bookquestionIs training your sales team a waste of time and money? Quite possibly.

Did you know that adults forget 87 percent of what they learn without follow-up or reinforcement? Sales training is not an event; it’s a behavioral change. It takes time to learn new skills, practice those skills, and get comfortable applying them.

Many sales leaders schedule training sessions, pat themselves on the back for investing in their teams, and consider their mission accomplished. But for any type of training to be effective, it requires reinforcement and one-on-one coaching. Management needs to set goals based on the new skills, coach their people, and then hold them accountable.

Is Your Training DOA?

How often have you attended a fantastic training session and left with every intention of implementing all the great things you learned?

Then reality sets in. You go back to work, excited to practice your new skills, only to find that it’s business as usual. Managers hold you to the same sales activities as before.

I’ve had participants in my referral-selling program tell me, “I don’t know why they brought you in. They’re still making us cold call.” What a waste of time and money!

What’s the Problem?

Most managers are busier than ever before—balancing the needs of their teams with directives from higher up. They simply don’t have time to reinforce new skills—even if they want to do so. And in many cases, they haven’t received proper training themselves. That’s why most training fails. It isn’t linked to an overall corporate strategy, so it’s just an event.

It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way

If you want your next training session to be successful, stop and think through the changes you want to implement, plan your strategy to reinforce what your team has learned, and make the time to invest in your people. Otherwise, save your company some money and don’t even bother.

In a report by The TAS Group, “The Key Role of the Sales Manager,” researchers found that managers only spend 37 percent of their workdays on leadership activities like:

  • Planning—15%
  • People development—11%
  • Proactive review—11%

Instead, they spend 55 percent of their time on counterproductive activities:

  • Firefighting and reacting to urgent issues—23%
  • Reporting to management—12%
  • Administrative tasks—15%
  • With customers—13%

Sure, all of these tasks are important functions of a sales manager’s job description, but nothing is as important for someone in a leadership role as leading. That means making time to invest in your most valuable sales asset—your people.

Comment Here

Share your best and/or worst training stories. How did follow-up and reinforcement (or lack thereof) make a difference in your success at implementing what you (and/or your team) learned?