By: Norman Behar on April 11th, 2011
The Importance of Sales Training Reinforcement - Case Study
As every training professional and most sales leaders know from experience, sales training as a standalone event is, at best, likely to produce only short-term changes in behavior. Sales reps who attend an “annual training event” are likely to quickly revert to their old behaviors. While it is possible they will integrate some new skills (e.g. better questioning techniques), it certainly will not fully capitalize on their company’s investment in training.
Unfortunately, sales training reinforcement has become more of a buzzword than a best practice. Sales organizations routinely acknowledge the value of training reinforcement but perceive that reinforcement will be time-consuming, inconvenient, and costly. What these organizations fail to realize, however, is that the best training reinforcement can be achieved in the normal course of business through their front-line managers. This is particularly true when the sales managers become well versed in the sales process and develop coaching skills.
Client Case Study
One of our current clients has it exactly right. They started their sales development program by having all of their managers trained on sales coaching skills and instilling sales coaching as part of their sales culture. With this foundational skill in place, they trained the entire sales organization (including the managers) on their sales process and the key selling skills that align with each step of their sales process. By taking this approach, they integrated their sales training and sales coaching programs so that managers can provide ongoing training reinforcement.
Later they followed up with a more formal skills reinforcement program delivered as a series of live online workshops. During these sessions, they reviewed key skills, engaged in a number of simulations, and discussed with their peers how they leveraged their newly acquired skills to increase their effectiveness with customers.
The key learning is that great sales organizations develop holistic sales training strategies that include reinforcement, and avoid ad hoc programs where reinforcement becomes an afterthought. As a result, they will see much a much higher return on their training investment.
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.