The Sales Training Program of the Future
In the prior installment of this series, I explored some of the major reasons that traditional approaches to training salespeople fail to deliver a suitable return on investment, and how sales training has evolved across the past three decades. In addition, I explored four distinct types of learning that, if thoughtfully combined, can provide an effective, ongoing development approach for sales professionals. Based on more than twenty years of experience in training national sales organizations and multiple independent research sources, I have defined a set of core principles for an ideal learning program for sales organizations. These principles specifically address the major barriers to successful sales training.
Continual Learning Program Principals:
Sales Process Alignment – Without a thorough understanding of the sales process (or processes) that enables your salespeople to align with buyers and close business, it is not possible to determine the types of competencies required for successful selling. As a result, most training initiatives omit critical training requirements completely. In addition, a sales process map also provides insight into sales tools and templates that provide the most impact for successful selling.
Objective Assessment and Measurement – Sales organizations need defined models for evaluating the knowledge and skills of sales professionals and managers. Without objective assessment and measurement, it is impossible to determine where gaps exist and how training investments impact the skills and abilities of the sales organization.
Realistic Training Plans – Training plans need to be layered over time, from basic concepts to more complex topics. Attempting to force too much learning content into a compressed timeframe is unrealistic, and yields little performance improvement. Role-based curriculum plans should lay out realistic, staged learning and reinforcement paths for salespeople and managers.
Comprehensive Curriculum – Many sales training initiatives focus on a single aspect of selling, such as opportunity management, and do not address many important competencies (e.g., targeting, account planning, accessing power, etc.) The “learning library” needs to comprehensively span sales planning, execution, and management disciplines. As salespeople acquire core selling competencies, they should progressively have access to curriculum “dial-ups” that lead to mastery in advanced selling skills, such as negotiation, selling to executives, value selling, etc.
Make it a champion Day!
Brandon K. Hardison – Champion Strategies