Here are some broad, sweeping generalizations that are typically also true.
We know that:
Most organizations do not maximize their sales training investments to get a significant payback or ROI.
Sales training without knowledge sustainment (remembering what was taught), skill transfer (applying skills on the job), and sales coaching (to develop skills mastery), does not increase sales performance.
Sales coaching produces results. Organizations where sales coaching is emphasized, perform better.
Sales managers are very busy and struggle to find time to coach, especially when they have to schedule travel to observe their reps in action. Therefore, not enough coaching occurs.
Effective learning systems
I’ve written and spoken for years about what I call “effective learning systems,” which ensure the right training content gets taught well, sustained, transferred and coached, as well as integrated into performance management practices and managed as a change project.
When sales training leaders and front-line sales managers partner well, the results can by dynamic and impressive. Typically, though, while the results are great, this has required a lot of effort on the part of sales managers.
Today, due to the explosion of technology and sales enablement tools, we have options that can help us address this problem and reduce some of the burden on managers to enable more sales coaching.
Here is one simple way that you create an ecosystem of support to maximize your training investments, improve rep’s knowledge retention and skill usage, and empower managers to coach more easily than before… all of which, done well, will dramatically improve sales results.
Creating an ecosystem of sales support
Sales Training: Learning the right content and skills that produce real-world results.
Assess and test at the end of training to ensure the training content was learned.
Knowledge Sustainment: Using a knowledge reinforcement system, like Qstream, to test content over time, using scientific reinforcement principles.
Assess and test over time to increase retention and ensure the training content is remembered.
Skills Transfer: Using a virtual/video coaching system, like Brainshark for Coaching, to validate that the rep can DO something, or use the skills that were learned and remembered.
Prove the rep can do it, in a safe, simulated setting, where skills can be practiced, recorded, submitted, reviewed, verified, and coached.
Coaching to Mastery: Using a virtual/video coaching system to coach the reps’ responses to video challenges – a virtual role play session.
In addition to observation in the field or on the phone with customers (which is still necessary), these recorded skill-practice sessions allow managers to coach reps to mastery on skill usage, without (always) having to accompany them on sales calls.
These simple ideas are not difficult to implement, yet can make a major difference in the adoption of sales training and the results that you get from it. They also support a sales coaching culture, which improves overall sales performance. Watch for more on the power of sales coaching and how to enable it, over the coming weeks and months.