Anyone who has led a sales team knows that training doesn't instantly right the course in your sales organization. However, a focus on improving and executing on sales fundamentals can help even the most experienced account teams. The challenge is that training initiatives are often hefty investments, especially if you are leading a large sales team. If there's one thing you need to do, it's to ensure that your sales enablement initiatives are bringing the intended results. Achieving those goals begins with creating the right training initiative.
We're often asked what creates lasting success with our initiatives. Success comes from a lot of factors, both in the training room and out of it. However, here are a few of our best practices as it relates specifically to the training roll-out:
1. Training programs need clear objectives
Before anyone sits down in a training session, you need to be absolutely clear about why they’re there, what they will get from it, and how it will impact outcomes.
These objectives should be narrowly defined. Even if the overall goal is broad, such as “turn everyone into an elite seller”, your leadership and management team should still break these broad goals into smaller objectives. For example, you can focus on how to have better discovery conversations with clients or get better qualifying opportunities.
Clear outcomes help you to measure the efficacy of the program, and they also help the individual feel like they’ve made progress in their professional development. Creating both short-term and longer-term success benchmarks ensure you have a scorecard to measure training success starting the day after training and in the upcoming quarters.
2. Sellers need to put their learning into practice
People often emerge from training sessions motivated and anxious to test out new tactics and approaches with accounts. However, when they return to the office, that energy can start to fade and bad habits emerge.
The transition from knowing to doing isn’t easy. Even veteran sellers can struggle with the practical application of newly-acquired knowledge. And the first time they hit a snag, they are likely to revert back to doing things the way they know how.
Ensure there is a clear path from knowing how to do things and actually doing them. Working with live opportunities in training sessions is one way to improve the practicality of training. Reinforcing the methodology with role plays, pre-call planners, and opportunity review templates can also increase the likelihood that training best practices are actually put into use.
Your salespeople will foster in an environment where they can practice and build their skills. A phrase we often use at Force Management is - it's okay not to know the answer, but it's not okay to not ask.
Does your company culture support learning and development?
Is there a tolerance for failure when trying new things?
Can people speak openly and offer feedback on the department’s approach to doing business?
Is there so much pressure to hit quota that individuals can’t think about developing their skills?
If you don’t have a culture that supports learning and feedback, then many of your training initiatives will struggle.