your Technology

If you invite a prospect to connect on LinkedIn, you can check off your list that you’ve developed a relationship, right? Not so fast. You’ve been misinformed about the actual power of social media to turn strangers into clients. This month’s guest blogger, Dave Brock, explains why you can’t build relationships on autopilot. (Read “Let My Technology Connect With Your Technology.”)

Black’s Friday Bulletin: Is Your Job Worth Killing For?

When I read the heart-wrenching blog post by Jill Konrath on the devastation, grief, loss, and shame caused by texting while driving, I knew I needed to share her story. Please read every word and never text while driving. I now put my mobile phone in my handbag when I’m behind the wheel. I have a blue tooth for phone calls, but no text message is so important that it can’t wait for you to pull over. (Read “Is Your Job Worth Killing For?”)

You Are Not Just Another Number

What a refreshing change of pace it is to actually do business with a real human being—unless, of course, that person is rude, unfriendly, or too engrossed in technology to treat you like you’re important. Everyone wants to be acknowledged, not treated like just another number. And when we pay for a service, we have a right to expect efficiency and courtesy. (Read “You Are Not Just Another Number.”)

Message to Management: Are You Talking to Your Team?

The best business deals happen when we talk to our buyers, ask them the right questions, and help them create the best solutions for their business challenges. We earn clients’ trust and loyalty by making ourselves an invaluable resource. The same is true in sales management. The very strategies you use for attracting clients are the key to increasing sales effectiveness for your team. Simply put: Conversations count. (Read “Message to Management: Are You Talking to Your Team?”)

Free Ebook: “Facebook and Face Time Matter: The Role of Technology in Sales”

Do you have friends and colleagues who are so completely invested in the Web and social media that they can’t imagine selling any other way?

There is a whole generation of salespeople who’ve lost (or never mastered) the art of face-to-face conversations. And it’s limiting how well they perform.

Click here to download my free ebook on the role of technology in sales. And please share it on social media so those who need it most will actually find it! 

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