Why Sales Shadow Training Doesn't Work

We’ve all been there and done that when it comes to shadow training on the job. A new sales rep shows up for the first day of new sales rep onboarding and they are quickly ushered into a jam packed schedule of shadowing different employees at the organization. The hope is that this new employee is able to soak up information from top performing sales reps and instantly be successful at their job.

While it is a great ice breaker and a good way for new employees to get acquainted with some new members of their team, you shouldn’t expect shadow training alone to propel your new hires to sales success.

Disadvantages of Shadow Training

  1. For one, existing employees groan and moan when they hear about job shadowing. Your goal is to put the new sales rep with your top performers so they learn from the best. However, your top performers are often the busiest, and don’t have time to hand hold a new employee through their sales training onboarding. In your dream scenario, your top performer is indulging the new hire on top trade secrets and strategies for success. In reality, they’re probably engaging in small talk and grabbing a coffee.
  2. Second, each one of your sales reps has their own personal style. If your new hire meets with several top performers to try and soak up some of their skills, it’s likely they will receive inconsistent training because each rep may perform tasks differently. You may even run the risk of having new employees skip out on required procedures and protocols immediately after hire, because they see top performers ignoring the rules as well.
  3. Thirdly, even if your new sales hires do pick up some valuable tips during shadow training, there is no good process for them to keep and regularly access the information. At best, your new hire is carrying around a little notepad and jotting down some key words here and there. At worst, your new hire doesn’t even bring a pen to this portion of their new sales rep onboarding. They may be all revved up to get selling after their shadowing schedule, but the next day they’ll immediately forget everything they learned.
  4. Lastly, shadow training has absolutely no shred of accountability. Want to know how your new hires are doing during new sales rep onboarding? Want to know how much information they are absorbing during sales training? Want to know how ready they are to hit the field? Well forget about it. Shadow training offers no way for sales leaders to track and manage the training process for their new hires.

We’re not saying you have to cut shadow training out of your life like a bad relationship, just realize it’s not the most effective method of sales training. Consider shadow training an opportunity to introduce your new hire to the team and give them some different perspectives into your organization.

Shadow Training Alternatives

Hopefully you’re starting to realize shadow training is not your golden ticket to new hire sales training and onboarding. So what should you use instead?

Let’s start by listing some must-haves:

  • A solution that won’t suck away critical selling time from your top performing sales reps
  • Ability to control what information your new hires are receiving, so there is a high level of consistency
  • Capability to monitor, track, and assess the progress your new hire is making
  • Mobile access to learning materials that your new hires can reference as they need
  • Built in mechanism that hold your new hires accountable and tests the knowledge that they’re supposed to be learning

This may seem like an impossible list or will cost more than you have in your sales training budget, but the great news is, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. There are already sales training software solutions that offer these types of capabilities at an incredibly reasonable price.

Leveraging Sales Training Software Solutions

The truth of the matter is, shadow training can’t even begin to tackle the sales training must-haves we’ve listed above. The good news is, a sales training software can meet all of your needs and help you onboard new sales reps faster.

The good news is, a sales training software can meet all of your needs and help you onboard new sales reps faster.

Online learning platforms geared towards sales teams offer the following types of benefits, and features:

  • Create custom learning modules
  • Quizzes and other interactive knowledge checks
  • Video role-playing and coaching to practice sales rep pitches, conversations, and real-time answers in response to training
  • House learning materials with mobile access
  • Increase communication between team members
  • Save top pitch videos, communication responses and examples for other team members to learn from
  • Monitor and track progress of sales training

And that’s just the beginning.

If you’ve been dedicated to the shadow training process for way too long and are just surfacing for air, you’re probably wondering where to head next. Before you jump into any new sales rep onboarding decisions too quickly, do your research and find out how to choose a elearning technology solution that’s perfect for your organization.

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