Why We Need to Take Sales Education Seriously


Paul Fifield
Reading Time: 4 minutes



Why We Need to Take Sales Education Seriously

Aurelien Mottier

CEO at Operatix

Paul Fifield

CEO and Co-Founder at Sales Impact Academy

There are over 58 million sales people across the globe… and most of them are functioning without formal higher education in sales.

The drive to take sales education more seriously needs to come from within the industry.

Recently on B2B Revenue Acceleration, we had a chance to discuss with Paul Fifield, CEO and Co-Founder at Sales Impact Academy, about why we need to take sales education to the next level.

A 20-year entrepreneur, Paul, launched Sales Impact Academy in part based on the teachings of Predictable Revenue and having to deliver 300% year on year growth as a revenue leader alongside venture capital pressure.

“I realized that there are these absolutely vast, huge gaps in knowledge and understanding of how you do B2B sales and B2B marketing… I really wanted to do something to help,” Paul said.

Let’s dive into the conversation!

The Need for Sales Education

Every major profession in the world has higher education and training — an educational infrastructure, in other words. Medical industry, law industry – you name it, all have in place some form of higher education. Even in finance you have to take yearly exams to continue doing finance. So, why is there a gap in the sales industry? 

“You’ve got 60 million people in sales, but then if you have customer success, B2B marketing, and rev ops, you’re probably talking about 250-odd million uneducated people trying to work it out as they go along. That is mind-blowingly crazy and insane and needs to be sorted out,” Paul said.

There’s a major talent problem that needs to be fixed — and it starts with sales education.

The millions of talented people in sales are forced to be uneducated in their industry because there is no other option available to them.

Paul said he has learned this truth: “The root solution to all problems in the world is education.”

To solve this by educating this mass of people globally in the sales profession, Paul has founded the Sales Impact Academy where he developed teaching models where he can reach very big audiences and teach lots of people at the same time. 

The learning model is both remote and bite-sized.

The learning tracks and courses are designed to take just two hours per week because it’s 1) better for learning retention and 2) better for the sales professional’s schedule. You will not retain or learn well sitting and doing 12 hours of training, usually in a powerpoint format.

Experiential learning

The classes are practical. People are learning brand new concepts, so therefore they need time to process that.

The two one-hour classes per week are intended to foster experiential learning. “One of the most effective ways of embedding knowledge is to learn something and then immediately apply that knowledge,” Paul said.

That embeds the good behavior and best practice.

Practical pedagogy

Pedagogy means different types of teaching for different types of learning. Sales Impact Academy has brought the very best thought leaders, thinkers, and experienced salespeople and turned their brilliance into interactive, high learning design principle courses. To name a few of these –

“We have completion rates of 80% plus on our courses, because you’re learning directly from these very, very, very special people,” Paul said.

Sales Education with Buzz

What sounds more fun, watching a live concert on TV or watching the recording a week later?

And what do you think you’d stick with more, 12 hours of learning on demand in your own time or 12 scheduled one-hour live events?

“There’s polls, there’s quizzes, and it’s an interactive environment,” Paul explained. “The schedule piece is really important, and the experience is just more important.”

If you watch it afterwards, the buzz is gone.

These ‘classes’ hardly feel like classes. Sales teams will watch and participate together, then afterwards break-away to talk about what they learned together as a team: Sam Nelson on building great sales sequences, for example.

Buzz helps the learnings become embedded as a team.

An example of buzz

In a course on managing the complete sales cycle, there’s an acronym that everyone loves: BAMFAM.

BAMFAM: Book a meeting from a meeting. So many reps don’t book the next meeting before the phone goes down, even after a great discovery call, and they can’t get their relationship back.

“I get emails and messages on LinkedIn with people saying, Dude, BAMFAM go nuts in my company,” Paul said. One person told him it’s changed their whole philosophy and increased their win rate… because prospects don’t just disappear anymore.

Again, the whole team learned it, loved it, and implemented it together.

“You get better as a team. You can’t do that on-demand. You definitely can’t do that with a book,” he said.

Adopting a Learning Mindset

Everyone needs to accept that the need to educate salespeople is a major problem. “It  blows my mind when companies can say, Yeah, we haven’t really got time to do this,” Paul said.

On the other hand, there’s a hunger among sales professionals for education and self-improvement in the profession. 

Recently, there was a class featuring Sam Nelson with 1,000 attendees!

That’s 1,000 salespeople excited to learn.

It’s definitely not “sales training” in the traditional sense, with all its bad connotations. It’s specialists sharing the way they “worked things out” so that everyone can learn from their experience.

 If you have the mindset that you know everything, you will not succeed, so Paul’s outlook is that if you attend a class and come away knowing one new tip/bit of information, then it was worth your time.

For example, Paul attended a class with Sam Nelson, in which he enlightened listeners about how lowercase subject lines in prospecting emails work better than capitalization – something numerous people probably didn’t know before. These tips and tricks, however trivial they may sound, all add up to success.

Learning about leveraging LinkedIn, using video in sales prospecting, and how to implement direct mail — that’s just the beginning. Salespeople want to learn about management, coaching, and leadership, too.

“The onscreen presence, the interaction, and the learning design all combined to create such high completion rates. It’s unbelievable,” Paul said.

Learn more about sales education opportunities at salesimpact.io, and get in touch with Paul on LinkedIn.

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About Operatix

Operatix is a Sales Acceleration company specialized in supporting B2B Software vendors to identify new revenue streams, increase qualified sales pipeline, and accelerate channel development across Europe and North America. Operatix has a wealth of experience in working with the biggest tech players worldwide as well as a multitude of emerging software vendors.

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Channel Transformation

Digital transformation is changing how companies buy and use business solutions, making vendors re-assess the capabilities of their channel ecosystem. With channel dynamics in constant flux, vendors need to be ready to cut ties with partners that don’t share their vision or have connections with the right B2B buyers.


Operatix has supported numerous vendors in their path to Channel transformation by assessing current partners and recruiting new partners that are more aligned with their new channel strategy. Once the right partners have been identified, Operatix built scalable outbound sales development programs that accelerated their routes to market.

Inbound Response Management

In a competitive industry like technology every lead counts. Operatix can help you maximize conversion from MQL to SQL and from lead to pipeline, increasing both your revenue and ROI on marketing activities.

Account Identification

Identifying the accounts that are more likely to buy from you is part of our expertise. We will research the market, identify verticals and industries that can benefit from your solution and set up qualified sales engagements for your teams to kick-off the sales process. 

Cold Prospecting

Our team will identify new sales opportunities within the strategic accounts that you haven’t been successful in penetrating through your sales & marketing efforts. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, multitouch approach to connect with prospects, generating qualified sales engagements for your team and ultimately increasing your pipeline.

Outbound Sales Development

Using a proactive outbound sales approach has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to engage with prospective customers. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, human approach to getting in touch with prospects to increase your qualified sales engagements and ultimately generate more pipeline.

Outbound Sales Development

Using a proactive outbound sales approach has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to engage with prospective customers. By applying the ‘Challenger Sale’ methodology we use a tailored, human approach to getting in touch with prospects to increase your qualified sales engagements and ultimately generate more pipeline.

Partner Concierge Service

Our Partner Concierge Service helps vendors accelerate their channel programs, by engaging and nurturing channel partners and supporting them to get to revenue quicker.

Demand Generation

Whether you need to implement a demand generation strategy or get more results out of your existing demand gen engine, Operatix can work alongside your marketing team to yield better results out of your demand generation programs.

Account-based Marketing

An Account-based Marketing strategy is only as successful as the revenue it generates. At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

Lead Qualification

If your marketing leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help sieve through leads that need further qualification, so they are ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with.

Account-based Selling

At Operatix we will support your 1:1, 1:few or 1:many approach to get your team in front of decision makers in the accounts that matter the most to you. 

Pipeline Generation

Generating Pipeline for our clients is our key-objective. And we do that by using a multi-touch, multi-channel approach to generate qualified sales engagements for our customers’ sales teams.   

Account Intelligence / Deep Dive

Understanding buying centres, hierarchies and relevant personas in strategic accounts is a fundamental step to increase conversion rates. By leveraging account intelligence in a sales conversation your team can tailor their message and provide value to their prospective customer. But sales & marketing teams often struggle to dedicate time and resources to do the deep research and this is where Operatix can help.

DMID – Decision Maker Identification

Finding quality data is an on-going challenge for B2B Tech vendors. The accuracy of data platforms is questionable and that is why Operatix developed a manual process to identify & verify contact details for decision makers within strategic target accounts.

Playbook design

Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to get your messaging right, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapt the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

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Sales Playbook Development

Operatix can develop Sales Playbooks that enable teams to sell more effectively. Your Playbook will be fundamental to implementing the correct messaging, accurately position your solution against competitors, and adapting the communication of your value proposition to different buyer personas.

Lead Qualification

If your leads aren’t converting, it might be a lead qualification issue. Operatix can help filter through leads that need further qualification, ensuring that they’re ready for an AE or sales team member to engage with and progress through the funnel. 

Partner Portal / Marketing Concierge Service

Vendors often spend thousands of dollars building multifunctional Partner Portals to help channel partners educate their teams, manage opportunities, and create marketing programs. Still, these portals are often underutilized due to lack of bandwidth and capacity from vendors to offer support in enabling their partner community. Operatix, through their Partner Development team, can support your partners to make the best use out of your partner portal, managing the relationship with your partners and helping them set up co-marketing campaigns to drive more revenue for both businesses. 

Marketing & Sales Alignment

The sales development function is often seen as the “glue” that brings sales & marketing teams together. By working as an extension of your teams, Operatix will be your predictable source of pipeline, sales & revenue.

Optimization of MDF

Market Development Funds are an important component of any channel ecosystem, though vendors believe they are not maximizing the return on investment they should be getting from their MDF programs. At Operatix, we build scalable outbound sales development programs that will give you the visibility of return over the invested spend and will provide clear value for your channel partners.

Increase Partner Productivity

The 80/20 rule is still very applicable to the channel, which means that investing in partner productivity should be a priority for vendors looking to grow their businesses. Operatix can increase partner productivity and shorten sales cycles, by identifying ready to engage sales opportunities for your most valued channel partners.

Virtual Channel Account managers

Our VCAM team is responsible for building, maintaining, and managing sound relationships with current and prospective channel partners. They can get involved in opening up new sales conversations as well as closing small businesses up to $ 10k.

Tier 1 & Tier 2 Activation

Whether your business decided for a Tier 1 or Tier 2 distribution model, Operatix can help your channel partners get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements to your channel partners we can accelerate your route to market with tangible and easily measurable results.

Solution Selling Training

Far too often vendors insist on enabling their channel partners to talk about features and technical details of their solutions. Customers don’t buy features; they buy the benefits your solution can bring. Operatix will work with your partner community to train them in articulating your message from a high-level business perspective, enabling them to talk to prospects about the value your solution can bring to their company from a board-level perspective.

Channel Enablement

Enabling your channel partners have measurable wins for your business when done right. Operatix has a proven track record in enabling channel partners from a sales & marketing perspective, providing them the knowledge and tools to successfully pitch your solution and sell the value & benefits of it. 

Partner Recruitment

Recruiting the right Channel Partners is the first step for a successful channel program. Operatix has helped over 350 B2B Software vendors recruit suitable channel partners across EMEA and North America, supporting them to scale and expand their presence in different geographies and verticals. 

Risk/Reward Business Model

To truly work as an extension of our client’s sales & marketing teams, we have also adapted our business models to show how our clients operate, and how their success is measured. With our risk/reward business model your investment is proportional to the results our team delivers.

Sales Qualified Leads

On average, 52.5% of the sales engagements set up by our team progress into a next step in the sale process. That means that 5 out of 10 meetings will progress either into a POC, a Demo or a pipeline opportunity.

Geographical Scale

Trading in different geographical markets not only requires a knowledge of the native language, local rules & policies, but a deeper understanding of the local culture and habits. We have the ability to deliver campaigns in multiple countries with flexible resource allocation. This is through our team of international speakers, who have the ability to sell in 17 different languages across the globe.

Increase Revenue & Decrease Cost

Building an internal sales development team comes with many additional costs and challenges that aren’t always taken into account: recruiting resources, training and enabling them etc. You also need to take into account the need for having the data and tools to make them successful, which in turn requires time, capital and effort. By outsourcing your sales development to Operatix you will see your revenue increasing, while decreasing costs and business risk.

Predictable Pipeline Generation

On average, our clients see a 26X ROI on the programs we deliver. By understanding your revenue targets and sales pipeline gap, we will work on a sales & marketing plan that will deliver tangible results.

Vertical Growth

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Reduce Headcount

By outsourcing your sales development and partner programs to Operatix; we reduce headcount and the challenges that come with managing people, technologies, and processes. We take care of your sales development, so you can focus on what matters the most: growing your business.

Revenue Acceleration

Operatix helps your business get to revenue quicker. By providing qualified sales engagements for your direct sales team (to kick-off new sales cycles), or by accelerating the growth of your channel partners, our focus remains on delivering tangible results for your business. 

Persona-based Selling

Operatix team will design specifically tailored messages to influence the different levels of decision makers in the sales process, tailoring the communication according to each job function. Our focus is to sell the value of your solution from a business perspective, not its features.    

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