Your sales team isn't hitting quota.
You have aggressive growth goals but keep falling short.
You want more of your sales team to transition from average to top performers.
So you invest in sales team training, with the expectation that it will give them the boost they need to not only hit their goals, but exceed them.
Then, when it comes to measuring results a few months after training, you find that besides a slight bump, results are largely the same as before.
The list of reasons why training goes wrong is long:
- Bad trainer
- Wrong topic
- Can't be translated on the job
- Too high level
- Too low level
- Wrong people in the training
- No reinforcement or support
...the list goes on, and on.
What can you do to ensure your sales team training will produce real results?
Follow these 5 stages to implement world-class sales training that produces real behavior change and lasting results:
Define goals and objectives for sales team training and how training should affect results. If you don't know where you're headed, any path will get you there. Not only should you define your goals, but tie them to specific metrics that are likely to drive sales success when achieved. Get as specific as you can with your objectives—only then can you develop a training program and curriculum to meet them.
Develop custom sales training and improvements to the sales performance environment in areas such as sales process, sales management, and performance support tools like sales playbooks.
If you want to connect with participants and make the learning most impactful, you must customize training. Certain topics may be universal, but if you don't customize examples, exercises, tools, and reinforcement activities to match the context of your company and market, sellers won't accept it.
Furthermore, some of the most powerful training tools are custom job-aids, planners, guides, and sales playbooks. Sellers can immediately use these on-the-job to guide their success.
Deliver blended sales training with strong reinforcement. It wasn't so long ago that there was only one core way to deliver sales training: instructor-led, in the classroom. Sure, there may have been computer-based training that was reasonably useful even 20 years ago, but it wasn't until recently that blended delivery approaches have become common and effective. Delivering through multiple modalities has two effects:
- It makes the training more engaging
- It has a cumulative effect on learning
Learning and behavior change happen over time. If you want the training to produce results beyond a short-term bump, you must reinforce it and make it a part of sellers' lives.
Enable sellers so that sales training translates into the desired behavioral change. It's easy to talk about various sales strategies and even learn them, but when it comes to putting them into practice in our day-to-day sales efforts, the devil is in the details.
To get the most out of sales team training, you must attend to how sellers will implement what they've learned, and what it will take to change the way sellers sell. Most companies underestimate the effort needed to change the way their teams sell.
Measure effectiveness of the sales training and its effect on results. Then, use the data to continuously improve the training and performance environment. You'd be hard pressed to find a piece of management advice that doesn't advocate for measuring, analyzing what you find, and applying those measures for ongoing improvement. Yet, as often as you see the advice, you don't see it actually happening. It's worth it.
Fortunately, much of the world of selling lends itself to measurement. The key is to define what measurements are important for your company and to put the processes in place to measure and improve.
If you want your sales team training to actually change the behaviors of your sellers and produce real results, be sure to attend to these 5 stages. If even one of these stages is not optimized, it could be the reason why your results keep falling short.