Friday, October 28, 2016

6 Steps to Ensure Your Sales Training Sticks…

A big sign on a brick wall says, "Under Construction"

When you are planning a value selling training program, don’t waste your time and money on an intervention that has no legs. Start at the beginning and construct a thoughtful and relevant program that can actually improve the consultative selling skills and behaviors of your team and provide true business results in terms of increased revenue, higher margins, shorter sales cycles, better win rates or a more strategic portfolio mix.

  1. Link your business sales training directly to the corporate and sales strategies
    Make sure your value selling training program connects to a critical part of the organization’s strategy and, as such, is fully supported at the highest levels. You need to know you have executive support to underline the importance of the program, focus on the business outcomes you plan to achieve, and supply whatever resources are needed to get the job done.  If you have not identified specific sales metrics you want to improve and how much you want to improve them, then chances are that your sales training program is too isolated and tactical in nature.

  2. Ensure relevance
    To ensure sales training relevance, make sure that the participants, their bosses and the leadership team as whole care about the desired results compared to other priorities on their plates.  We call this 3x3 Training Relevance.  Without it, your training is set up to disappoint.  Work with sales leaders and key stakeholders to understand the greatest sales challenges, the most important sales scenarios and what makes the difference between the highest and lowest performing sales reps.  Make sure everyone feels ownership of the issues, design and desired results. That way they will participate not as prisoners but as advocates and learners.  Treat any important learning solution as a change initiative, not a training event.

  3. Grab them at the start
    The more relevant the interaction, the better. Get sales training workshop participants involved from the very beginning. Use live examples.  Include simulations.  Provide relevant job aids and tools.  Uncover barriers to success back on the job.  Understand what would make the program a real game changer and make sure that you deliver.

  4. Customize, customize, customize
    Include as many relevant real-world examples, scenarios and role plays as you can. Otherwise participants will feel that the program will not transfer over to their specific job and situation. 

  5. Expand their thinking
    Challenge participants to push beyond their comfort zone. Encourage the technical expert to present to the class in a persuasive way. Pair your “A” players with lower performers to help build skills on both sides…the “A’s” to learn how to collaborate and coach and the “B’s” to learn how to be more successful.

  6. Consider the session close as a new beginning
    The program should not end with the bell. For it to have lasting value, there should be a follow-up system of job aids and tools, regular coaching for desired behaviors, rewards for putting the new learning into practice and solid training measurement of skill adoption and performance change.

Don’t skip the “under construction” phase in your hurry to deliver your business sales training. The planning and instructional design will make the difference between a simple training event and actual transfer of new, meaningful skills to the workplace.

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