If you are like most sales leaders, the most worrisome period of implementing a successful sales training and enablement initiative is the 90 days immediately following the launch. Even after going through all of the research, evaluation, and selection of the right partner, these 90 days can make that feel like a walk in the park.
With all of this anxiety about the adoption of the content, the natural course of action is to mandate it, to create a success routine, and require adoption from your team. What we find in the majority of cases is that this is like pushing on a rope. If your sales team never bought into the concept or skills taught during the training, then at some point they are going to do away with the behaviors. After the compliance checks stop, the behaviors stop.
I invite you to consider the opposite scenario. At the end of the event, your sales team is so energized and confident in what they have just learned that they will continue to apply and adopt the concepts, even if you were to ask them to stop!
We have experienced that dream scenario countless times with our clients, and would like to share these three keys for success to ensure sales training truly makes a difference and you see a return on investment.
Sales Team Believes in the Training
Many obstacles from sales training occur because the your sales team fails to believe in the subject, principles, or theories taught. If there is doubt, it opens a large window for error. Unless the individual believes the information is valuable, he/she won’t put his/her best effort into implementing what was learned.
What if, at the end of the program, your sales team truly believed at their very core that the information presented was valuable and would lead them to success? This is the first key to success. We can’t “sell” them. They have to arrive at the conclusion that what they just learned is so powerful that it will change the course of their career. We have observed with clients we work with that when this belief is present, they will continue using what they learned even if you asked them to stop.
Before the training, sales leaders can prepare teams by encouraging them to have an open mind about what they will learn, and doing research beforehand about the sales training initiatives to determine whether or not it is the best fit for your team.
Make It Practical
So, say your team believes the content presented is good. Great! Can it be practically applied?
“Burdensome.” “Too complicated.” “Not applicable in all situations.” “Takes too much energy.” If you hear these from your team, these are some warning signs that what they learned is just not practical to apply. When sales reps start asking, “When should I use this?” it is a tell-tale sign that they don’t see that it is practical in every sales situation. The content of the sales training has to include practical information that can be quickly applied, even as quickly as their next sales call! What they learn and apply should enable greatness, and not create a burden for your team.
Provide Coaching and Support to Expand Results
The universe aligns when a strong belief in the personal impact of the content and the belief it can be practically applied are present. When this happens, your team will not only be open to coaching to improve, but they may also demand it. Your sales team should be begging you for more guidance to build on what they already have in order to apply what they have learned and continuously improve results.
And the Results…
Over many years, we have helped our clients measure the effectiveness of their sales enablement initiatives using a process that is certified by the ROI Institute.
With over 93% of the participants responding to the study, nearly 80% responded that they:
- Had a strong belief the content would help them and
- Had a strong belief that the program could be practically applied.
You can probably guess the rest. The adoption rate and results generated from the sales enablement program were off the charts.
If you are considering a sales training implementation, we invite you to think about these 3 keys to successful adoption, and the related results. Before you spend all your energy deciding what the “compliance” process will look like to drive adoption, instead focus on finding the content that your team will embrace, can practically apply, and will change the course of their success for years to come. When these elements exist, adoption naturally occurs and the results will follow. When they don’t exist, you might find yourself “pushing on a rope.”
I would love to hear from you. What challenges/successes have you experienced when implementing new sales training?