“Our salespeople need some help. Let’s hire a trainer.” Simple enough. So you plan the meeting and hire someone to speak to your salespeople. That’s fine, it happens all the time. Then what? What did you expect to happen as a result of this one session? Are you happy with the results? Do your salespeople show consistent, lasting improvement? Are you sure what your goals were in the first place before you brought the trainer in?

When it comes to sales training, development and coaching, almost everybody understands the need to “Do something.” Especially in “This Economy.” But just what are we doing?

A good place to begin might be to analyze approaches to sales training. The initial foray into sales training is usually a one day sales seminar. There are four possible positive outcomes from a sales seminar; 1) Your salespeople will be more motivated or re-energized, 2) Your sales salespeople will learn something new, 3) Your salespeople will be reminded of something they know and used to do but have forgotten, and/or 4) Your salespeople will be reminded that they are on the right track and to keep doing what they are doing. All of these are positive and beneficial to your business. The downside is that these results can be short-term; sometimes only lasting until the salesperson meets the next difficult prospect or they get their brains beat in by a difficult customer.

Your goal is probably to have more long-term, lasting effects from your sales training dollar. If so, then a more extensive commitment to sales development should be considered. Depending on the type and nature of both your salespeople and your business, multiple sessions are probably required. The length of time between meetings and sessions is not as important as the time it takes to develop new habits. Consistency in attitude, intention and actions is the most powerful generator of lasting results.

A good starting point, then, is to determine the needs of your company and establish sales training goals and outcomes based on those needs. Sales accounting, which we define as your company sales statistics, if they are consistent with your sales goals, can be used to measure your salespeople’s effectiveness and the results of sales training. As with any significant development in your company, for sales training to be the most effective, the senior executives, vice presidents and sales managers need to have ownership of whatever the sales training goals may be.

With a clearly defined sales strategy and process it is much easier to measure your training results or know who to hire to help you train and execute the strategy. When evaluating the potential list of trainers and coaches, it becomes much easier to ask the right questions once you know what your plan and goals are. Comprehensive course material, follow-up and accountability become requisite when evaluating sales organizations. These days, a motivational one day retreat, no matter how stirring, may not stand against the test of time for the needs of your business. The level of commitment to pursue lasting change and measurable results by both the training organization and your company will determine the best plan of action when it comes to sales training that creates positive, measurable and lasting results.

By Mike Moore with Kirk Chittick

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