According to research put out by the Harvard Business Review, U.S. companies spend more than $70 billion annually on sales training programs, averaging $1,459 per salesperson. Despite the massive spending, the study finds that the ROI on sales training is lackluster at best. The data suggests that, on average, participants of standard, curriculum-based training absent an accountability framework end up forgetting 80% of what they learned in 90 days.
The unfortunate reality is that companies are wasting billions of dollars on limited sales performance impact with only short-term boosts in sales at best. But how can your company avoid this pitfall? What is the key to implementing a successful sales training program that improves sales performance and leads to long-term revenue growth?
A study conducted by McKinsey & Co. concluded that the differentiating factor between good and great sales training programs ultimately comes down to how a company defines skills and sets up a concrete plan of both development and accountability (1). In the status quo, most companies utilize some sort of one-time training or certification program in which employees may absorb some information passively over a short period of time, but most of it is forgotten after a few weeks on the job.
Most companies have taken this one-and-done approach to sales training because traditionally the financial and logistical costs of implementing a robust sales raining program that meets all of the characteristics of a “Great company” has been very high because there has not existed a single system to manage all steps of the development process. That’s where Adaptive comes in.
Why Existing Sales Training Models Fail:
- Failure to define desired skills – Any sales training program that begins without first defining clear objectives and target skills is doomed to fail from the outset. If your team is unclear as to which skills they are working towards improving, they are unlikely to apply what they learn in training to their everyday work.
- Lack of Accountability – Few companies actually have a mechanism to evaluate the effectiveness of their sales training programs. Without a method in place to actively engage your employees at every step of the training process, it is impossible to hold your salespeople accountable for taking the right actions to achieve desired results.
- No Reinforcement – The key issue with existing sales training models is that the material learned during the event is bound to fade absent reinforcement. Any kind of sales training is ineffective without reinforcing new skills with practical applications and consistent mentorship from company leadership.
Overcoming the Top Three Sales Training Pitfalls:
- Set Expectations from the Outset – Adaptive breaks down trainings into specific skills, sub-skills, and micro-skills we enable your management team to define from the outset so your sales team will always know which objectives they are working towards. Furthermore, by improving very specific sub-skills (e.g. product knowledge), they will see much quicker development of broader skills (e.g. cross-selling).
- Implement Accountability Directly Into Your Training Program – Adaptive creates structure where improvement plans are made visible and accountable to others. This system allows team members to understand expectations clearly and empowers progress. The structure builds interaction between leaders and teams to create mutual alignment on development goals.
- Reinforce Training by Promoting Continuous Learning – The Adaptive system is built on the idea that training is an ongoing process. We don’t view competency as being black or white. Our multiple levels of competency increase employee engagement and allow team members to learn new skills and continue to hone existing skills.