Your Sales Team Completed Training, Now What?
Chances are you’re planning some sort of sales and recruiting effectiveness initiative for the coming months. Perhaps you’re thinking of overhauling your existing new-hire onboarding program, or maybe you have training designed for your sales reps to accelerate the customer interview and hiring process, or candidate negotiation training for your recruiters. Whatever it is, let’s assume for a second that you did the hard work and created a world class training strategy, built engaging training content, and you secured buy-in from the field. Let’s also assume you delivered a compelling learning experience for your employees in which employee feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
Now imagine its time for your team to start applying the new strategies, messaging, skills and behaviors. Will your world class strategy and engaging content guarantee lasting results? According to John Kotter’s book Leading Change, 70% of major transformations efforts fail. So how do you beat those odds and achieve lasting results?
A common mistake in the pursuit of employee training and skill enhancement is an overemphasis on the launch of the training initiative and an under emphasis on the post launch reinforcement and user adoption phase. To avoid this, sales leaders should really think of any skill improvement initiative as a change management initiative. When sales leaders make the decision to enroll their sales team in sales training, what they’re really saying is “we need our sales team to change the way they sell.”
Successful change management is the practice of driving business results by changing behaviors and is led from the top, the sales leader. Change management is a method for reducing and managing resistance to change such as asking team members to adopt a new idea, skill, behavior, message or strategy. Completing a sales training or recruiter training program requires learners to change current behaviors by stopping the “old way” of doing things and adopting the “new way.” People naturally resist to changing their comfortable work routine because applying new ideas, skills and behaviors can create uncertainty and stress. To achieve the desired business results and sustain the desired change in behavior, you ultimately need people who are committed to success, motivated to get results and who possess the knowledge and tools to get the job done.
Post launch reinforcement and user adoption encompasses everything that a direct supervisor will need to do in order to support his or her employee(s) to ensure the new behaviors, skills and messaging become standard operating procedure. Post launch reinforcement and user adoption starts with mapping out what employees can expect from their manager, including how they will be supported, coached, and evaluated on what they learned during training. Whether it’s how to deliver a message, sell to an executive, craft an email or voice-mail message or how to have a strategic, consultative conversation, there are several post launch reinforcement user adoption essentials managers must deploy.
Keep in mind that post-launch reinforcement activities may feel like extra work, but those supporting activities lead to application which leads to adoption and eventually habits which drive sales results. Creating a culture of continuous learning and coaching maximizes your investment in the change initiative. Sales leaders including front line sales managers should begin by focusing on and prioritizing the behaviors that will be changing post training and create a reinforcement and user adoption that highlights the specific tasks and events that occur during and after the training to reinforce and drive those behaviors. The plan should detail the activities and exercises the learners will participate as well as the role of the manager play and cadence or frequency in which the activities and exercises occur.
About Dan Fisher
Dan Fisher is founder and owner of Menemsha Group, a provider of sales enablement solutions dedicated to helping IT staffing firms improve win rates, shorten their sales cycle, and increase revenue per sales rep. Since launching Menemsha Group in 2008, Dan has consulted with over 200 IT staffing firms and has invested over 5000 hours coaching IT staffing sales reps. He’s authored is his own proprietary sales methodology and has previously spoken at Staffing World, TechServe Alliance and Bullhorn Live 2012. Prior to launching Menemsha Group, Dan spent 16 years in the IT industry running local, regional and national sales teams. Dan worked for Kelly Services, Oracle Corporation and Alliance Consulting. Dan currently resides in Boston, Ma.