According to the Association of Talent Development, (ATD) U.S. companies spend $20 billion a year on sales training. That’s a lot of sales training initiatives! However; there’s also plenty of research out there that suggests that the majority of this sales training fails or that it only produces short term results. In fact, according to a blog post published by the co-presidents of RAIN Group, based on their experience, there are seven distinct reasons why sales training can fail.
Of course, this provides seven great opportunities to show that learning management technology and a solid training plan can help organizations succeed with sales training!
Sales Fail #1 – Failure to Define Business and Learning Needs
Completing a needs analysis is the logical first step in developing a comprehensive sales training plan. Training plans that are aligned with organizational goals and that can be measured to ensure they provide positive results should always be the focus. The needs analysis should also be conducted on the learner level. How can you develop a training plan if you don’t quite understand your team’s strengths and weaknesses? A LMS provides the platform to develop, conduct and store base-line learner assessments. Training plans can then be developed and deployed based on individual learner competencies for a more personalized and engaging learning experience.
Sales Fail #2 – Failure to Build Sales Knowledge
Yes, your team needs sales skills to close deals, but they also need comprehensive knowledge about what they’re selling. Customized product, service, industry and competitive training courses can easily be developed and deployed within a LMS. As your company, industry and competitive landscape change, so then can your course materials. Your sales team can have the most relevant and up-to-date information to keep ahead of the competition. This information can be accessed quickly and easily, on demand, whenever or wherever they need it the most.
Sales Fail #3 – Failure to Assess Individual’s Attributes
This may sound a bit redundant; but, again, an LMS provides the platform to develop, conduct and store base-line learner assessments. Assessments can be developed to ascertain your team’s individual sales attributes, and these assessments can be distributed over time to identify any new developments within your team’s sales abilities.
Sales Fail #4 – Failure to put a Sales Process and Methodology in Place
Not only should a sales process and methodology be put in place, but it also should be part of your sales training plan. Your process and methodology may not change over time, but it’s likely that members of your sales team will. Adding sales process and methodology training as part of your overall sales training ensures that even new members of your sales team are on the same page. Furthermore, when storing procedural-type information such as a sales process in a LMS, you can ensure that if your process does change, your team can be brought up to speed quickly and easily.
Sales Fail #5 – Failure to Deliver Training that Engages
According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 87% of teachers said technology is creating an “easily distracted generation with short attention spans.” As the millennial generation begins to dominate the workforce, learning professionals need to meet the unique needs of this generation in order to keep them engaged. This could mean providing training in small visually appealing increments that are delivered conveniently using technology, such as a LMS. Also, implementing a blended learning approach to training can provide the perfect mix of eLearning and in-person training so that learners experience an engaging, dynamic and interactive learning environment. These types of environments help to facilitate effective and efficient sales training.
Sales Fail #6 – Failure to Reinforce Training and Make it Stick
Your sales team needs to retain what they learn to be successful, but unfortunately, numerous research studies suggest that people lose on average, 70% of what they learned within 24 hours; therefore, for learning to stick it needs to be an ongoing and repetitive process. Reinforcement of learning is vitally important for overall improved performance. According to the article, Brain Science, Overcoming the Forgetting Curve, “If your goal is to produce long-term retention and if your goal is to produce behavior change, then what you do after training is more important than what you do during training.” Developing and deploying sales training curriculum using a LMS ensures that your team gets the training they need on a consistent and ongoing basis.
Sales Fail #7 – Failures of Evaluation, Accountability and Continuous Improvement
According to Cindy Pascale, VP of Business Development, Vado, Inc., an eLearning content provider, “If you want training to be effective, it needs to be easily applied on the job. Approximately 70% of development happens by doing. If you want your sales reps to become more effective and to increase sales – which is the only reason you spend money on sales training – then you need to help them apply their courses on the job. So, how do you do this? Provide your sales reps with training that contains step by step instructions on how to actually apply the training on the job. If you give them a process and hold them accountable for following the instructions, you will see results.” (By the way, Vado’s new sales training courses, the Predictable Revenue Toolkit, provide a great example of engaging sales training materials that can easily be applied on-the-job!)
So you see, a learning management system coupled with a solid sales training plan can help your organization succeed in sales training. Now, isn’t it time to turn those sales fails into sale success?
Susan Distasio | eLearning Industry Crusader | ePath Learning, Inc.
About the Author: Susan Distasio is an eLearning Industry Crusader focused on advocating for advancement and change in the eLearning and professional development industry. An avid seeker of knowledge and continuous improvement, Susan is happy to share her research, observations and thoughts regarding “all things related to learning and development.” When she’s not out on the learning crusade, Susan can be found with the wind in her hair riding her Harley or simply enjoying life with her husband, Steve, and her Siamese cat, Elvis, and with family and friends.