Four Key Resources to Maximize Post-Sales Training Effectiveness
The most common concern we hear about sales training initiatives is will the training stick (i.e., will participants apply and adopt the skills they’ve been trained on). This is a valid concern given the overall investment (time, money, travel…) associated with sales training initiatives.
There are many best practices to ensure that sales training sticks and my colleague, Ray Makela, does an excellent job of reviewing these practices in his blog post 6 Critical Sales Management Actions to Ensure Sales Training Sticks, which speaks to the sales manager’s role before, during, and after training to ensure skills adoption by sales training participants.
Of the areas Ray addresses, the post-training reinforcement is where most sales organizations fall short. Despite the best of intentions, sales reps end up reverting to what they’ve done in the past as opposed to adopting the new skills and techniques. This is in no way a critique of the sales rep or their sales manager. Rather, it speaks to a bigger problem that most sales training programs lack—the post-training skills adoption resources that maximize sales training effectiveness.
With that in mind, here are 4 post-training methods to promote skills adoption and sustainability.
1) Reference Guide for Participants
Unlike the program workbook, this is a short, easy to access, guide (i.e., eGuide) that includes an overview of the key concepts, skills, and techniques. For example, a sales rep who has an upcoming meeting can refer to the call planning section to make sure they are prepared based on the skills and best practices outlined in the reference guide.
2) eTools and Planners
It is unrealistic to expect sales reps to replicate the tools and planners used during the training. Instead, these should be converted into easy to use eTools that can be attached to the associated account in the CRM system. As an example, opportunity qualification can be facilitated through an integrated eTool (or attached worksheet) to the opportunity record in the CRM system.
3) Reinforcement Guide for Managers
The guide should include the key behaviors, observation approach, and reinforcement techniques associated with each skill. This tool allows managers to develop personalized coaching plans for each member of their team focused on specific skills and behaviors noted in the reinforcement guide.
Self-paced eLearning (provided it is based on the content delivered during the training) is a great way to review and reinforce skills individually and with the sales team. As an example, a manager can review an eLearning module on managing objections in a sales meeting and then introduce role plays where sales reps can practice applying the objection handling model to some of the more challenging objections.
In summary, for training to stick it requires that the training programs are highly relevant to the learners, supported by the managers, and includes post-training reinforcement tools.
About 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.