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Why a Lack of Sales Training is Hurting Your Company–and What to Do About It

Why a lack of formal training at your company is hurting your financial growthThirty-five percent of employers say their companies have missed revenue goals in the last 12 months.

While it’s true a struggling economy has contributed to stunted financial growth, new CareerBuilder research finds that a lack of formal training in sales — a key area of business — may also be a culprit. Sales is a major growth engine not only for business, but also for the overall economy; yet the number of colleges offering a formal sales degree is much lower than those offering other majors with significantly fewer job opportunities tied to them.

Request a a free skills assessment for your sales reps, including an outline of the 33 most important sales skills, and your reps’ average proficiency in each area:

Sales degrees are hard to come by — but much-needed 

Data from Economic Modeling Specialists, a CareerBuilder company, shows that twice as many colleges and universities are offering geology degrees (559) as are offering sales degrees (274). There are around six times more schools currently offering psychology degrees (1,571) than sales degrees.

When it comes to actual employment, though, sales-related fields account for 15,517,185 U.S. jobs compared to just 167,728 in psychology-related fields (a 93:1 sales to psychology ratio) and 94,696 in geology-related fields (164:1 sales to geology). The last year alone saw 678,968 job openings in sales-related fields, compared to 8,698 jobs in psychology-related fields and 6,766 job openings in geology-related fields.

What exactly does this mean?

As Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America, explains:

“There is a disconnect between the demand for sales skills in corporate America and the formal training available either through academic institutions or within companies themselves.  On top of this, sales training budgets are not as robust as they should be, with a large percentage of sales leaders reporting their companies spend $10,000 or less on sales training in a given year.

If companies want to see better top-line growth, there has to be a greater investment in educating sales teams on critical skills on an ongoing basis.”

In separate research conducted by CareerBuilder and Harris Interactive©, sales leaders voiced concerns over their sales training programs and candidate readiness. The research found:

  • 1 in 6 sales managers in firms that have missed revenue goals in the last year cited a lack of sales training as a cause.
  • 55 percent of sales leaders said their companies spend $10,000 or less on sales training annually.
  • Of sales leaders who offer formal sales training to their staff, 64 percent said that training at their firms is only somewhat effective.
  • 50 percent of sales leaders said candidates for entry-level sales jobs are only somewhat prepared or not prepared at all.

Bridging the sales training gap

CareerBuilder and Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business have joined forces to create a comprehensive, cloud-based solution for corporate career training and development. Moneyball™ is a first-of-its-kind solution for sales training that is designed to capture a salesperson’s traits and perceived abilities.

Through a detailed assessment program, Moneyball™ helps sales representatives and their leaders identify the strengths and weaknesses of individual team members to generate a customized development plan for each salesperson.

Moneyball is working to bring down the immense cost of sales turnover and remedy the fact that, although an estimated 50 percent of college graduates start their career in sales, very few of those graduates have any sales training when they enter the workplace and, as a result, fail during their first year on the job.

In Rasmussen’s words:

“Working with the Kelley School of Business, we’re bringing together leaders in education and human capital management to help address a training issue that has plagued sales organizations and has greater economic implications.”

Read the full press release and find out more about how sales training impacts your bottom line here.

Make every salesperson your best salesperson. Learn more about Moneyball today:

Amy K. McDonnell

About Amy K. McDonnell

Originally hailing from Ohio, Amy is the editorial manager on the content services team and has been with both CareerBuilder and the city of Chicago for nearly a decade. She writes on a range of recruitment topics on The Hiring Site, striving to bring a dose of clarity and humor to sometimes complicated issues around employee attraction, engagement and retention. When she's not working, Amy spends as much time as possible reading, pretending to be a chef, writing short stories, eating Nutella out of the jar, waiting for CTA buses and trains, going to see her favorite bands live, and spending time with people who inspire and challenge her.


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