Why Sales Training is a process, not a one-off activity

Many businesses see sales training as the panacea for all of their sales ills. Let’s send the sales team on some sales training and it will cure all of our sales problems. Whilst our business is all about sales training, we do have a number of issues with this:

  • Training by itself will not drive cultural change.
  • Without proper management, your salespeople will take one or two things from the training, at best.
  • As a sales training facilitator, I have no ongoing say over the activities of the salespeople. Once I have gone I have very little influence over them.

It’s easy for businesses to take the easy way out and send salespeople on sales training, thinking it will solve their problems. At the very least, managers feel they are doing something.

So what’s to be done? Consider this:

  • In an effective sales management scenario, the focus should be on skills development.
  • Prior to any training the manager should ask the salesperson what sales skills they believe they need to develop.
  • Following the training the manager should ask about what the salesperson learned at the training.
  • They should also ask about how they plan to put the skills learned into action.
  • They should then encourage the salesperson to put the skills into action over the forthcoming 2-3 weeks.
  • At the end of this period the sales manager should suggest they do a joint customer call with the salesperson for the purpose of giving them feedback on the skills identified.  https://www.hawthornbusinessgroup.co.uk/giving-feedback/
  • Should the skills require further development, a plan should be put in place for further shadowing sessions by the sales manager, or even further formal training.

Skills development is a complex subject and it’s only by ‘seeing the game where it’s being played’ – that is observing the salesperson during a customer interaction, can accurate and relevant feedback – positive and developmental – be given.

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Brendan Walsh