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Three Reasons Sales Trainings Fail

Rising above traditional methods

 

According to the Harvard Business Review, U.S. companies spend $70 billion annually on training, which is an average of $1,459 per salesperson. This could be completely worthwhile if the ROI was reflectively high. However, studies show that employees undertaking traditional methods of sales trainings forget more than 80 percent of the information they were taught within the first 90 days.

 

Although this huge loss may seem superficially surprising, when we look at how traditional training programs are conducted, we realize that we cannot expect a better result. Unfocused, nonspecific, one-off trainings without follow up support or online training refreshers are common for many training programs, but such methods can also be fatal to their success. When these areas are addressed, sales training can become a vital tool for keeping your employees engaged and motivated, keeping your customers loyal and happy, and, ultimately, improving your profits.

 

Here are three main mistakes organisations make when carrying out their training programs:

 

1. Lack of Focus

 

A lack of focus around objectives and goals for a training is the first mistake organisations make when designing a training program. Simply saying that a team should ‘work harder’ or ‘close more deals’ is not specific enough. Every organisation really wants these outcomes, but they are too vague and do not specify which areas need to be targeted in a training program. Before jumping into a program, an organisation should take some time to analyse employees’ performances, sales data and customer feedback. They should talk to employees and find out what areas employees believe they are struggling in, plus an organisation should consult management or middle management teams. It is important to then set one or two goals describing what the training program should achieve, with the specificity of those goals being key. For example, goals could be as specific as, ‘to reduce discounted sales by 15% while increasing full price sales by the same amount,’ or ‘to increase repeat customer purchases by 10%’.

 


Before jumping into a program, an organisation should take some time to analyse employees’ performances, sales data and customer feedback.

 

With these highly focused goals, an organisation or a vendor can tailor a specific training program curriculum which addresses the key area or areas for improvement directly. For example, if there is a need to to increase repeat customer purchases, training topics should include the following: utilising follow up calls/ emails, encouraging customer reviews and feedback and keeping track of customer purchase behaviour to market complementary products. The exact goals don’t need to be shared with those attending the training; however, goals need to be directly addressed within the training program so that those skills are successfully obtained by the trainees.

 

2. Lack of Involvement from Management

 

Training programs always need support and participation from management, and management needs to provide ongoing support following each training program. A management team should be able to reinforce the new skills by being available for questions, providing feedback and giving encouragement. This also requires that an organisation supports its managers in their confidence in their ability to act as coaches to employees in order to foster an open, trusting environment within the workplace. Additionally, it is important to ensure that managers attend the trainings and are well aware of the desired results. A way to ensure this happens is by asking for a management team’s input when designing and implementing the training programs. If they are working directly with the employees in their positions within the organisation, then they will most likely have some good ideas for how to approach the program. Furthermore, it will empower managers to be actively engaged, motivated to see positive results and genuinely interested in taking part in follow up support. It is also important for management to reward employees or teams when there is an improvement following the sales training. In such cases, the opportunity for teambuilding among staff and managers can allow for a Additionally, it is important to ensure that managers attend the trainings and are well aware of the desired results.

 

A way to ensure this happens is by asking for a management team’s input when designing and implementing the training programs. If they are working directly with the employees in their positions within the organisation, then they will most likely have some good ideas for how to approach the program. Furthermore, it will empower managers to be actively engaged, motivated to see positive results and genuinely interested in taking part in follow up support. It is also important for management to reward employees or teams when there is an improvement following the sales training. In such cases, the opportunity for teambuilding among staff and managers can allow for a level of engagement that will also motivate everyone to accomplish the organisation’s goals together.

 


Training programs always need support and participation from management, and management needs to provide ongoing support following each training program.

 

3. Lack of Online Training Reinforcement

 

The lack of follow up training is a common mistake made by organisations. Revisiting the previously mentioned statistic of employees forgetting 80% of what was learned within the first 90 days following a training, this statistic proves the importance of refreshing and reinforcing training on a regular basis. Online training refreshers are also an excellent resource as they can be used by individuals at a time that is convenient for them. This specific tailored approach means that, with proper performance tracking, employees can be asked to review and refresh relevant topics as indicated by their performance. Such supplementary online training can be useful to also incorporate in smaller sessions for enhanced attention and a greater retention of information.

 

Evidently, the results of inefficient training are a liability to organisations and can ultimately result in lost profits. Training programs need to be focused with clear objectives and goals; be given support from management before, during and afterwards; plus be complemented with online training refreshers which can be accessed anytime by employees. With these additions to a sales training program, there are more opportunities for employees to become keenly aware of their skills, where they have room to grow, and how effective their current strategies are at meeting the goals of the organisation. Such advancements also have the potential to lead to not only a more organised and effective team, but a stronger collaborative energy within the office as well.

 

By Adon T. Rigg, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Insightful Selling Solutions and Founder, Professional Cleaning Academy