Sales training is often viewed as the ultimate solution to improve sales performance, but in most cases, it’s ineffective. The reasons for failure are numerous, but they usually boil down to a few key factors. In this blog, we’ll dive deep into the reasons traditional sales training doesn’t work and we’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide to making your sales training program effective.
Why Sales Training Doesn’t Work
1. One-size-fits-all approach
Many sales training programs follow a generic, one-size-fits-all approach. This means that the same training material is delivered to all participants, regardless of their experience, expertise, or industry. This can lead to disengagement among the trainees, who may feel that the content is irrelevant or too basic for their needs.
2. Lack of reinforcement
Sales training is often delivered as a one-time event or a short series of sessions, without any follow-up or reinforcement. As a result, trainees tend to forget what they’ve learned or fail to implement the new skills and techniques into their daily routines.
3. Insufficient focus on behavior change
Many sales training programs focus on teaching techniques and strategies, but they don’t address the underlying behaviors and beliefs that contribute to sales success. Without addressing behaviors and beliefs, it’s unlikely that the trainees will be able to consistently apply the techniques or maximize the effectiveness of what they’ve learned.
4. Inadequate support from management
This may be one of the biggest reasons for failure. For sales training to be effective, management needs to be on board and actively support the implementation of the training. If management doesn’t prioritize and reinforce the training, then carry it through to the field, it’s unlikely that the trainees will take it seriously or commit to making long-term changes in their approach.
Steps to Increase the Effectiveness of Your Sales Training Program
1. Customize the training
It’s essential to tailor the content to the unique needs of your sales team if you want your sales training program to be effective. This involves a deep understanding of your industry, the products or services you sell, and the specific challenges your salespeople face. One of the ways you do this is by using a skills-based assessment like the Sales DNA Test. You will also want to look for repetitive patterns on your sales team and ask for feedback from their leaders about the areas in which their sales team struggles most. The fastest way to turn salespeople off when it comes to sales training is to train them on something they don’t think they need. Instead, you should focus on getting their buy-in through data and collaboration to identify the skills in which they’re lacking and the areas in which they need the most help.
2. Combine training with coaching
Sales coaching is a critical element of an effective sales training program. Coaching can help reinforce the training material and provide individualized support to help trainees implement the new skills and techniques they’ve learned. Moreover, coaching can help address the underlying behaviors that contribute to sales success. To ensure we deliver effective sales training, we include specific, one-on-one coaching alongside of it. We use something called Individual Development Plans (IDPs), and they help build a roadmap for each seller and what training will look like over the next few months. IDPs identify a specific problem for us to train, coach, and teach each seller. We then build field-based action plans with their leaders for them to help guide their development.
3. Use a blended learning approach
A blended learning approach combines various training methods, such as online modules, interactive workshops, and field-based application to create a more engaging and effective learning experience. By incorporating different training delivery methods, you can cater to different learning styles, and ensure that your salespeople have multiple opportunities to practice and reinforce their new skills.
4. Engage management
Getting management on board is crucial to the success of your sales training program. Management should be actively involved in the training process, both by participating in the sessions and by supporting the implementation of new skills and techniques in the field. By showing that they’re committed to the training, management will help create a culture of continuous learning and improvement within the sales team.
5. Track and measure success
To determine whether your sales training program is effective, it’s essential to track and measure its success. This can include monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) such as revenue, deal size, and conversion rates, as well as conducting regular assessments and feedback sessions with your sales team. But even more important are Daily Performance Indicators (DPIs). We still need to move the big levers and prove the training worked accordingly, but we also need to reinforce the daily activities that drive results. To stay relevant and increase adoption with today’s sellers, we have implemented new softward to gamify this entire experience.
By consistently tracking and analyzing the impact of the training, and reinforcing it daily, you can identify areas for improvement and make adjustments as needed to ensure that your sales training program delivers the desired results.
Sales training is a valuable investment for any organization, but it’s not a one-and-done solution, or something for which you can just check a box. The key to implementing an effective sales training program is customization. You must deliver a blended learning approach with ongoing reinforcement from leadership. If you do, you’ll foster a culture of continuous learning and development that will be welcomed by everyone on your team. By implementing these strategies, you can ensure that your sales training program not only works but also has a lasting impact on your sales team’s performance and your organization’s bottom line.
At The Sales Collective, our team of experts has a wealth of knowledge and decades of experience helping companies of all types and sizes become more effective. Many of our clients have seen dramatic increases in revenue, win rates, and profitability, and we’d be happy to share more if and when the time is right. If you’d like more information, please visit us at: TheSalesCollective.com.