Recent estimates are that $20 Billion gets spent annually on sales training. (ASTD) How much of that provides returns you could write home about? In my experience, and according to many of my peers, it’s lost capital. For many companies, sales training is an annual or quarterly boondoggle that is anticipated, endured and then financially regretted. Before you make that next sales training spend, consider these questions:
Does Your Training Program Involve Hands-On Experiences?
Among adults, 20% learn best by seeing, 10% by hearing. The remaining 70% of us learn best by experience. (NTCC) Many people are surprised to learn that the traditional academic presentation (teacher lecturing – classroom “listening”) format only works for about 10% percent of the general population! Most of us learn way better by seeing and by doing, not by hearing or reading.
Have You Established What The Real Issue Is?
The reason the team is not making their number may have nothing at all to do with a lack of training. Is it smart to throw money at training without understanding if there are more beneficial things that money could be spent on? Have you assessed what the real roadblock is?
How Will You Institute Enduring Behavioral Change?
If you find a deficiency in your sales force, how can you change the behavior of your reps in a way that will continue to make a difference long after the training has occurred?
How Will You Measure The Success of The Program?
Sales will increase right? But have sales increased as a direct result of the training, or some other factor? (competition failing, market changing, attrition, etc.) What specific criteria can you isolate and use to identify success of this specific change? What if sales go down? How will you specifically assess each rep with regard to their the successful learning of these new ideas or behaviors?
How Will You Ensure Adoption of New Practices?
One of the hardest things about any change is incorporating it into our existing routines. How will you bring change without disrupting existing success, or making reps feel even more burdened?
How Will You Set Expectations About The Training?
A lot of the sales training I’ve had was basically someone talking for several days about new ideas, us nodding a lot, then management expecting things to change for the better. It never happened! What does the end result look like? What’s the feedback loop going to be? Where can people turn to dig deeper? What’s the schedule for completion? Ideally, how can you work out a plan together with your team to get where you want to be by a certain date?
Chat up: What successes or failures have you seen in training the troops?