Everyone wants more bang for their buck!!
Nothing wrong with that – it makes good economic sense, whatever the business climate.
As a Sales Trainer let me let you into the biggest misconception about sales training……it achieves very little!!!
Shocked? You should be…so are many of my clients when I tell then not to waste their budget on sales training.
Think about it… sat in a conference room is an academic/intellectual exercise….selling is an emotional experience with a fairly immediate feedback loop. One situation is highly sterile and lacks intuitive action, whilst the real world sales environment is highly dynamic and very intuitive. Therefore, the good sales person, will get some value from the intellectual exchange, a few techniques to carry with them maybe.
However, the under performing sales person, or new comer to the team, will get more confusion than clarity.
Does this mean you shouldn’t train your sales staff? Certainly not, it means you should look at HOW you train your sales staff.
The greatest turnaround in sales performance has come from those programs that have a robust follow-up sessions – with external field staff that means accompanied visits, with internal staff that is side by side coaching.
This doesn’t have to be conducted by the Sales Trainer, although it can be initially, but it should be conducted by someone who knows the sales training, has attended it and can put in into action.
Fail at the follow-up and your sales training is virtually worthless…
Here are a few more tips to help you get the most out of your sales training budget;
1. Ensure you have a clear idea of what you want to get from the sales training, the desired outcomes, outputs, behaviours, and changes in skills set that you need to see post training. Define the outcomes and the program specifically to avoid simply buying the sales training course that the training company want to sell you.
2. Have a budget allocated that is sufficient to achieve what you want. Too many sales training courses fail to deliver because of lack of budget to implement robust follow-up programs, skills transfers to managers, knowledge transfer or further coaching
3. Keep an open dialogue with the trainer about the performance of the attendees on the sales training course. The trainer will have gained a lot of information during the sales training course about the delegates and their capabilities, skill and will. This is valuable information that can greatly assist the line managers in following through on the training in the workplace. Don’t let this valuable information disappear out of the door.
4. If you are going to send your staff on open training programs, then make sure there is an element of individual follow-up to help them make the most of their new skills and hasten the speed at which they can use their new skills in the workplace
5. Don’t select a training company purely on price or word or mouth. Sales cultures are different in every single organisation. Make sure you have a sales training provider that is culturally (not necessarily industry) aligned with your organisation.
6. Help the training provider give you the best sales training they can by explaining your sales process to them before they start designing the program. This will help your staff immediately identify with the enhanced skills and increase understanding regarding when, where and how to use them
7. Make it real. Make sure the training provider uses real case study examples during the training. Abstract training is worthless and meaningless to the attendees. Create these case studies with the training provider
8. Check the training is at the required level. Too advanced or too simplistic training for the group and the delegates will give up and become demotivated. Likewise ensure that it is proactive, interactive and uses a variety of learning techniques
9. Allocate budget to accommodate skills and knowledge transfer to the first line managers post training so they can push with the follow-up and reinforce learning in the workplace
10. Don’t train people who aren’t worthy of the investment…spend the budget on those people who will give you a good return on your training budget
11. During pre training delivery agree some numbers with your management team and the training provider to monitor post training. These may be: increased margins, increased conversion rate, increased quote rate, cross selling/up selling targets…either way you must have some numbers in place to be able to check that the training is being used in situ and is bringing the results you want
12. Have the management team sit in on the training, to observe, take part and motivate their team
13. Get the new skills into use immediately…too many organisations have the training and then have several internal meetings to discuss how the new skills will be used. This should be done pre-training to ensure a swift transition from classroom to workplace
14. As well as addressing the skill set of the attendees, also review their motivation, ambition and commitment by learning specifically what each individual needs to get from the sales training
15. Open training courses have their place but if you want to bring about a real change in behaviours and skills then work with a sales training provider to give you a bespoke program.
If you would like to discuss how to improve the performance of your sales team then please contact Carol Griffiths on 0779 002 1885 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an informal and confidential chat.