For every sales initiative that positively transforms a company, there are countless others that fall flat with time, money and resources wasted. If it has become apparent that you need to lead a sales initiative to improve sales rep performance, there are some key steps you need to take before you even think of scheduling a sales training event.
We like to think of a sales initiative in three key parts. A critical focus on each component leads to results with long-term impact.
1. Customization and Relevancy
There are a lot of methodologies aimed at improving your sales organization. You likely have implemented or been subjected to some of the most tried and true selling points of view. Many of them are quite effective if implemented correctly. A key step that goes into rolling out a new sales methodology or process is the customization and relevancy of the processes, content and tools to your organization. Whatever methodology or process you're rolling out must be adapted to your business. This customization of content and the adapting the methodology to what your salespeople and managers do every day ensure a successful roll-out at the actual training event.
When the sales team is trained on the new process, content and tools, it's important that you approach that training as a change management initiative. It should be clear to the reps and managers what will be different moving forward and how they are expected to change their behaviors. During the training of the methodology there should also be ample opportunity for reps and managers to practice with the new way of doing things, whatever that is. For example, we find it helpful for reps to work with live deals throughout our trainings. It can also be helpful to train managers in advance of the reps, so they're able to assist in helping reps maximize the effectiveness of the training event.
3. Post-Event Reinforcement and Adoption
So many sales organizations roll out a methodology at a "big-tent" event. They spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, fly everyone in, and spend a day training everyone on the new methodology. Then, everyone flies home and it's back to business as usual. Reps and managers revert to their old habits. The momentum of the event suffers a quick death. Don't make that mistake. Start your sales initiative with a defined plan for how this initiative will be reinforced after training. Include accountabilities for senior leadership, cross-functional leaders, managers and reps.
These steps may seem simple, but all too often they're skipped or abbreviated in the flurry of rolling something new out to a sales team. However, careful consideration of how they apply to your specific company and your initiative ensures you'll get the intended and often promised results.