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As a sales manager, you have a key role to play in the success of sales training initiatives for your team. Indeed, you must make sure that your team puts into practice what they have learned from their sales training. In general, I have noticed that sales managers don't usually seem to know what to do after the training and have difficulty applying the various learnings.
Only 13% of the information is retained by the participant during a training session. To ensure that you are properly equipped to increase retention, you must commit to participating in the multiple sales trainings that your team attends. Now that all trainings are given virtually, the challenges of knowledge retention are even greater.
With the Covid-19 crisis, training has become more critical than ever before, because skill gaps are more visible and have a broader impact on business.
These 5 elements will help you reinforce your team's learning so that maximum information can be applied following a training session. This will help you get a return on your investment.
1. Share success stories
As a sales manager, it is essential for you to highlight the multiple successes of your representatives.
I have witnessed that when a sales representative successfully applies a concrete concept learned during a sales training session, sharing this success will directly generate positive influence throughout the entire team. Furthermore, this sharing encourages slower employees to quickly commit to the transformation. You can simply highlight this success at a sales meeting or by email.
Many successes deserve to be highlighted, no matter their impact. For instance, get your representatives used to sharing:
- a positive change in behaviour
- the application of more effective practices
- a difficult move that has been taken (disqualifying a big sales opportunity, asking difficult questions to a potential customer...)
2. Identify relevant questions to ask your sales people
Several questions can be asked to your representatives in order to ensure that the sales team applies the different concepts seen during the training. This is a simple and effective way to remind salespeople of the essential themes through specific questions:
- "How did you apply the concepts seen during the training this week?"
- "What are your new behaviours displayed following the training?"
- "What concepts are you going to use in the next week? “
Thus, this type of questioning leads to a certain proactivity within the team.
3. Create focus zones
Afterwards, I noticed a recurring problem following training: the overabundance of complex concepts that can overwhelm salespeople. To overcome this deficiency, you need to highlight the most important elements and make a list to work on them individually in the near future. This is what I call focus areas.
The goal is to focus only on a few key elements out of all the new knowledge, so that the sales team can put one or two things into practice at a time. This allows them to integrate more new behaviours and do it incrementally, instead of trying to do it all at once.
In addition, it is important to remember that repetition is the foundation of learning. So, putting multiple emphases on these essential elements allows representatives to focus on the right thing, thus improving overall consistency, because everyone will apply the same concepts.
4. Help sales people apply the knowledge
To ensure that representatives apply their new knowledge, you need to show them how the various aspects seen through the training can be applied in different situations. This ability to contextualize is important because it allows you to explain better to the representatives how to apply the different elements, which in time will reinforce the learning.
Also, I advise you to include many of the elements from the training in your sales coaching. Just remind yourself of some key aspects on a regular basis in your sales coaching.
5. Be able to ask for help from instructors or experts
Finally, not having all your questions answered is something quite normal. I strongly advise you to never hesitate to ask for help from your various resources, because it will reinforce your learning.
It is not realistic for you to know all the exact details from your trainings. The sales trainers are generally available to answer your many questions.
Finally, as a sales manager, in order for training to be successful in your company, it is up to you to carry out regular reinforcement by applying the various elements mentioned above. These are relevant guidelines to help make sales trainings successful.
The quality of the training you offer to your representatives will also have an impact on the results they obtain.