Exclusive: Global leaders talk commercial team L&D

Everyone needs training. Whether it's critical onboarding or valuable upskilling, in-person sessions or online courses - at some point, every employee in every department learns something new. As a commercial capability provider, this is our bread and butter. Helping people enjoy performing at their best is our raison d'être. And yet, we're faced with a challenge! For many businesses, turning down offers of external training is all too easy: "No thanks, we'll do it in-house". Of course we recognise that external training programmes aren’t for everyone, but surely there are drawbacks to running your own training in-house - right? 


With this in mind, we set out to ask one question: should you bring in an external partner for commercial training, or do it yourself? We arranged for a third party to sit down with a panel of ten learning and development experts from around the globe, representing a broad spectrum of industries from pharmaceuticals to media and entertainment. We were able to draw a wealth of insight from these global experts, bringing us to the swift conclusion that the answer to our simple question… is anything but simple. 


That’s right, there’s no definitive answer to our question. (Perhaps we should have prefaced this paragraph with a spoiler warning!)  The fact is, businesses come in all shapes and sizes, and with all levels of expertise. Many commercial teams will have sales experts who are more than qualified to upskill their colleagues. Other teams may need to rely on an external provider to train new starters, particularly in periods of rapid growth. Others still may benefit from a hybrid approach, perhaps where the sales professionals in-house lack the coaching skills to teach others. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to workplace learning. 


So, do you keep it in-house? Arguments in favour of in-house training are pretty clear-cut, and honestly make a lot of sense. Nobody is better qualified to teach others about a particular business than the most experienced people within that business. Sure, an external partner may be well-positioned to impart their “expert sales” knowledge. But that knowledge, those tricks and techniques, the entire framework that their way of selling is built around? Any or all of these may be poorly suited to, or downright incompatible with, the business in question.  


However, arguments in favour of bringing in an external partner are equally compelling. Commercial experts within a business may be a font of knowledge about that business, but do they have the skills to coach others? Not all of us are born teachers; never mind the fact that sales professionals have their hands full with, you know, selling. In this instance, working with an external provider for whom coaching comes naturally is the way to go. The possibility of a training partner collaborating with in-house commercial leaders to build a bespoke programme is also on the table - this option offers the best of both worlds, marrying coaching experience with deep knowledge of company processes and values. 


Ultimately, the choice of internal or external training depends on these factors - and many more, which our industry experts cover in our Expression for Growth whitepaper, the true cost of untrained salespeople in commercial roles.  
Follow the link below to give it a read and discover their full insight. 

Download section one of whitepaper, Commercial team learning &development: Do it yourself or bring in an expert?

Our experts are on hand to listen.

If you are unsure where to start with commercial training - we'll guide you, whatever your challenge.

Access section one of the whitepaper