Provide context if you want sales training to actually stick

It’s a common concern: you invest in training, spend time and energy working with the trainer to set it up, devote valuable time to send employees to the training event… and nothing changes. When they return, it’s business as usual, and the training seems to have no impact whatsoever. What went wrong?In this post, Laura Livesey helps us understand how to make training stick, so that you can get the return on investment you are seeking.


How do you ensure that once the training is delivered that people do what you asked them to do? How do you know that it sticks?


The way that we have decided is necessary to evaluate people and to make people comfortable and confident that they are doing the right thing is to give them a measuring stick.

We suggest that your team knows exactly what it is that they are being measured with. And what they are being measured with is an actual system – a series of steps that they can confidently take on board just like they would with any other factor of their job.

And those metrics are specific aspects of a sales process that they can be evaluated on a 100-point scale and they can know exactly  if and where they are actually going off the sales process. So that they can then be given specific feedback so they know that they are actually doing their job right, or not, when it comes to selling.

Something that goes wrong often in a traditional or maybe historical sales training situation is that the trainer maybe comes in for a day or so and gives you a bunch of tips. What happens is that your technical team is then left to kind of grasp and try to figure out a way how they can put these tips into place. But without any formal structure, this goes out the window very quickly.

So what’s required is a system and method of going through a selling process that’s feels very comfortable. Once you have a selling process in place that technical person is very confident and knows that they actually can sell, and in fact they often can sell even better than a typical sales person might in a technical environment because they have the credibility, know exactly what they are offering, and have the confidence to sell effectively within the technical realm of their job.

Training needs follow up and evaluation. Non-sales professionals engaging in sales training benefit from follow up because selling is not the only thing they do. A good follow up system involves monitoring their adherence to the new process, monitoring conversion rates before and after training, and engaging in consistent check-ins to help participants (and their managers) overcome obstacles to change.

Training, done well, is actually a change management process. A good training company won’t just deliver a training event, they will provide you with a process (not just tips), and a context that provides you with an understanding of where the process fits in with the greater business function.

This illustration below shows our training process for the telephone, which is a part of our larger Patient Acquisition Model.


The illustration below shows how the telephone training process fits systematically into the greater business function (marketing and sales).


Without a roadmap, it’s really hard to know where new information fits into the greater whole. Good training introduces new information into the organisation. It’s important to give yourself the greatest chance of having this new information stick. As the common saying goes: “What gets measured gets done.” One of the best methods we’ve seen to help make something become adopted into everyday practice, is by presenting it as part of a greater system, and evaluating the implementation using easy evaluation tools so that everyone involved is clear on where they stand.