Sales Training That Sticks (Updated October 2018)

By Tim Riesterer, Chief Strategy Officer

October 22, 2018

sales training that sticks

Training is a good thing – it develops the potential of your sales success and enables your reps to go into the market with a consistent sales approach that is appropriate and effective for your business.

But no matter how well you prepare people for the job at hand, it’s always different when they are in the real situation. This is true whether they are trying to master sky diving or sales meetings. The reality is, when you’re “in the moment,” it can be difficult to remember everything that was learned in a training course.

So, how can you make sure that your organization’s sales training sticks? The answer is coaching.

According to a 2010 Corporate Visions survey, 87 percent of salespeople do, in fact, want more coaching. Helping your sales managers become better coaches will help ensure that your sales team uses and profits from the training you’ve invested in.

Transform Sales Managers Into Effective Sales Coaches

Developing effective sales coaches requires more than just a “train the trainer” approach. Delivering a rehash of the training class and giving out a series of checklists won’t help them to change sales behavior in the field. You need to provide new insights into how they can get the results they are looking for. They need to learn the coaching skills and techniques that will enable them to help their salespeople master the sales skills and techniques learned during training.

And you may need to overcome some initial resistance. Sales managers are often reluctant to spend a day out of the field to focus on becoming better coaches. They need to know that they are going to get a good return on the investment of that day. They need to believe that what they learn will have broad application in their day-to-day jobs and make a significant impact on their team’s success.

See more keys to sales success from Inc. Magazine here.

Coaching For Sales Success

To ensure that your sales reps adopt lessons learned from sales training and use them effectively in the field, coaches need to reinforce the sales techniques. To do this, they must:

  • Provide one-to-one feedback that is both constructive and delivered on an ongoing basis.
  • Ask provocative questions to keep reps engaged.
  • Keep it positive to encourage rather than discourage.
  • Provide deal-specific feedback on how to apply sales techniques in real-life sales scenarios.
  • Master the techniques themselves and use them to rally the team for major initiatives.

Avoid These Common Coaching Mistakes

Good coaching will help your sales training stick, but there are some common pitfalls that can hamper success. Here are some common sales coaching mistakes to avoid:

  • Giving too much feedback. Feedback helps your team know where to focus improvement efforts. But when you give too much feedback, you can actually stall progress. A good rule of thumb is to ensure that your feedback only covers three areas at a time, no more.
  • Giving feedback that is too abstract. The Old Brain likes the concrete and hates the abstract. If you want people to change behavior, you need to be specific about what they should do differently.
  • Giving feedback that is hard to remember. In the heat of the sales “battle,” lessons learned during coaching can be easily forgotten. But that’s exactly the moment when they need to recall the coaching. Facts and processes can be difficult to remember but stories are memorable. Stories will help your reps remember what’s important when they need it most.

Increasing Sales Training Adoption Increases Success

The goal of sales training is to help your team sell more effectively to grow the business. Leadership is about influencing when you’re not in the room – and effective leaders don’t lead with sticks and carrots but with coaching. Sales leaders need to coach their reps beyond the classroom to use the techniques they learned in the field.

You can deliver sales training that sticks with Corporate Visions. Whether you need to Create Value™, Elevate Value™, Capture Value™, or Expand Value™ in your customer conversations, your sales managers will learn valuable skills and coaching techniques to help reinforce the sales training in the field.

And it works.

Survey results show that sales reps who are high adopters of our sales training programs deliver two to three times bigger deal sizes and increase their quota achievement by 40 percent, when compared to low adopters.