Tag: leadership training workshops

Sales and Business Development Training – The Difference and Similarities

The two terms “sales” and “business development” are often used synonymously or together by a large group of people. This may be because often people in the sales function are shifted to a business development role. That the term “sales” has a negative connotation attached to it, is obvious. Business Development Manager always sounds better than a Sales Manager. However, one must realize the difference between these two terms and use it when appropriate rather than interchangeably.

Business Development is a more Marketing function role than Sales. The idea of business development is to find the right market segment and match opportunities emerging from it to the products and services that the organization offers. Business development is about developing and expanding the business, in the literal sense of the term. The sales function of this role is majorly limited to opportunity qualification and negotiation. It includes more of brand placement, acquisitions and partnerships and market expansion.

Sales, on the other hand, includes revenue generation by selling the products and services directly to the customer. The link is that the business development function would generate the opportunities and create a channel to sell. While, the sales team would work on those opportunities to close them for revenue generation.

Now that this difference is clear, it also clarifies that the training for sales and business development is different.

Competencies to Focus on

Sales training is given with the purpose of maximizing sales success. The focus is on developing selling skills and understanding seller – buyer behavior. Competencies like negotiation skills, understanding needs, pitching, sales acumen, customer focus, strategic selling, prospecting, client relationship management, rapport building etc. needs to be developed along with adequate knowledge of products and services.

Business development training, on the other hand, is not restricted to the Sales professional only. It can be given to all leaders with the purpose of expanding the business and optimizing the potential of the market. Focus is on developing competencies like strategic thinking, conducting market analysis, customer focus, negotiation skills, networking, business acumen along with knowledge of organization’s products and services.

Now that the competencies have been differentiated for sales and business development training, let’s describe what approach can be taken for both the trainings to be effective.

The Methodology

We remember only 21% of information at the end of 31 days (as per Heman Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve) and surveys have proved that a lot of what is provided through training is lost. Earlier, training was restricted to one to two days only. Sales and business development professionals are left to retain and apply what they have learnt on their own. This is not an effective method. Now, with the growing needs of the learner, the demand is to use blended learning methodology. This methodology helps to reinforce what is learned through training.

Both sales and business development training must promote and focus on behavior change rather than just superficial change in knowledge. Training methodology should be clubbed with one-to-one coaching that focuses on individual strengths and challenges, personalized feedback to calibrate behaviors and specific action plans for application on the job.

Along with coaching, leader connect sessions are imperative. These sessions help to sustain the culture of sales and business development and helps the learners to learn from leaders who have “been there, done that”. Leader connect sessions use the technique of storytelling to convey learning around selling and business development skills. For instance, a lot of challenging situations that sales and business development professionals go through cannot be covered through classroom training and eLearning. Also, a coach cannot help in resolving those problems and advice on how to confront those challenging situations. That is when leader connect sessions help to learn the ropes.

Apart from a holistic approach combining different methodologies, motivation plays an important factor in sales performance and business development initiatives. Motivation is not just from compensation and incentives but also by rewarding various small behavioral changes observed in the professionals. A simple feedback that a seller was able to make a difference for the customer or that certain initiative helped the business to reach new heights or resolve certain business problems is sometimes, enough to motivate these professionals to keep applying what they have learnt.

To sum, when there is a requirement for sales and business development training, do not treat the two the same way. Although the larger methodology remains the same, the focus on competencies are different and that should drive the major learning experience.

Filed under: Training & DevelopmentTagged with: , ,

Why Should there be a Facilitator in each Workplace

Facilitation skills are a provision of opportunities and resources that support a group to succeed in achieving its desired goals. The word ‘facilitate’ comes from a Latin which means ‘to make easy’. It is the art of focusing the collective group energy on a specific goal. It is a diverse field which relies on facilitators who have a broad collection of facilitation skills and approaches.

A facilitator is a person whose role is to guide people through the process to a successful result. This process could be a meeting, training and development session, team building or any situation involving a group of people where the desired goals or targets have to be met. A facilitator contributes structure and processes to interactions so groups are able to function efficiently and make high quality decisions.

Facilitation skills are essential to successful Team and group work. That means it is also critical to the company’s success, especially given the presence of conflict in today’s time. While conflict may at first seem destructive and not very comfortable, it can be very creative. But conflict needs effective management so that it remains part of a creative rather than destructive process. This is where effective facilitation skills are extremely helpful to keep the team on track, keep the relationships intact to successfully achieve business outcomes.

Everyone in the company benefits from good Facilitation skills. Those that benefit the most from them are more likely to be team leaders and supervisors. Facilitation skills enable a team to arrive at satisfactory outcomes with different agendas and varied chosen outcomes.

 7 Steps to achieve effective facilitation skills:-

Facilitation helps everyone to feel that they worked together to achieve the best possible outcome of the task. Clearly facilitation has an important role to play in the success of any business. Furthermore, facilitation skills can also help team members to understand how to improve their business communication. When learning how to improve speaking skills and presentation skills, facilitation skills are important. Here are the steps to achieve effective facilitation skills

1. Set the ground rules 

Always begin by setting the objectives. Having an outline structure and time for reflection is very helpful. Start by helping the group to clarify an outcome that is practical to achieve in the given time and aim to create an environment of trust and confidentiality.

2. Always be impartial 

The challenge is to influence the group and not dominate it. This means being able to suppress your own ideas and encouraging others to talk. A facilitator needs to only encourage the group to consider his/her ideas not as a dictator.

3. Understand group dynamics 

The key is to unlocking the group’s potential to achieve its goal because this is where one can get into the interaction between group members. It is important to make use of questions to clarify, concentrate on the emotional temperament and try to read the body language for any answers.

4. Use your own personality 

A facilitator’s role is being all about the energy and confidence with which he or she brings their facilitation skills forward. To create an open and honest environment, people need an empathic personal presence and the group needs to respect and believe in you. They also need to feel confident that a facilitator will be able to deal with any obstacle and guide them in the right direction.

5. Intervene only when necessary 

It is important to continuously notice what is going on with the group and then decide what to do about it. A challenging group can be tricky to handle. Facilitator may need to ask difficult questions which might draw attention to difficult process issues which the group may find uncomfortable to deal with sometimes.

6. Handling tough situations 

Dealing with difficult people and conflict are two of the major challenges to an effective facilitation. With conflict, there are tactics and skills that one can develop to respond to such situations because success is often determined by how an issue is addressed.  If one comes across a tough individual, one may choose to confront that person in private and give them feedback their impact on the group.

7. The art to practice 

Having good facilitation skills is an art and not a science. The skills that are involved – good observation and listening, observing body language, understanding human psychology, can all be achieved through continuous practice. The more we practice our facilitation skills, the more comfortable we will become as a facilitator.

Continue: The Importance of Facilitation Skills

Filed under: Executive CoachingTagged with: ,

Choosing The Best Leadership Training Workshops

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