The one thing that leadership and management need to understand for sales training to deliver swift, measurable results
There is one reason why both traditional and modern sales training courses don’t work.
And NO ONE seems to be talking about it.
Imagine you’re a captain of a sailboat. Your objective is to get the boat to sail faster and faster.
It would be madness to keep on investing in ever bigger and better, more technologically advanced sails, in the hope you would pick up the speed, when you have a big hole in your hull. Wouldn’t you agree? This hole is the primary factor that is limiting the effectiveness of your vessel.
At the risk of stating the obvious: it doesn’t matter how good the sails are, the end result will always be the same. Performance will be compromised.
If the boat is your sales team, and the new, bigger and better sails represent the latest in sales training tools and techniques, what is the the hole in your hull?
That is the million dollar question.
It is not a limitation in your product or service offering. Nor is the lack of motivation, commitment or skill of your sales force.
It is the lack of the buy-in from the sales leadership.
Stay with me here.
Think about the evolution of sales training that many of us witnessed over the years.
Sales training in the workplace, residential sales training programs and public sales training courses were hugely popular. However, they never delivered results which would justify the significant expense incurred by businesses. As a result, companies started breaking training up into manageable ‘learning bites’, spreading the training over longer periods of time. This helped people absorb more, but the investment was still high. There was no acceptable or measurable ROI.
The nineties saw sales training jump on the innovation and technology bandwagon. When E-learning entered the market it was going to be what Amazon was to a local bookshop. It stripped the cost out of training people, allowed them to learn at their own pace from the comfort of their own home or work desk. All of it at the fraction of previous costs. Dial-in, dial out, job done.
Until people realised it had even less of an impact.
It transpired that without human element, e-learning was not going to have the palpable effect it promised.
The naughties witnessed the birth of blended learning. And again, little really changed. Nowadays huge amounts of money is being invested in residential immersive training, bootcamps, modular sequenced training delivery, e-learning, virtual coaching, blended learning.
The industry keeps on re-inventing the sales training wheel by re-packing itself, always suggesting that ‘this time it will be different’. ‘This time the technology/delivery style/innovation will make a tangible difference’, etc.
The fact of the matter is that all of the training delivery methods that we’ve talked about in the article, are capable of delivering long-lasting change and results.
Providing that the missing ingredient is added to the mix.
What’s the missing ingredient I hear you ask?
There is only one reason why sales training doesn’t produce results.
The reason is that the environment outside of the training room or the learning program is not set up to coach the new skills and behaviours into the business.
The sales leadership makes the mistake
of delegating the responsibility to change
onto the sales training program the sales trainer or sales team.
In reality the training course can only take the participant so far. It is the sales manager who needs to be on hand on day-to-day basis. They need to support, guide and coach the change they want to see, creating a new set of habits within the business.
The training course or trainer is responsible for challenging the status quo and leading the participants to understand the need for change. Once this has happened, they can train new behaviours and skills in the classroom. However, as soon as the training ends, the real learning takes place in the business: one where the sales leadership is on hand to complete the learning journey.
Stop re-investing in new sails and fix the real reason why your boat is not going faster.
If you have been searching for a sales training silver bullet, this is it:
The only real innovation that the world of sales training needs
is for the leadership to understand, that training only ever happens
when there is a robust partnership between the participant, manager and trainer.
So, how do we move forward from here?
There’s a number of things that sales leadership can do for this partnership to take on a shape:
1/ sales leaders need to contribute to the design of the training to ensure that the skills and behaviours trained will deliver the results / change that they are focused on;
2/ leaders and managers must be visible throughout the training; they need to clearly communicate to their team the reason for the training and that they will be following up with them after every training workshop;
3/ they must commit to that follow up using the new skills and behaviours trained as coaching handles
4/ they keep training alive by choosing high-performers and team champions to run training refreshers on regular basis.
If you would like to discuss the sales leadership engagement in your organisation in more detail and find out how the Longley Academy can apply this approach in your environment, we are here to help. Have an exploratory conversation with us.