Sales training is meant to help salespeople improve their effectiveness and close more deals. The goal is to help sales gain the techniques that make the most impact on winning business. But what is the real world effectiveness of this?

In 2005, CSO Insights determined that 41% of sales reps missed their quota. As the age of information has blossomed with the maturation of the Internet, sales reps have had more information at their disposal than ever. Today, there are so many options for sales training, you would think that it would be easier than ever to find ways to be more effective. However, a Forbes study found that, in 2018, 57 percent of sales reps missed quota. That is a 39 percent decline in effectiveness in 13 years.

With all the sales training and tools available now, how is it possible that sales professionals have a harder time meeting their goals?

In reviewing many sales training checklists, almost all the points are focused inward on the salesperson. However, better sales training must start with one outward-facing factor: understanding your buyers’ needs.

Sales training on understanding buyer needs

After thousands of interviews with buyers across multiple industry verticals, Primary Intelligence research has shown that regardless of the product, industry, or geographic region, the number one criterion buyers point to time and time again to help a salesperson win is to understand the needs the buyer is trying to solve.

Primary Intelligence research has shown that understanding buyer needs is three times as important as the next leading factor in wins. Three times. But according to buyers, only 31 percent of sales reps adequately understand their needs. However, those that consistently work on understanding needs are three times more likely to have a strong win against competitors.

So, when implementing new sales training techniques and tools, remember to start with the foundation of better listening. Focus sales training on understanding what the buyer hopes to achieve before pitching solutions. If done consistently, sales will increase more from this one metric than all others combined.

Industry Insights: Understanding Buyer Needs

Industry Insights: Understanding Buyer Needs

Understanding buyers’ needs is the most important sales benchmark driving purchase decisions in the B2B market, beating eight other standard categories Primary Intelligence uses to gauge sales effectiveness in sales evaluations.

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