Companies invest in in-person sales training for one reason – to grow revenue and improve margins. So why do so many companies question the impact of in-person sales training?
In-person sales training is expensive, yet most companies believe it has advantages versus webinars, computer-based training, self-paced learning, and video training.
In-person sales training is not always the best approach for training, but is typically best suited for:
- Experienced and tenured salespeople
- Supporting a new go-to-market sales strategy
- Embedding business process change
- Strengthening team dynamics and building team rapport
- Establishing realistic selling situations for salespeople to practice applying new skills
- Building core selling motions such as account planning, solution selling, negotiation training, or CRM use and adoption.
We find in-person sales training will not be effective if:
Product managers, operations and finance people deliver most of the content
If internal training resources deliver content and they don’t have sales leadership experience
- Content delivery is heavy on PowerPoint and light on salesperson interaction
- It’s only a few hours of training sandwiched between sessions during sales kick-off
- There is no pre or post-training measurement or follow-up
To maximize in-person training outcomes, companies should follow these steps:
- Determine how you will measure success, and it can’t be something nebulous such as “improve sales productivity.” Be specific with something like “improve the number of multi-product opportunities.”
- Have salespeople self-assess their competency level of the training content via a brief pre-training web survey – this will be your baseline “the before.”
- Structure the content to be high impact, relevant, and interactive. If you don’t have skilled resources to deliver content that can capture salespeople attention, hire someone from the outside that can.
- Get sales leader commitment to post-training content reviews with her sales team. Sales leaders play a pivotal role in driving new behavior or sales motions after in-person training.
- Get sales leader commitment on the type and frequency of coaching they will provide to the salespeople after the in-person training. Coaching does not just happen, “on-the-job.” Post-training coaching is an effort that must be scheduled, or it does not get done.
- About 30 days after the training session, have salespeople self-assess their competencies in applying the training content. Compare these results to the post-training result
In-person sales training can be highly effective if done well. If your organization has struggled in the past to demonstrate the impact of in-person sales training, try our recommended approach.