After nearly two decades of shaping reseller sales teams, former VAR boss Darren Spence (pictured) has launched his own sales-training business.
Spence was managing director of Bytes Document Solutions until it was snapped up by Xeretec last year, and most recently joined VAR Content & Code as sales and marketing director in August this year to help shape its sales team.
“I stayed at Bytes long enough to help with the transition to Xeretec, and then spent some time helping Content & Code pull together a sales and marketing team. I really enjoyed doing that, but at the same time saw shortcomings in the traditional sales courses, as there was no real way to decide if they were delivering value or not,” he told CRN.
“I have spent a lot of time with salespeople talking to them about core aspects of selling and it is about how to prospect in the modern world.”
Spence has now officially unveiled Sales Gym 360 after leaving Content & Code last month, explaining that the content of sales training has been 18 years in the making, and draws on all his experience in the industry.
It is based on four key pillars or "competencies", he explained: how to connect with key contacts, how to sell value, how to structure bids and proposals successfully and how to forecast accurately.
“My approach is different,” he explained. “It is known that 80 per cent of everything we learn in the classroom is forgotten over a 30-day period. Our trainees are assigned mentors who spend half a day teaching them the four competencies, and then over a chosen period, be it a year or three months, they take part in 12 additional sessions, which includes practical advice while working on live deals.
“After that they are assessed again to show RoI in their employers’ investment, and are awarded a badge once they reach a certain level of competency,” he said.
In total, trainees can achieve five badges (one for each competency) and then a final 'Athlete' badge for the top candidates. And each badge will be assessed annually.
“It is all aimed at professionalising salespeople and adding credibility to our profession,” Spence said. “Mentoring is very big in the US, with 70 per cent of Fortune 500 companies offering mentors, and it is growing in popularity here.”
Spence added that he will initially start with the IT channel and already has three mentors ready to go, but said he planned to significantly scale the business because there was no reason why the principles of the training could not be applied to solution-based sales in other industries in the future.
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