In Worst Economy Since Great Depression, Using “Moneyball” Approach in Selling

By CareerBuilder.com, Special for USDR.

Thirty-five percent of employers reported that their companies have missed revenue goals in the last 12 months.  While a tough economy has hindered financial growth for many organizations, new research from CareerBuilder finds a lack of formal training in a key area of business may also be a culprit.

Sales is not only a major growth engine for business, but for the overall economy. Yet, the number of colleges offering a formal degree in Sales is significantly smaller than those that offer other majors that have a much lower volume of job opportunities tied to them.

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

But, when you look at actual employment, sales-related fields account for 15,517,185 U.S. jobs compared to 167,728 in psychology-related fields (93:1 sales to psychology) and 94,696 in geology-related fields (164:1 sales to geology).  In the last year alone, there were 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.

“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,” said Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America.  “Two-in-five sales representatives don’t have a formal degree in sales, and of those who do, most have a general Business Administration degree.  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 online by CareerBuilder and Harris Interactive©, sales leaders voiced concerns over their sales training programs and candidate readiness.  Findings are based on dual CareerBuilder surveys of 2,184 employers interviewed between February 11 and March 6, 2013 and sales force members (301 sales leaders and 600 sales representatives) interviewed between November 20 and December 12, 2012.

Fact:  One-in-six sales managers in firms that have missed revenue goals in the last year cited a lack of sales training as a cause.

Fact:  55 percent of sales leaders said their companies spend $10,000 or less on sales training annually.

Fact:  While 75 percent of sales leaders said they offer formal training to their staffs, one-in-five of these leaders (22 percent) rarely offer it or only offer it once a year.  Twenty-five percent of sales leaders don’t provide formal sales training at all.

Fact:  Of sales leaders who offer formal sales training to their staff, 64 percent reported that training at their firms is only somewhat effective.

Fact:  50 percent of sales leaders said candidates for entry-level sales jobs are only somewhat prepared or not prepared at all.

Introducing Moneyball for Sales
CareerBuilder and Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business have joined forces to create comprehensive, cloud-based solutions for corporate career training and development.  Moneyball™ is a first-of-its-kind solution for sales training that plays off the concept of the popular book and movie Moneyball, which shows a statistical approach to building a successful baseball team.

With the help of psychologists from Cangrade and an innovative skill mapping technology from Zapoint, CareerBuilder and Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business created a sales training tool designed to capture the traits and perceived abilities that a salesperson currently possesses.

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.  Multiple lessons are easily consumed in 10-minute modules and are accessible anywhere (PCs, smart phone, tablet, etc) to accommodate busy schedules of salespeople.  More than 370 modules make up 127 courses.

From reaching decision-makers and using technology effectively to persuasion techniques and more, the 10-minute modules are designed to provide salespeople with actionable advice they can put to use immediately without losing valuable face time with customers.  Moneyball also benchmarks each sales representative’s performance and prioritizes development based upon the skills identified as most impactful in driving quota attainment at their organization.

“An estimated 50 percent of college graduates start their career in sales. Very few of these graduates have any sales training when they enter the workplace and, as a result, the majority fails during their first year on the job,” said Rosann Spiro, executive director of the Kelley School’s Center for Global Sales Leadership and author of the best-selling text on sales management.  “This poses an enormous cost on those employees and on their employers. This partnership is a way to begin to remedy that situation.”

“Structured sales training not only lends itself to better customer relationships and an increase in new contracts and higher renewal rates, you also see a positive correlation with employee motivation and morale,” said Rasmussen.  “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.”

The Kelley School of Business has offered a sales degree program since 1992.  The sales training content was co-designed by professors and sales leaders in U.S. companies.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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