This interview with IES Executive Director Fred Diamond originally appeared on the KiteDesk Expert Interview Series here.

KITEDESK: The Institute For Excellence in Sales (IES) was created to grow excellence throughout the Sales operational process, to help sales teams optimize their efforts. To start, what did IES feel was missing, in the sales industry that prompted the foundation of your organization?

FRED DIAMOND: Back only 10-15 years ago, it was not uncommon for sales people to receive up to two weeks of sales training yearly. In fact, when I started at Apple Computer, I received up to 4 weeks of sales training including presentation skills, prospecting, account development, and customer relations skills training each year. The number of days companies offered their salespeople for training has decreased significantly over the years, although the amount spent on sales performance improvement as a whole is close to $10 billion each year!

We saw two trends that seemed to provide an opportunity for the IES. First, there were a lot of young professionals entering the profession without much context to help them be successful. Companies were only training their new employees on what they needed to perform their jobs and were missing on offering a wider range of skills. Many new sales professionals were telling us that they did not know how to perform much outside of pounding the phones or toying with social media selling. We wanted to help them understand what it meant to be a sales professional and teach them skills they would need to be successful.

Also, on the other end of the spectrum, we saw senior sales reps who were getting lost in the social media selling frenzy. One very successful sales leader I knew grabbed me by the arm one day and said, “Help me. Do I need to know how to tweet?”

“Help me. Do I need to know how to tweet?”

This was a guy who had 30-plus years of sales success. He was lost in how the world had been changing.

Read the rest of the interview here.