In sales, like life, you get out what you put in. Just as an athlete training using modern techniques will outperform a competitor sticking with outdated methods, so a sales team drawing on best practice for today’s market will outshine their rivals.
The problem is that it can be hard to know what effective training looks like and what results to expect. In this blog we outline the three key criteria you should always consider when buying sales training.
By following these steps, you will be better placed to invest in training that produces a measurable impact on sales performance and boosts your training ROI. Change your expectations – expect more.
The three-step process to take the risk out of sales training
Leaders often want to invest in training in order to make their sales team ‘better’. That’s a noble aim, but a vague goal.
Your reason for purchasing sales training needs to be crystal clear and the outcome should be measurable. If you aren’t confident training is going to help you hit KPIs or improve results, forget it. No impact, no point.
Make sure sales training is:
- Easy to measure: Training needs to be built to drive specific KPI’s and easy to assess. Measurement allows you to prove the case for training to internal stakeholders.
- Has the right content: Content must take a modern approach and be designed to influence today’s buyer – making it easier for them to buy.
- Easy to embed: Training should shift long-term behaviour of sales teams. If the methods and techniques aren’t easy to apply or keep at the forefront of one’s mind, results won’t come.
Let’s break it down.
Step one: Easy to Measure
To measure the impact of training, you must have a clear idea of where you are starting from.
Begin by asking what the KPIs are you want to improve. What will have a real impact on results? It could be quicker decision making or obtaining a higher yield from individual sales.
Another key phase of step one is benchmarking. Driving KPI performance requires improvements in the right sales ‘behaviours’ within your team. You need to know what good looks like so you can drive the sales team towards it. Benchmarks allow behavioural measurement, helping you identify where training has been a success or where adjustments must be made.
Many sales training programmes aren’t built with a focus on shifting KPIs but rather around needs such as ‘key account management’ or ‘consultative selling’. As a result, you can’t measure their true value.
By focusing on KPIs and benchmarks before you choose your training provider, you are better placed to select training that has a genuine and demonstrable impact on sales.
Step two: The right content
Today’s clients buy in a completely different way to a few years ago. Sales is no longer about cosy one-to-one relationships between salesperson and buyer. Most buyers now have to justify their purchasing decision to 5.8 other stakeholders. The way you sell has to reflect this.
You need to know any external help you bring in for your training has created content that’s fit for purpose today. Seeing and selling through the client’s ‘point of view’ is critical and the approach taken by sales performance providers must revolve around this perspective.
The content and delivery of your training should focus on creating a sales process that makes it easier for your clients to say ‘yes’, such as the CHANGE – CHOOSE – CHAMPION model. Think ‘easy buy = easy sell’. If your team can understand what top sales professionals do differently to the rest, they can aspire to be the best.
Step three: Easy to Embed
A champion boxer once said that “everyone has a plan until they get smacked in the mouth”. In other words: theory is one thing but executing under the pressure of real life is something else.
Potential training providers have to be able to lay out how the techniques taught to your team will be embedded so they become second-nature. If training looks complex, be wary. Changing behaviours is hard. Simplicity makes it easier to keep new techniques in mind and to apply them.
87% of training insights are lost within a month if there is no on the job reinforcement (Gartner). However, if training is combined with ongoing coaching, results are four times better than when training alone is used. It’s about creating new habits and being able to hold managers and learners accountable.
Great sales leaders need great sales training
To drive sales success, you need to shift your mindset about what training can do. If your team trains right, it will perform right. You’ll have created the conditions for it to thrive, rather than just survive.
Raise your expectations, turn the dial up to 10 and you’ll get the results and ROI you need.
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