There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all sales team, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that off-the-shelf sales training programs aren’t nearly as effective as customized programs. Many factors come together to form a sales organization’s unique culture, and those same factors should be considered when building a sales training curriculum that has maximum impact.
Here are three reasons why customization is key in a sales training program:
You’ll get buy-in from the learners
Based on our experience, most sales groups are more interested in spending time in the field with customers and prospects than in a classroom. Because engaged, enthusiastic learners retain training material at much higher rates, gaining buy-in from salespeople early in the program is crucial to drawing them in and seeing the benefits of participating.
Customization makes selling the program to reps less of a challenge, especially if you involve key people such as successful reps and respected managers in the customization process. Seeing familiar terminology and models that are directly applicable to their day-to-day selling situation diminishes resistance that might otherwise cause them to shut down. Instead of questioning whether the solution will really help them or not, customized curriculum presents them with information that logically ties to their everyday selling activities. Thorough customization transforms resistant learners into active participants.
Individual learning styles are taken into account
Everyone learns differently, and adult learners especially, benefit from a tailored learning experience. Incorporating assessments into a sales training program allows the larger learning trends of a sales team to be reflected in the curriculum, and results in higher levels of engagement and retention.
If a sales team is largely comprised of fast-paced learners, for instance, bullet points and visuals are usually most effective. Other groups will be driven to seek more detail, and that should be reflected in the program presentation. Customizing sales training with assessments gives sales reps the chance to learn in a way that is easiest and most effective for them.
The training can be seen as immediately applicable
Creating a training curriculum that reflects the day-to-day realities of a sales team not only builds credibility in the eyes of the participants, but it also bridges the gap from theory to real-world application. Attendees who see how the training will be immediately useful to them will be committed to learning the concepts and will be less likely to revert back to old habits after the program is completed.
The more mental leaps a sales training participant is forced to make on their own, the less likely they will be to take the training into the field and use it. Customized training reduces the effort required of sales reps to apply the learned material and improves the likelihood that it will be adopted.
The same principles apply to the reinforcement solution that should take place after the sales training is delivered. The quality of coaching a sales rep receives from a sales manager is highly correlated with motivation and performance levels, so a customized coaching methodology is just as important as the initial sales training in driving sales effectiveness. To ensure that reinforcement is effective and capable of solidifying lasting results, the content and methodology must be designed in a way that reflects the unique sales team and individual contributors.