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FC Barcelona: Training to Win

By Mark Gibson on Mon, Jan 12, 2009

 FC Barcelona training camp

My home-office window overlooks St Andrews University playing fields in Scotland, where the Football Club of Barcelona (see photo) held their 2007 and 2008 summer training camps.
Every day all members of the team had general fitness training as well as specialist coaching and practice matches. I watched the goal-keepers train and in a single session a goalkeeper will have fended-off well over 100 attempts at goal from every possible angle.

Football training for FC Barcelona isn’t a one-off event held every summer in St Andrews; FC Barcelona is one of the greatest football teams in the World and their 2009 season has been a triumph with the highest goals scored against competition in La Liga, and lowest goals scored against in football history. The final against Manchester United later this month is set to be an all-time great Champions League Final. The point here is that when professional footballers are not playing matches, they are training!

Unfortunately only a small percentage of salespeople, sales managers and business owners view their teams competitive skills the way professional footballers, owners and managers treat their player’s skills.

Most sales people will receive basic product training (features and benefits, instead of product-usage training) at new-hire and perhaps some sales-process training, they are expected to already have selling skills. We then send them out to score goals against highly trained buyers and expect fantastic results. It’s not surprising that on average, 40% of salespeople Worldwide in 2008 failed to make their quota and the majority of them took nearly a year to reach full sales productivity.*CSO Insights

Periodic immersion in classroom training and spaced repetition provided by Performance Support (E-Learning) programs in industry best-practices, along with selling-psychology, advanced communication and language skills has potential to improve the performance of all players on the team and the win-rate of individuals and the company as a whole.

Has your sales team ever had training in the following?

  • Selling Psychology,
  • Transactional Analysis in sales,
  • Communication skill and rapport development,
  • Empathic listening skills,
  • Language and questioning skills,
  • Strong qualification and needs diagnosis,
  • Understanding buyer behaviour and the buying cycle
These are critical skills for the whole customer-facing team, not just sales people. When essential skills are practiced and perfected and combined with aligned sales and marketing messaging, sales teams can level the playing field with buyers and out-play competitors in nearly every encounter.