In 2013, the SAMPS surveyed the frequency of sales training in life science product and service companies. This article reports the results of an update to this survey that took place from January 2016 to May 2016. As was done for the 2013 survey, we surveyed life science product and service companies (38) to determine if they had formal sales training programs and if they employed dedicated sales training staff. The results might surprise you.
The survey methodology was straightforward and remained consistent with the initial survey. We contacted 60 colleagues from various organizations by phone or email and asked the following questions:
- Is there a formal sales training program at your company?
- Is there a dedicated sales trainer position at your company?
The response rate was strong; 63% (38 of the 60) replied, although not quite as strong as the 82% response rate (41 of 50) in the 2013 survey. We can't share the names of the companies, but the respondents represent many of the companies shown at the SAMPS website. Recognizing that the sample size is small, the results can be considered directional.
Training strategy varies
The content comprising training programs varies between organizations. A few companies indicated they provide a formal sales training program that involves modules such as Creating and Qualifying Opportunities, Negotiation Skills, and Presentation Skills followed by the Challenger Sales methodology. Another respondent shared that it provides formal training that uses the Miller Heiman Strategic Selling methodology, as a few examples.
In the 2013 survey, several respondents indicated that new sales people receive training on products or services and additional training when new products or services are launched, but that training on time and territory management, personality profiling, negotiation skills, listening skills, forecasting, and partnering was also key. The 2016 data indicate that this need remains for sales personnel and for the scientists, operational employees, and others who interact with clients during the sales process.