We have all heard this story. A company looks at its declining sales revenue numbers and decide to hire an outside sales training company to come in and re-energize the sales team to turn things around. HR, the VP of Sales, and the VP of Finance are all engaged to find the absolute best sales training company for the job. Meetings are held, companies are interviewed, proposals received and reviewed and the best trainer is selected.
The training takes place and thousands of dollars are spent on the training, travel and selling days lost. Then what happens?
Is it reasonable to expect immediate results? If the sales cycle is short should the results be nearly immediate, and for longer cycles, you should we improvements in sales activity that lead you to believe better sales numbers are on the way?
In his book “The Talent Code”, Daniel Coyle explains that it takes 10,000 hours of “Deliberate Practice” along with coaching and motivation to achieve a high level of expertise in any field. So how can we expect the three days we spent training the sales team to revitalize the revenue numbers?
It’s not that sales training isn’t valuable – it is – however for sales training to show consistent results it needs to be reinforced regularly. Sales Training should be viewed from a results perspective. The goal of the training is to increase sales and to achieve that goal companies need to invest beyond single event training in the reinforcement of that training.
So where does the reinforcement come from? Many companies rely on sales management to reinforce the training. In my experience most sales managers do not have the time or the training to properly reinforce the training. In fact, in most cases sales management has the same exposure to the sales training that the rest of the sales team had.
The reinforcement should come from the sales training provider. This could be an expensive proposition if it’s not managed correctly. To get the best results biweekly WebEx meeting should be conducted with the sales trainers, sales management and individual sales team members to discuss and strategize about actual current opportunities. Sales people should also have access to on-line training modules to reinforce skills and concepts where they need help.
Investing in sales training as well as the reinforcement of that training should lead to increased sales pipeline and eventually sales revenue. Using real opportunities to reinforce newly learned sales skills helps turn theory into reality for both new and seasoned sales professionals.
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