Why Sales Training Programs Fails
It has been observed that over 90% of all lessons learned in a sales course are lost within 90 days. Actually, many businesses do not observe any meaningful change in attitude and behavior after their salespeople go through a sales skills development course.
Many people use this as an excuse to cut investment in sales training and development budgets. Unfortunately, companies that struggle most train least, consequently they struggle more. A vicious cycle.
The problem normally is not that sales training does not work but the organization did not approach it the right way. When a sales course is designed, delivered, and reinforced well the returns justify continuous investment in training your salespeople.
We share some ideas we have seen work for most of our sales training clients.
Involve the Sales Trainer in Carrying out the TNA
Most sales training initiatives that fail do so before the actual training. Most training managers believe, rightly, that the most important preparation they can do is conducting a training needs analysis (TNA).
Carrying out a sales training needs analysis is an important step in preparing for training. Some firms jump into training after carrying out a haphazard and gut feeling identification of training areas.
The best practice is to involve the sales trainer in the development of the training need analysis tool, conducting of the same and analysis that follows. many firms conduct it on their own without the involvement of the trainers who will deliver the training course.
Part of the training needs analysis is identifying the explicit and implicit needs. It is to identify gaps that can be addressed through sales training and those that require other competency development approaches such as sales mentorship, role modeling, and coaching. A good sales trainer should be able to tell the difference.
The best sales trainer is one who has a good understanding of all sales competency development approaches. He will be able to advise on what is the best approach to address each sales competency gap.
Many businesses that seek sales training programs do so because their sales performance is unsatisfactory.
On carrying out the evaluation of their situation we find out that most of their issues cannot be addressed through sales training. Their performance could be an issue of wrong sales people for their sales roles and strategy, inadequate or weak sales management systems, lack of coherent sales strategy, lack of a systematic approach to selling among others.
However good a sales training program is rolled out for an organization that has these challenges it is unlikely to deliver the desired results.
The Sales Course Design
Many trainers have one course that they deliver to every other organization. This is convenient, easier, and cheaper for the trainer but not for the client. Customization of course content is a key element in course development. The content must be tailored to the training objectives, the skill level of the team, and the general context of the organization.
One of the biggest challenges in the world of training is when trainers develop a great training programme and get organizations to take it as it is in form and content. It is agreeable that there are many great courses out there. But, however good a program is, it requires customization for it to have maximum impact on a specific organization, especially at the point of application.
Trainers who desire to give the best value to their clients will go out of their way to understand the internal and external context of the organization in order to develop the most effective course content as well as a delivery plan to achieve the training objectives.
The Morning After the Sales Course
What happens after the sales course is complete more important than what happens during the delivery training. A well-designed course must have strategies, activities, and tools that will ensure that the lesson learned is put into action on the job.
The ‘feel evaluation’ at the end of sales training can only measure how much the participants were entertained during the course delivery but is inadequate to measure the effectiveness of a sales training programme.
The best measure of a sales course is the positive behavior change after the training. When preparing for sales training you would want to be sure that the trainer has a plan on how you are going to get maximum application of skills learned after the training. He might not be responsible for what happens after the training but he needs to give you what you need so that you can maximize your returns on training investments.