Does Sales Training Work?

by Sep 8, 2015Solution Selling0 comments

Does Sales Training Work?
At some point, every sales leader asks Does Sales Training Work?  When you need to boost sales performance, is solution selling training the answer to improve revenue, margins, win-rate, portfolio mix, and sales cycles? Yes…and no.  

Sales Training Research
In our over two decades of experience in designing, delivering, and measuring training, we have learned the sad truth – that business sales training alone is not the answer. How can you expect true behavioral and performance change on the job if according to:

  • Corporate Executive Board Research, 87% of what is learned in training is forgotten in 30 days.
  • LSA Global Research, only 1-in-5 people change their on-the-job behavior and performance from even well designed and customized stand-alone training.

So What?
You may have built a top quality business sales training program that targets the specific skills you’ve determined your team needs to succeed; you may have selected well-experienced and effective facilitators; you may have taken advantage of various modes of learning that have proven effective. And yet, for sales training to stick you need three things.

3 Steps to Make  Sales Training Stick

#1.  Sales Training Relevance Must be High
The desired performance improvements must be highly relevant to the participants, their bosses, and the business as a whole when compared to other pressing priorities.  Otherwise, how can you expect people to invest the time and resources required to truly change behavior and performance?

#2.  Sales Training Skill Adoption Must be Built In
The related systems, processes, and practices that support the learning need to be securely in place and practiced for adoption to occur.  How can you expect people to adopt new skills if they do not receive frequent practice, coaching, feedback, and support?

#3.  Sales Training Impact Must Be Measured
The difference between high and low adopters of the new skills, knowledge, and methods must be tracked and reported so people and their bosses know what is working, which obstacles to remove, and where to focus their sales coaching efforts.

An Example
Let’s assume you’ve done your homework and have determined that raising the level of your sales team performance will have a direct impact on revenue and, since raising revenue is a critical part of your overall growth strategy, building a high performing sales team has true relevance to the sales reps, sales managers, and company leadership as a whole.

Then you need to determine if it is a lack of key sales skills that is keeping your team from consistently winning. Check other common barriers to sales growth like:

If, after digging deeper, improved sales skills are what your team needs, be sure you focus on the critical few that will make a difference based upon how your ideal clients buy. Once you narrow it down, look for a sales training program that can be customized to your industry, sales strategy and sales culture while focusing only on the key buying scenarios that will move the needle.

The Bottom Line
Sales training by itself is not the answer. RELEVANT Sales Training plus REINFORCEMENT is what will set you and the sales team up to succeed.  After you, the target audience, their bosses, and leadership are clear upon the performance objectives and desired results, you are ready to design and conduct sales training. But don’t stop there. Set up an ongoing sales performance coaching program and hold individuals accountable for measured results.

To learn more about sales training that works, download The 6 Top Reasons Business Sales Training Initiatives Fail


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