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Drive real results from sales training in 2022: Why the traditional model doesn’t work

Before I set up Flume, I didn’t believe you could drive real results from sales training. The content was forgotten quickly and there was no effort to embed it because sales leaders usually saw training as a quick fix.

I’ve seen how ineffective traditional sales training can be. Reps are given the tools to sell differently, but the problem is that they’re not held accountable to whether they actually use those tools.

The result? All you’re paying for is an expensive day out for your team.

At Flume, we set out to tackle this problem head on. It was clear that old school training didn’t work – we wanted to find out what did.

I’m incredibly proud that we’re now at a place where we’ve achieved that. Our clients tell us that our training is driving real change and at a time where being able to adapt is essential.

Where traditional sales training gets it wrong

In The future of sales development whitepaper, we talked about the three biggest mistakes with sales training:

  • Content isn’t engaging
  • It’s forgotten after the session
  • It’s doesn’t drive new habits

All too often, sales training is delivered in a single day and it’s only focused on teaching – not embedding and reinforcing. That’s why 90% of what’s learned gets forgotten in 30 days.

So, what actually works?

Three ways to drive real results from sales training

At Flume, we wanted to bring training to life through coaching and reinforcement, encourage reps to try new things in the real world and keep people accountable. That meant throwing the traditional training model out of the window.

We’ve tested a lot of different things over the years, particularly when the pandemic pushed training online.

Here’s what we’ve found works instead:

  • Powerful, bite-sized content: A combination of on-demand and live sessions fits around your team’s workflow and means content is there when they need it. To do this, we’ve partnered with the leading sales readiness platform Mindtickle
  • Content is easy to learn and action: Templates, tips, application videos and personalised action plans all help reps put new learnings into practice
  • Programmes drive best practice and accountability: Roleplays are incredibly effective for showing best practice and a gamification element makes it fun and competitive

How to build habits with training

Sales training is only as good as the habits it forms. I always reference the cone of learning when I’m talking about training, which is about the impact of demonstration and experience compared to just listening and watching.

The more you can bring learnings to life and make them feel practical, the more likely people are to turn them into real-life experiences.

I want to share some of the things we’ve learnt about building new habits in sales teams. The initial education is just the first step; it’s what comes after that will make or break your training.

  1. Attend training session
  2. Practice and demonstrate
  3. Celebrate and finesse
  4. Embed new habits

There are two things here that are really crucial. The first is giving your reps time to practice what they’ve learnt in that first session. If you rush into more training, they won’t have time to try new things, see what others have done and turn it into habits.

The second is celebrating and incentivising best practice, so that everyone can work towards improvement. That improvement might only be 1% or 5% each week – what matters is everyone on the team is inching forward, rather than just a handful.

I know encouraging reps to break out of old habits can be ridiculously hard. That’s why the best way to do it is to celebrate the people who’ve gone out, tried new things from the training and can share a demo of their approach.

It shows reps that if you can try something new, you’re the one who will get the recognition and the Amazon voucher, or whatever prize you want to offer.

Habits take around 21 days to make or break, so the combination of these steps – over a four-week period – is a great way to embed those new ways of selling.

Drive real results from sales training with Flume in 2022

Flume Sales Enablement is a powerful mix of live action coaching and on-demand content. It’s designed to turn new learnings into habits and give sales teams the tools, practice and motivation they need to sell at the highest level in 2022 – wherever they’re working. Talk to an expert or book a demo here.

Author: Raoul Monks