Is sales – and sales training, in particular – finally coming of age? There’s no doubt that learning and development (L&D) professionals, like the rest of business, currently face major challenges, and those engaged with the sales organisation probably more than most.
Not least among these challenges is the fallout from today’s testy economic climate and the scrutiny imposed on L&D activity as part of a remorseless drive to eradicate “unproductive” cost. Yet, cost and the need to justify L&D spending is only one in a series of factors coinciding to radically change the way we approach people development. A simultaneous need to deliver a far wider range of development opportunities, designed to enable organisations to respond rapidly to evolving market conditions, is another factor that only adds to the pressure.
A third factor has been driven by technological change – e-learning, which is now well established, brings with it a whole new set of protocols in terms of delivering development opportunities.
Finally, there has been a discernible change in attitude in the way businesses manage, hire and develop its sales talent, as they recognise the significant competitive advantage inherent in its revenue-generating organisations. This recognition of the importance of selling and sales management has spread to legislators, academics and professional bodies as they unite at long last in seeking to create a framework around sales as a career, again reflecting the importance of revenue-generation in today’s complex, global economy.