An ES research study found that approximately 90% of all sales training has no lasting impact. Given how much time and money goes into putting this training together, that’s a pretty staggering statistic. So, what’s at the heart of this problem? This article shares common mistakes that can cripple the effectiveness of even the best sales training programs.
Putting together courses that sharpen your team’s skills is no small feat. It requires careful planning, sharp execution, and thoughtful analysis. This can take loads of time, money, and resources. So, once a program is complete, it’s only natural to want to squeeze as much mileage out of it as possible.
However, recycling content is a mistake. The business landscape is constantly changing. Sales practices and processes that previously worked may now miss the mark. So, recycling old content keeps your team stuck in the past instead of pushing them forward.
Also, regurgitating the same information year after year can cause your team to tune out. So, keep your content fresh and relevant. Sales training experts say it’s best to update your program every 18 to 24 months.
Not making learning interactive
When learning sessions are heavy on theory and light on interactivity, retention rates plummet. A study by Brainshark found that employees only remember 10% percent of what they hear. To boost those numbers, incorporate activities that get your reps thinking and interacting with the material.
For example, use role-playing exercises to simulate real-world sales situations. Gamification can also inject friendly competition and make things more fun. A study by Baylor University found that when people play games, they’re more likely to remember what they learned.
Using a cookie-cutter approach
Cookie cutter and off-the-shelf programs have their appeal. They’re relatively more pocket-friendly and you can roll them out quickly. The downside is that they rarely match your company’s specific needs, which means your team isn’t getting the best possible sales training.
To get the most bang for your buck, tailor a program to your specific needs. Start by looking at your team’s recent performance. Then compare this to your goals. This will give you a clear idea of the areas that need improvement. Also, poll your team to find out what they think would make them more effective.
Not providing post-training support
Once the program is over, it’s easy to assume that your team has the skills and knowledge they need to be successful. However, without strong reinforcement, most of what they learned during training gets quickly forgotten. A study by Bersin & Associates found that learners typically need 3-4 rounds of instruction to apply new skills confidently.
So, plan for post-training support. You could provide online resources they can reference when they need a refresher. This might include cheat sheets, best practices guides, and tip sheets. You can also create a digital space where they can ask questions and get feedback from their peers.
Regular check-ins are also a great way to ensure your team stays firmly on track. This gives them a chance to ask questions and clear up any confusion. Whatever route you choose, make sure it’s in place before training kicks off. Showing your team that you’re invested in their success will go a long way in ensuring they’re engaged and motivated.
Lack of top management support
If management isn’t on board, your team won’t be either. So, secure their buy-in from the start. This can pump up morale and get everyone excited about the program. Also, it ensures you have the resources you need to make the program a success.
Top-line managers are more easily sold on the benefits of training if they see a direct correlation to the bottom line. So, show them how the program will impact key metrics. For example, sales numbers, customer satisfaction, and employee retention. Also, get them involved in the planning process. When management feels ownership of the program, they’re much more likely to throw their support behind it.
Training can have a profound impact on your company’s bottom line. However, any of these mistakes can jeopardize its impact. By being aware of them, you can avoid the pitfalls and set your team up for sales success.