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6 Traits of an Effective Corporate Sales Training Program

By Norman Behar

In this video, we share the top requirements that some of our clients routinely point to as the key drivers of corporate sales training success.

 If you can't see the video thumbnail below, click here to watch the video.

***Video Script ***

At Sales Readiness Group, I have the opportunity to speak with current and prospective clients on a daily basis regarding what makes a corporate sales training program effective.

I have summarized the top requirements that clients routinely point to as the key drivers of sales training success below. These six requirements will help you get the most from your sales training program:

#1 Full Executive Buy-In on Sales Training

If your sales training initiative is under constraints from the sales executives (e.g.., “Our sales people don’t have time for training”) or budget constraints, your training program is likely to fail since there is a lack of commitment to training by senior management.

As opposed to running a program that is compromised due to unreasonable constraints, a better solution is to focus on a successful training pilot that builds a business case for training. As part of developing your business case, focus on understanding what aspects of the sales training (e.g. classroom training, online reinforcement, web-based tools, coaching guides…) produced the most impactful changes in selling behaviors.

#2 Training Partner Is Willing to Invest Time in Learning About Your Business

Every industry is unique, and ultimately training is a mutual investment by your company and training provider. Your company is investing time and resources to improve the effectiveness of their sales team, and the training provider must invest the time to make the training relevant to the learners.

While industry experience is certainly helpful, the real consideration is how much time is the training partner willing to invest to learn about your business and how its sales professionals engage with clients.

#3 Sales Training Content Aligns with Your Training Priorities

It is important that the training content aligns with the skills that are most important in a specific sales role, and the key behaviors associated with each of those skills. Avoid ending up with an “off-the-shelf” program that provides skills that have little practical application based on the way your sales team engages with clients.

#4 Two-Thirds of the Training Program is Focused on Skills Application

Avoid lecture-based programs where the majority of the time is used by the trainer to present concepts and skills, and only a fraction of the time is used for skills application. Training professionals recognize that skills development and adoption require active engagement and participation by the learners. A good rule of thumb is that two thirds of the training should involve participant interaction in discussions, exercises, team activities, and role-plays.

#5 Sales Training Content Is Customized for Your Business

Sales professionals who attend training will make a very quick decision as to whether attending the training is valuable or a waste of their time. In addition, training participants will have a difficult time applying the skills unless the skills application exercises and role-plays are customized for their business. Investing additional funds on branding and terminology will help avoid the risk of a visceral rejection.

#6 Sales Managers Are Committed to Train & Provide Ongoing Sales Coaching

Involvement from the frontline sales managers is critical for a training program to be successful. As a result, sales managers need to provide input, participate, and reinforce the training program. Ultimately, sales people take their cues as to what is important based on their managers stated and unstated priorities. If their managers demonstrate a commitment to training and provide ongoing sales coaching, they are much more likely to continue to apply the skills they have learned.

Please feel free to share your thoughts or other key considerations.

Download to better understand the impact of sales training

About Norman Behar

Norman Behar
Norman Behar is Chairman and Managing Director of the Sales Readiness Group (SRG). He has over 25 years of senior sales management experience, and is recognized as a thought leader in the sales training industry. His blog posts and whitepapers are frequently featured in leading sales enablement publications including ATD, TrainingIndustry.com, and Selling Power.

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