How to Make Sales Training Pay Higher Returns?

Perhaps, you too have assumed sales training was little more than a black hole that consumes a lot of budget and delivers very little in return. Realizing a better return on your training investment is indeed possible. The following ideas and insights will offer new ways to get sales training to boost both performance and profits!

Behavior is influenced by the skills that support it along with the results expected. Training outcome is a direct function of a quality intake.  That is, the better your skills and performance expectations are understood, the more training can be directed to improve those areas. The more accurately your needs are assessed, the better your training efforts address those needs, the greater the return on your training investment.

Grey Goals Beget Grey Results

Start first by clarifying your reasons for conducting training. This may sound obvious, but too often development initiatives are launched without identifying how performance is expected to change and how results will be specifically measured. Quality planning can make a considerable difference on the return training actually delivers.

Consider these common objectives as you clarify your sales training goals:

  • Increase Product Knowledge
  • Strengthen Company Knowledge
  • Clarify Performance Expectations
  • Improve Sales Skills
  • Develop Teamwork and Morale

In training, and in medicine, the prescription is only as good as the diagnosis. To maximize your investment, avoid generic programs and opt for those that build on the unique strengths and skills of your team. Generic programs offer generic short term results. Training tailored to meet your specific sales objectives by leveraging the unique strengths of your sales team provide the best sustained improvements for long-term productivity and ROI.

What Gets Measured Gets Managed

With today’s modern technology, sales knowledge and selling skills can be calibrated and assessed with a high degree of accuracy. After almost three decades of measuring sales talent for dental companies, we continue to observe a close correlation between the sales acumen of representatives and their overall performance. Assessment data provides valuable direction for designing and developing an effective sales training program that drive predictable outcomes.

Ask the following clarifying questions as part of your training planning efforts:

  • What are our strongest skills and where are we underdeveloped?
  • Is our sales performance consistent with our skills assessment?
  • What skill improvement strategy will meet or exceed our sales objectives?
  • What do we expect the short and long term returns on this effort?
  • What investments are we willing to make to achieve these objectives?

Getting Training to Stick

People forget about 75% of what they hear in approximately 24 hours. That’s the bad news.  The good news is that learning and retention can be dramatically improved if training is positioned to serve the individual needs and interests of its recipients. Changes in performance are the result of greater clarity on results expected, stronger skills and consistent reinforcement of applied learning methods.

There are several important considerations to increase retention:

Relevance: Does training content and techniques apply your customers, and your product in your selling situations? Training customization has a direct impact on how often reinforcement tools and concepts are used and applied by reps. To ensure your team will welcome the tools and techniques you offer—make sure they are not only real-world and have been proven successful in their world.

Frequency:  How often concepts and ideas are reinforced has a direct impact on their tendency to become habits. The old cliché is true, ‘what gets reinforced—gets repeated’.  Providing frequent opportunities to remember and apply key ideas from any training program is the best way to improve retention.

The frequency and relevancy of training methods will determine how well reps use and apply new concepts and skills. Reinforced skills and techniques will lead to lasting habits and ultimately improved performance over time.

Convenience:  Using learning reinforcement tools and techniques is like a gym—it must be convenient to be used. For example, audio programs make good use of ‘windshield time’ for field sales reps, while mini learning modules are perfect for busy telesales and customer service representatives.Convenient follow up methods reinforce learning and positively impact improvements in behavior and productivity.

Apply these proven principles with your sales team or find a training partner experienced to help you implement them.  Bigger and better performance is possible with a strong strategy and a tailored approach proven to work.

Take the first step in realizing your true sales potential with a complimentary Training Planning & Comparison Profile click HERE or call ANSIR International at 800-471-2619.


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