No one can deny the importance of sales training, but it’s also undeniable that the impact of sales training is questionable. Organizations spend an average of $954,070 on sales training every year, but up to 80 percent of new skills are lost within one week of training if they are not used. According to ATD, 43 percent of sales enablement professionals believe that their organization’s senior leaders find value in sales training to a high or very high extent; 16 percent feel that their senior leaders see little or no value.
Despite such statistics, we continue to follow old practices of sales training. This is a serious problem not only from an ROI perspective. It’s also a challenge in reducing employee turnover, especially among millennials, who are always on the lookout for professional development and constant coaching.
Improving sales performance in large part involves skills that require bringing about behavior changes, which not everyone is willing to do. With business’ rapid rate of change, sales training can no longer be a once-in-a while phenomenon. Instead, it should be a continuous effort that updates learners about new product features and checks the impact of previous training. Here a few ways to make modern sales training more effective.
Harness the power of technology.
50 percent of sales training professionals believe content isn’t engaging enough.
By now, every generation is embracing the digital revolution. Almost anyone with a mobile phone uses it for content consumption in some way. With any kind of information accessible in a matter of minutes, sitting in a classroom listening to training for hours does not appeal to most learners. Learning modules must be accessible at any time over any device, offering learners the flexibility to consume content when they want to.
Companies are also opening up to the idea of a remote workforce, which they also need to train. Training should go beyond long presentations, giving learners the power by providing access to an unlimited pool of resources. Instead giving them answers, we can give learners the pieces of the puzzle and allow them to seek answers themselves.
Constant learning is crucial.
Only one in three sales trainers feels their current training programs are effective.
Learning cannot be a one-time phenomenon. The information we need to know changes every day. Continuous learning is especially important in sales, because products, markets and consumer preferences are always changing. This critical information must be constantly updated and made available with notifications and technical support that guide content consumption.
Organizations should incorporate the right kind of technology into their training programs to keep learners engaged and up to date. The content matters, but so does the way it is delivered. Sessions should be brief and to the point. It’s also important to set refreshers with features such as peer interaction, engaging assessments, and roleplays and games to enrich employees’ knowledge in creative ways and improve participation levels.
Don’t leave learners alone.
84 percent of all sales training is lost after 90 days.
While learners enjoy finding their own answers, some assistance is also required. Manager coaching and feedback is crucial at every stage of the learning process. It is important that managers are seen as coaches and mentors who care about the way their subordinates learn. Unless and until bosses begin participating in their employees’ learning, most training programs might be a complete waste.
To enable this feedback, learning technologies should allow for measuring learning and analyzing trends at individual as well as cumulative levels. Data analytics can help L&D experts understand and pinpoint what’s working and what is not and suggest areas for improvement. Managers should set measurable goals for learners to strive toward professional excellence, as non-definition of targets can be confusing and demotivating. Setting regular and measurable goals will make sure learners know the exact benchmark toward which they should be working.
Bhaswati Bhattacharyya is a product specialist at Capabiliti, a mobile-first training and engagement solution for enterprises. Passionate about economics, Bhaswati also loves storytelling. She has a keen interest in startups, food and travel. Follow her on Twitter @Bhaswatibh.