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Why Sales Training Should be Continuous to be Effective

March 26, 2018 by Josh Dhaliwal
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Why Sales Training Should be Continuous to be Effective

Sales training is a topic close to my heart. I don’t just sell companies our Sales Enablement solution and then ride off into the sunset – I like to stick around and provide training to make sure users are getting the most out of iPresent. After all, just investing in a Sales Enablement Platform doesn’t automatically improve sales and marketing alignment or boost sales – you have to actually use it (and then it’s like magic, as these Sales Enablement stats prove!). 

One of the things I’ve noticed over the course of my career is how rarely businesses provide continuous training opportunities. As with many things on our ‘to do’ list, training is often initiated with a burst of enthusiasm that quickly subsides with an assumption of ‘well that’s that, all done’. It’s kind of how I feel about going to the gym, to be honest. But just like burpees, training needs to be done more than once if it’s to have any real benefit.

Let’s take a look at why sales training should be continuous to be effective at keeping your sales team engaged and performing.

 

Sales teams implementing post-training reinforcement
see 20% more reps achieving quota.

Criteria for Success

 

1. The Forgetting Curve

There is research out there that shows that people will have forgotten about 50% of what was presented within one hour of the information being presented. Within 24 hours, they have forgotten an average of 70% of new information, and within a week that’s up to 90%.

You want me to conduct weekly training sessions? I hear you cry. Fear not. There is hope. Further research shows that if you ask people to recall what they’ve learned in the days and weeks after the training, the stats change. Put simply, it’s a case of ‘use it or lose it’. So if you want to make more of your training dollars, you need to insist that trainees are finding ways to put what they’ve learned into practice, whether by sharing their learning with the rest of the team or by illustrating that they’ve implemented those learning outcomes in their sales practices.

 

2. Continuous training results in 50% higher net sales per employee

This is one of those oft-repeated, rarely sourced stats available on the internet, but given my personal experience I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt and say I can well believe it. Training your employees has so many benefits:

  • Investing in employee’s development increases engagement and happiness. Happy people tend to work harder and smarter.
  • Talking of smart, employees that receive effective training are better equipped to do their jobs. Simple as that.
  • Happy, engaged employees doing well at their jobs are less likely to look for work elsewhere.

 

7 out of 10 employees say that training and development
opportunities influence their decision to stay with a company

Shift

 

 

For every additional year a closer works for the same
sales organization, deal size increases by 30%.

Inside Sales

3. Face to face vs online training

This is a tricky one. I’ve done and continue to do both online and in-person training and we’ll always offer the face-to-face option, even if it involves a 26-hour return flight for a 4-hour training session. (Yes, I’ve done that.) The reality is there are pros and cons to both methods.

Face-to-face training has all the benefits of an in-person meeting. You can build a relationship with trainees, you can judge how well the training is being received and you can easily adapt the course of the conversation to whatever it is that the company or individuals are most interested to learn.

Face-to-face delivery offers a lot more shebang for your buck than a webinar. In fact, some of our clients choose to launch iPresent at their quarterly or biannual sales meetings, to get the benefit of having everyone in one place for a first demonstration/initial training. It’s a great way to build enthusiasm for the project and to ensure everyone is receiving the same message in the same way at the same time.

That being said, it’s not practical for all our clients to offer their salespeople an in-person training opportunity. Their teams are simply too busy and too spread out – these are some of the reasons they’ve decided they need a Sales Enablement Tool in the first place.

Additionally, conducting more regular, easily digestible training on a regular basis is much more practical online than it is face-to-face. For some people a weekly series of 10-minute webinars that help them get to know one feature of the product at a time is preferable to a full-day workshop that takes them away from their regular work and gives them too much to think about all at once.

The ideal solution, as the Training article suggests, depends on the topic, content and user group. Personally, I will defer to the client on this since they know their employees and scheduling challenges better than I do, but if I had a choice I would go for a mix. Launch in person, build the relationship, and then follow-up with a continuous, bitesize training offering over the course of months rather than weeks.

SMART training goals

35% of CSOs are unsure what measurable
improvements they seek from training investments
.

Criteria for Success

All the training in the world won’t do you any good if you don’t know what you hope to get out of it. Whether you plan annual, quarterly, monthly or more regular training for your sales team, make sure you are setting SMART training goals. That’s: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely, to the uninitiated. Ensure the trainees also understand what the goal of the session is so that they can feedback to you on whether it’s working for them, or whether you need to try a different tack.

Good luck and let us know how you get on! 

What kind of training do you have in place for your salespeople? We’d love your thoughts on this!

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