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What impact does training have on a sales team’s Sales Competencies?

15:20 30 August in Research Hub

Key Takeaways

After training, salespeople improve their Sales Percentile by 30% – the difference between less than 70% quota attainment and over 90% quota

We observed significant improvement in five of our ten Tactical Competencies – Qualifying, Selling Value, Consultative Selling, Reaching Decision Makers, and Closing

We also observed significant improvement in three of the six Sales DNA Competencies – Comfort Discussing Money, Buy Cycle, and Need for Approval

On average, Will to Sell Competencies did not improve significantly. This stresses the importance of using a candidate assessment to select salespeople who have the desire to succeed in their role



The stakes for sales training are high. Depending on the industry a salesperson might be responsible for several million dollars a year in production. A well-trained sales team can be the difference between a CEO reporting record numbers to investors or having very uncomfortable conversations with the Board. With such high stakes, how can a CEO know if the investment in sales training is the right one?

OMG can help. We analyzed data on 5,331 salespeople. We looked at their 21 Sales Competency scores at the start of a training engagement, and then measured how those scores changed after they had received training from a certified OMG-Partner. We wanted to answer whether training does improve a salesperson’s on the job performance, if so by how much, and what Competencies are most likely to improve with training.


Can training help salespeople improve?

“Yes”!  The median Sales Percentile scores of salespeople at their second assessment improved by 30% over their initial assessment. This translates into roughly the difference between a salesperson who achieves less than 70% of their quota, and a salesperson who achieves more than 90% of their quota.


What Sales Competencies improve the most?

OMG’s assessments measure 21 Core Sales Competencies. OMG’s Core Competencies are divided into three Competency Groups: Will to Sell measures an individual’s sales- specific drive to succeed. Sales DNA measures the core underlying beliefs and actions that either support or limit sales success. Tactical Competencies measure the skills and abilities necessary throughout the sales lifecycle.

In our analysis, we observed significant improvement in five of the ten Tactical Competencies. After training, salespeople were 20% better at Qualifying, 24% better at Selling Value, 28% better at Consultative Selling, 43% better at Reaching Decision Makers, and 55% better at Closing.

As a sales leader, what would these improvements look like for my team? Shorter sales cycles because your team is getting to a decision-maker, understanding why they need to buy and specifically from you. Higher gross margins because your salespeople become more skilled at getting customers to accept your prices. More accurate pipeline forecasts because opportunities are better qualified. Fewer stalled closings because your salespeople have properly moved opportunities through all of the preceding steps in your sales process.


The right training will also improve your sales team’s beliefs

These improvements should be great news to any CEO or sales leader considering investing in sales transformation– but there’s more. Over the years, we’ve observed that improvements in Tactical selling skills are not just the result of better coaching and repeat exercise. The salespeople who improve their Tactical skills the most are the ones who can reprogram their long held beliefs about selling, what OMG calls “Sales DNA”.

Our analysis has great news for sales leaders in this area also. After training, salespeople show substantial improvement in three of the six Sales DNA competencies. Specifically, salespeople score 66% better on their Comfort Discussing Money, 48% better on the Sales Buy Cycle, and 17% better on their Need for Approval.

You can see how improving these beliefs unlocks the salesperson’s Tactical skills. Greater Comfort Discussing Money helps salespeople uncover budget and sell value. An improved Buy Cycle helps salespeople to navigate a prospect’s price sensitivity and delay tactics to close opportunities on time and on budget. Strong Need for Approval enables better consultative selling by removing blockers to asking challenging questions that uncover the prospect’s compelling need to buy your product.


What’s harder to improve?

Our analysis also shows that there are Sales Competencies that are very difficult to improve through training. These competencies measure a salesperson’s Will to Sell such as Desire, Outlook, and Commitment.

In our analysis, Desire, Outlook, and Commitment only improved by 0-6%. Drive to be successful in sales is mostly intrinsic. No amount of training or on-the-job practice can instill drive if the salesperson is resistant to being successful. This reinforces the importance of hiring the right salespeople who do have a high Will to Succeed using a structured skills-based assessment that measures the candidate’s Drive, Beliefs, and their Tactical selling ability. Fortunately, OMG’s candidate assessment is designed to do just that.

We hope that this analysis gives CEOs and sales leaders more conviction to invest in training their sales teams. When done properly, training will dramatically improve skills across the sales team. More importantly, it will catalyze change in your sellers’ Sales DNA that will make them even more responsive to future training.

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