A sales training initiative can be one of the most impactful things you can do to improve your organization’s success. The question is, will the training program result in permanent behavior change and lasting sales performance improvement, or will it be a “flavor of the month” that your sales team abandons a few weeks after the experience?
In over 40 years in the industry, we’ve learned that the ROI for a sales training initiative is greatest when live instructor-led training is followed up by a strategic sales training reinforcement program.
What is a Sales Training Reinforcement Program?
Sales training is designed to teach new techniques and skills. A sales training reinforcement program is designed to let your sales reps practice these skills with real opportunities while being guided by expert sales coaches.
Follow these 4 keys to maximize the ROI of your sales training reinforcement program and permanently shift the performance of your sales team.
1. Have Expert Sales Coaches Lead the Program
Eventually sales managers will be the main source of direction and leadership for your sales reps—and sales management training can prep them for this responsibility.
Immediately following your sales training, however, it’s a good idea to have an expert sales coach (who closely understands your sales strategy and business objectives) lead the reinforcement program.
A skilled coach will understand the Adult Learning best practices that increase knowledge retention and allow your sales reps to take ownership of their new skills. They will also be highly educated in the sales process your team has been trained in, and the sales enablement tools that will make the reinforcement successful.
Additionally, a coach can act as an objective figure to guide team members, and gradually transition sales managers to keep up the reinforcement on an ongoing basis.
2. Implement a Structure that Allows Reps to “Test Drive” New Skills
Over 75% of newly learned information will be forgotten within 6 days if it’s not reinforced.
A follow-up program should focus on sales enablement and provide ample opportunities for sales reps to apply what they’ve learned with real accounts.
In an ideal situation, a salesperson will review a key concept during a reinforcement session, and then practice the concept with a customer or prospect. The coach is there to answer any questions, and to make the sales rep feel comfortable putting their new tools into action.
Team members can then come together and review what worked well for them, and how to improve their execution in the future.
See what one participant has to say about the IMPACT Sales Coaching System
3. Follow a Strategic Cadence to Maximize Behavior Change
Behavior change doesn’t happen overnight. To make new selling skills the “new normal” for your sales team, there should be a consistent cadence to the reinforcement sessions—and a strategic length of the overall reinforcement program.
Research reveals that on average it takes 66 days (two months or so) for a new skill to become habit. At The Brooks Group, we recommend our clients follow training with an 8-week reinforcement program to really solidify the learning and develop new high-performance habits.
It’s also best to keep the sessions to an hour or less in length so sales reps don’t lose interest. Having the meetings on the same day and time each week improves attendance and accountability.
4. Measure and Track Success (ROI)
A sales training reinforcement program is designed to improve knowledge retention and enable sales reps to use what they’ve learned in the classroom to increase revenue. Boiled down, it’s a way to maximize an organization’s return on investment for the training initiative.
To ensure the reinforcement is successful, it’s important to measure and track success at various intervals along the way.
Effective sales enablement tools can give coaches and stakeholders from the organization insight into how each participant is progressing. This information reveals challenge areas that need more reinforcement, and helps to develop ongoing coaching plans for the future.
Reinforcement programs delivered by The Brooks Group include an ROI survey that identifies various success markers, including:
- Additional sales that participants attribute to the training
- Increase in sales volume
- Change in average sale amount
- Performance to quota
- Length of sales cycle
- And more
If you’re investing resources in a sales manager training initiative, give the project the best chance of success by implementing a reinforcement program. Doing so will build on the momentum of the training and solidify new behaviors—maximizing your ROI and making short and long-term goals easier to reach.
The IMPACT Sales Coaching System uses industry-leading reinforcement tools to guide participants to apply new selling skills with real accounts using a format that’s engaging and collaborative.