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Terrible Training to Terrific Training? How to Transform your Sales Training

The verdict is out – the training session you just attended was, in a word, TERRIBLE. Why? Based on an informal survey of salespeople and managers regarding the overall quality of sales training these days, the general consensus indicates that the top three reasons for a ‘terrible’ training program report card are:

  1. Boring
  2. Generic
  3. Once and done approach

While this may be a rather harsh assessment on the surface, it is hardly so when you examine it from a more critical vantage point. In just about every profession, and especially in sales, any investment in growth and development invariably carries a sizable price tag. If you happen to be the one attending these career-boosting opportunities, the biggest investment is your time. Considering how competitive the market is, along with how strategically valuable every minute becomes, you have every right to expect that this investment of your precious time will pay back quick dividends in terms of sales productivity and results.

As we well know, in the playbook of every high-performing sales professional, ‘time’ is indeed ‘money’. Spending that hard-won currency on over-simplified, tedious, or uninspired training sessions will push your revenue-generating energies toward the red zone. If you are a trend-conscious sales executive making the all-important decision to invest in effective sales training for your organization, whether developed and delivered in-house or outsourced, here are a few essentials to make sure your sales enablement programs are nothing short of terrific, not terrible.

Wow Factor:

Keep them moving, keep them focused, and keep them thinking. Adults, especially sales people, need lots of activities during training. As a rule, at least one exercise every half hour is a good benchmark to keep their attention and responsiveness at optimum levels. Mixed media – a must. Video – absolutely. Graphics – of course. Stories – the more the better. In today’s market, insightful and inspired storytelling has become a solid, go-to page in the catalog of successful strategies for many top salespeople. Combine this approach with all the bells and whistles now available on the tech-world shelves, every training session should be on the cutting edge of awesome.

Enough about You, Back to Me:

Customization is not just a ‘nice to have’ but a ‘must have’. In order to truly customize your content, 80% of the trainer’s time must be utilized before day one of the training program even gets underway. Interviews, pre-assessments and gap planning (If you don’t know what this is, then you haven’t embraced the level of customization needed to drive attendee value.) and change management strategies are just the beginning of this vital, up-front phase of all training programs. At the end of the day, each attendee will calculate the real-time value of the training against their primary goals or objectives. In other words, did you create a dynamic and engaging environment of learning and growth, and ‘move the dial’ for all who chose to invest their most valuable asset (time) into the process?

Professional Development Happens Over Time:

Are you offering a task-specific training program, or a much broader, more progressive learning continuum? Have you considered which best practices are actually ‘best’ from a change-management perspective in your planning? Does the follow-on ‘reinforcement’ aspect of your training have as much ‘weight’ as the actual training? All of these questions (and more) should be asked and answered in order to reach ‘world-class’ training status.

Terrific Training:

If you want terrific training for your sales organization simply:

  • Consider the Wow Factor
  • Customize all your Training Programs
  • Create a Training Roadmap to Reinforce all Training over Time

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