Sales managers and upper-level staff who are frustrated with training that does not produce the desired results often have fundamental misconceptions about how learning works. These misconceptions are the real reason that sales training is unable to achieve optimal ROI, not the materials or the pupils.
How do Salespeople Learn?
In order to maximize the effectiveness of sales training materials and attain the most ROI possible, management staff and key decision-makers will need to understand exactly what sort of environment leads to effective learning. In that light, here are five factors that contribute to sales learning success and better retention of training materials.
1. Shared Commitment and Engagement between Senior Staff
A 2014 Gallup poll revealed that the quality and engagement of management account for a 70% of variance in subordinate employee engagement scores. Simply put, management must feel invested in the training effort to the point where they are familiar with all of the content. They must also have working of how typical sales strategies relate to the training materials’ philosophy in order to adopt it within their own management style.
Even the bare minimum is better than nothing; Gallup’s research also indicated that a manager who holds regular meetings with their staff is likely to see around three times the level of typical engagement, on average.
2. Continuing Reinforcement
Industry research shows that sales training can have an immediate positive impact on employee performance. What it also shows is that these provable effects wear off quickly without any sort of follow-up: “90% of all sales training yields a 90-120 day bump before returning to pre-training levels.”
Training reinforcement through repetition, lessons focused on complementary skills and in-the-moment coaching can solidify concepts, turning one-time events into conditioned behaviors that lead to sales success.
3. Management Coaching
Going off a similar point to the above, management coaching can have a profound impact on the enduring effectiveness of training materials. Ventana Research even found that a combination of training and continual reinforcement through in-field coaching can quadruple the ROI of training expenses, from 22% to 88%.
4. A Blended Sales Training Approach
A survey conducted by the Chapman Alliance discovered that blended sales training approaches can significantly reduce the per-training-hour costs of implementing a training program across the organization. While in-person instructor-led training cost just under $6,000 per finished hour and from-scratch eLearning programs could cost up to $10,000 or more per hour, blending live instruction with self-paced eLearning and classroom learning had a per-finished-hour cost of just over $800.
5. A Culture of Learning and Upskilling
One of the biggest challenges to sales reps is the feeling that they are the only ones being asked to undergo training. The implicit message is that poor sales numbers are their fault. In reality, sales rep training is no more or less important than sales enablement training across all customer-facing departments. When everyone gets on-board with the idea that training can dramatically improve the customer’s buying journey, the organization clicks and productivity benefits.
Hit Your Sales Goals with Effective Training
All of these requirements for effective sales training cannot happen overnight, but if management understands the value and stresses the importance of a prescribed methodology, then everyone benefits.
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