Today’s post is by Anita Greenland, vice president of sales at The Brooks Group, where she brings 25+ years of customer service, sales, sales management, and sales training experience. In her role, Anita is responsible for leading and executing The Brooks Group’s sales growth strategy.
A sales training initiative is a worthwhile investment that can permanently shift your sales team’s performance. It’s critical, however, that you take the necessary steps to maximize the return on your investment of time and resources.
To produce permanent behavior change and get the most from your training dollars, be sure to incorporate the following five steps into your reinforcement program.
1. Strategically Develop Your Sales Training Reinforcement Structure
The Forgetting Curve shows us that new knowledge is typically forgotten within days or weeks of sales training – unless the material is consciously reviewed. Give your sales training the best chance to succeed by planning your reinforcement structure ahead of time.
Your reinforcement structure should include regular opportunities for salespeople to review key concepts during sessions with their coaches – either virtually or in person. There should also be opportunities for reps to practice the concept with a customer or prospect, with access to the coach to answer questions and assist with any challenges that arise.
2. Engage Expert Sales Coaches with Real Selling Experience
The person coaching your sales team should not only be highly skilled at coaching, but should also have real industry experience to draw from. Your salespeople must trust their coach and their advice, and they’ll quickly be able to tell if a trainer or coach has real selling experience or not.
Make sure your sales coaches meet the following requirements:
- Highly experienced in the sales process in which your sales team is trained
- Comfortable with your sales strategy and business objectives
- Trained in adult learning best practices
- Fluent with the sales enablement software and tools used in the reinforcement
3. Train and Equip Your Frontline Sales Managers
After your training and reinforcement programs have been delivered, your sales managers will be the primary source of direction and leadership for your sales reps. Unfortunately, many organizations fail to adequately set up their sales managers for success.
Sales management training is critical to give your sales managers the coaching skills they need to be a resource and guide for your salespeople. Give your managers a practical coaching system and a framework for keeping the new selling skills alive inside your team with the correct training.
4. Establish a Consistent Sales Training Reinforcement Cadence
On average, it takes 66 days for a new skill to become a habit. Therefore, you must reinforce new skills consistently for 6-8 weeks – ideally right after training – at a cadence that is appropriate for the material and your sales team’s existing capabilities and knowledge.
Establishing a dedicated cadence prevents salespeople from reverting to old habits. By sticking to regular reinforcement check-ins and skill refreshers, you will help make skills learned in training the “new normal” for your sales team.
Tip: Hold sessions on the same day and time each week to improve attendance and accountability.
5. Measure and Track Sales Training Success
It’s important to measure and track success at various intervals along the way during your reinforcement program.
With the right sales enablement tools, you can give coaches and stakeholders from the organization insight into how each participant is progressing. This information reveals challenge areas that need targeted coaching and helps develop ongoing coaching plans.
Consider conducting ROI surveys after training to identify critical success markers, including:
- Changes in average sales amount
- Changes in length of sales cycle
- Performance to quota
- Additional sales that reps attribute to training
- Increase in sales volume as a result of training and reinforcement
- Specific behaviors, training, and reinforcement activities that yield the largest changes in results
Conclusion: Maximize ROI on Sales Training
When choosing a training partner, look for one that provides best-in-class reinforcement tools and systems to help you build on the momentum of the training and solidify new behaviors. Doing so will maximize your ROI and make both your short- and long-term goals easier to reach.
The IMPACT Sales Coaching System uses industry-leading reinforcement tools in an engaging and collaborative format to guide participants to apply new selling skills with real accounts. The system will help solidify your sales training and maximize your ROI.