This is an excerpt from our 17 Top Sales Trends for 2017.

Assembling an agile, effective sales team can feel like trying to build a plane during takeoff. And while sales is one of the world’s oldest professions, formal sales education is rarely provided through programs at postsecondary institutions. Sales training programs exist and are deployed at most larger organizations but, too often, sales managers are promoted and left to fend for themselves at companies large and small.

“If you sat 100 sales leaders down and asked them if yelling at their sales reps is an effective strategy, how many of them would say yes?” asked Alice Heiman, founder and chief sales officer of Alice Heiman, LLC. “Zero – but they still do it. Is it effective? Mostly not.” Without a consistent pedagogy for sales, many sales leaders are not just developing bad habits, but passing them on to their teams and perpetuating a cycle of ineffectiveness.

The answer: commitment to formal sales training and education.

headshot “I believe that companies are starting to invest in developing their sales leaders. I want it to be a trend, because it needs to be a trend.”
Alice Heiman | Founder and Chief Sales Officer of Alice Heiman, LLC

The investment companies make in formal sales management training can save serious money. Vantage Point Performance conducted a study that revealed low-performing sales managers underachieved their top-performing peers by an alarming 39 percent in revenue attainment. That’s more than a third of potential revenue lost.

What next?

Today’s sales roles require people to learn a wide range of skills that, historically, haven’t been taught in a higher education setting. But that’s changing. “Sales education is moving to the university level,” said Heiman. “I teach sales at the University of Nevada and I’m working with a team of people all over the country who are working hard to make sure that universities understand that sales education has to be moved to the university level. That is one of the ways sales will be seen as a more desirable profession. Courses in both sales and sales management need to be offered.”

Want more? Get our guide to all the 17 top sales trends for 2017 here.