The 3 failures of leaders that result in unsuccessful sales training outcomes
The implementation of sales training is no guarantee for success. Even positive outcomes are quickly forgotten if there is no reinforcement from leaders.
Sales training, indeed training of any kind, is a big investment. With so many resources going into upskilling, it’s essential that the sales training your team receives generates the most positive possible outcome.
Unfortunately, there are very few of us who haven’t experienced ineffective training. So how do you ensure that the outcomes of your training sessions are truly valuable?
It’s not all down to the trainer. Yes, making sure you choose quality training for your team is the first important step; however, good in-house leadership is crucial to implementing the lessons learned, making change possible and inspiring your team to put new theory into practice.
Without strong leadership, even the highest quality sales training will be quickly forgotten. Here are 3 key leadership mistakes which make for unsuccessful post-training outcomes…
A common mistake is to assume the lessons learnt during training are instantly fully ingrained. Learning is a process, not an event. It’s vital to re-engage your team with the training’s key messages over the longer term.
The classic post-training pattern is to see an initial improvement in sales followed by a gradual return to the status quo. If you fail to reinforce the training while the lessons are still fresh in their minds, your team will be back to square one in a matter of weeks.
Follow-up meetings which encourage employees to talk about what they have learned – and how to apply it to their work – will ensure the key tenets of their training stick. Failure to capitalise on training in this way can result in short-term thinking, poor planning and difficulty grasping how small details add up to the bigger, better picture.
Training will often highlight a gap in resources, knowledge or processes. It’s all very well seeing where you’re going wrong, but fixing the gap is another matter altogether. Poor leaders frequently fail to act when training sessions demonstrate the need for an upgrade. This stops positive training outcomes in their tracks and deprives team members of the equipment or information they need to make beneficial changes.
Whether you’re suffering from a technological shortfall, a lack of skills or a hole in the resources available to your team, it’s important to make positive change possible. This might involve arranging a new CRM system or bringing in headsets to improve your team’s productivity. Whatever your team need to act upon their training, putting the right arrangements in place should be your first priority.
It’s not always easy to motivate a team to change for the better. The comfort zone is easy to fall into, and far more difficult to escape. Such apathy makes it increasingly challenging to turn valuable lessons into practice. This is precisely where strong leadership will come into its own.
It is the job of a leader to enforce positive change and turn newly learnt theory into a different way of working – even in the face of determined resistance. Implementing change successfully is not about making friends, it’s about having the strength of vision to ensure positive developments are made and important lessons are learned.
So what does good leadership look like?
Now you know how not to enforce positive training outcomes, it’s time to consider how a leader should act to squeeze every last drop of valuable juice from a successful sales training session. There are certain key traits strong leaders share which are crucial to ensuring the effectiveness and profitability of sales training over the long term. These include:
Continuity is the key to a successful training programme. One-off sessions rarely add up to a significant or lasting improvement. Instead, a series of sales training sessions incorporating reviews, evaluations, meetings and discussions will help your team to grow and incorporate changes smoothly.
An enthusiastic and open-minded approach to training will encourage your team to engage and make improvements. Encouraging feedback is a particularly effective method of identifying and removing obstacles and talking through any objections to change.
When something stands between a business and a positive training outcome, strong leaders work hard to remove the issues which hold a team back. Whether it’s investing in essential upgrades or taking on new team members with fresh skill sets, responsiveness and decisiveness is crucial.
Have you suffered from poor training outcomes in the past? Do you pride yourself on the positivity your team brings to seminars and new developments? What’s your approach to training? We’d love to find out. Please contact us if you feel you and your team would benefit from sales training with us.