How Much Training Should Marketing and Sales Receive? A Twisted Answer.
Contributed by Charles Besondy
According to the findings from the 2013 Sales and Marketing Alignment Study* training for marketers and sales people must reach a certain critical mass and have the right focus before there is an uptick in revenue performance. Let’s look more closely because there are some surprising and counter-intuitive findings in the data.
The study, conducted in late 2013 and reported in February 2014, includes detailed responses from 500 companies on the topic of sales and marketing alignment.
Investing heavily in training produces a positive lift to both performance and alignment, but only if you view the system as a whole, and are open to some ‘odd’ logic.
Marketing Training. It’s Not about More Leads.
Marketers in the survey who received just 1-3 days of training per year generated marketing qualified leads (MQLs) with a 21% probability of closing. Adding days of training improved the lead quality. Lead quality peaked at 35% probability of closing following 8-10 days a year of training (a 67% improvement).
Oddly enough the survey results indicated that even if marketing training generated high quality leads that are more likely to close, the training did nothing to increase the percent of MQLs that are accepted by Sales (Sales Accepted Leads, or SALs). One would logically believe that higher quality leads would be eagerly accepted by Sales, but this wasn’t the case.
Sales Training. It’s Not about How to Close.
What about training for sales people? More surprises from the study. The study failed to reveal a connection between more training and an improved ability to close. In the analysis, which also looked at a similar benchmark survey in 2004/2005, well-aligned companies believed that a focus on closure for sales people encourages three terrible behaviors.
- Quarterly feast or famine, rather than pipeline flow
- Concealing and withholding data in the CRM system to pump up the stats
- Focusing on closing questions actually reduces the close rate, as proven by Neil Rackham in his 25 years of selling science work
In the survey the more training sales people received, the worse the close rates were! What did improve with sales training was the percent of MQLs that were accepted. The SAL rate improved steadily as days of sales training per year increased, peaking at 50% for companies giving eight days or more of training to sales. Well-aligned companies were training their sales people how to do more with the leads they were provided.
What is the lesson from the survey data? Well-aligned companies invest in training for marketers to generate leads with higher close rates. Well aligned companies invest in training for sales people to accept and act on leads from marketing.
Companies that invest 10 days of training for their sales people saw on average 29% more business from new customers than did companies that only invested two days of training. Companies that invest 10 days of training for their marketing people saw on average 26% more business from new customers than did companies that only invested two days of training.
Train well, train often.
*Survey sponsored by MathMarketing and Marketo.
BESONDY EXCELS AT PUTTING ENERGY, PROCESSES AND SKILLS INTO AN UNDER-PERFORMING MARKETING FUNCTION SO IT CONTRIBUTES TO CONSISTENT REVENUE GROWTH. HE IS A B2B MARKETING SPECIALIST AND ONE OF OVER 1,000 INTERIM AND PART-TIME EXECUTIVES WITHIN THE CERIUS EXECUTIVE TALENT NETWORK ACROSS THE U.S. CHARLES CAN BE REACHED AT [email protected].