Sales Training as the Launching Pad for Sales Transformation

sales training

Sales Training & Transformation

You’ve heard me say this before. Sales Transformation in an organization happens via sales training – when you change the behaviors of individuals. Address sales training and tools as part of this effort. Changing selling behaviors is vital. We must change the DNA, the very culture of an organization. This is a huge task and obstacle for transformation.

Sales training is the “launching pad” for the entire endeavor. It plays a prominent role. Consequentially, it should promote both understanding and recall. This facilitates behavior change. Sellers must clearly see how new methodologies apply to their day-to-day activities. Furthermore, they must understand/accept the impact of doing so. As a result, it’s important to think about the following when you design sales training programs.

Sales Training: Experience and Credibility

Sometimes, trainers/facilitators have no practical experience. As a result, they can’t demonstrate new skills in a believable fashion. In this case, students experience tremendous difficulty seeing how new skills apply to reality. Instructors become far more believable if they have a successful sales background. Sellers can effectively demonstrate how new skills apply through practical experience.

The Facilitation of Incremental Change

Sales Transformation doesn’t mean everything changes at once. Changing everything NOW is not just improbable, it’s impossible. Break the process down into bite-sized pieces. Each piece must stand on its own logic and truth. Sales transformation happens by changing one behavior at a time. Design the program with this in mind. Furthermore, tools should facilitate mastery of each individual piece of the process.

Sales Training Integration

Programs like SFA, CRM, and product/management training MUST support the formal process. Metrics need to align with the methodology and measure a discussion of behavioral change. This goes far beyond simple results.

Alignment of Sales Training and Marketing

To be effective and supportive, all lead generation programs, support materials, presentation templates, and product releases must be concerted and align with the formal sales process.

Prepare Managers as Coaches

We have witnessed many attempts to transform sales organizations fail. This is because only sales reps attend sales training. However, managers possess more exposure than sales reps. Essentially, leadership should attend exactly the same training as their direct reports. Managers can’t reinforce a formal sales process without deeply understanding the process. Additionally, leaders require training to ensure they can effectively coach everyone on their team. Training should be on an ongoing basis.

Measure Business Results

Track behavior and correlate improved selling effectiveness. This improves business results. From the very outset of the program, desired impact on business results must be identified. The ideal behaviors for salespeople and leaders must be defined. Organizations must measure behavior changes and their performance impact as training programs are implemented and tools and reinforcement are provided. This helps validate the investment. But more importantly, it identifies the characteristics of training, performance systems, and work environment that impacts success.

Here are a few points that will help you determine where you are relative to overcoming sales training obstacles:

  • Firstly, trainers need legitimate, practical sales experience.
  • Secondly, formal sales process/tools must be designed to facilitate incremental improvement over time.
  • Thirdly, formal sales processes should integrate with systems such as SFA, CRM, and Management programs.
  • Fourthly, SFA systems/tools include the measurement of behavioral change, not just results.
  • Fifthly, market programs and materials must align with your formal/dynamic sales process.
  • Sixthly, sales managers attend the same training as their teams.
  • Lastly, provide additional training and tools for sales managers. This produces better coaches.

Keep these things in mind as you launch training initiatives for your sales organization. Remember that Sales Transformation is about changing behaviors. Superior results occur when salespeople responsible for achieving them engage in the behaviors by which they are produced.

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