What do you get when you provide high-quality sales training for your reps? The answer might seem obvious: You get reps who have more and better skills, and know how to use them.
But if that’s not enough for you, consider the fact that good training makes you a better organization all around, an organization that impresses its people as more innovative, more equitable, closer-knit and less likely to be a pressure-cooker.
That’s the conclusion we can draw from a study of more than 200 salespeople conducted by professors at Kennesaw State University and Augusta State University in Georgia, and University of Southwestern Louisiana.
The researchers wanted to know whether sales training affected the psychological climate within the organization that was doing the training. So they asked the participants in their study 28 questions to measure key elements of that climate. Some of the questions were:
- “My sales manager likes me to try new ways of doing my job.” (Innovation)
- “I can count on a fair shake from my sales manager.” (Fairness)
- “There is a lot of team spirit in this company.” (Cohesiveness)
- “In this company, too many people in my position get burned out by the job’s demands.” (Pressure)
The participants were asked to respond on a seven-point scale from “strongly disagree” at the low end to “strongly agree” at the high end.
When the results were in, the researchers found that there were significant differences in the way salespeople answered the questions, depending on whether the reps felt their organization was proficient in training, or not proficient.
The former reps were much more likely to see their employer in a positive light along the four psychological dimensions about which they were asked.
What was going on here? Why did effective training have such a broad positive effect on salespeople’s mindset?
The mechanism was actually fairly simple, the researchers said. Where salespeople perceive that they’re getting good training, they feel they’re being helped to do their job more effectively. That in turn leads them to take a positive view of the organization in a number of dimensions, creating a boost in morale.
And, as the researchers point out, organizations where morale is high are less likely to suffer a high rate of personnel turnover. That can only be a good thing, especially if you find it tough to replace good reps when they leave.
So next time you’re arranging for a training session or course, and it seems a little pricey or time-consuming, remember you’re doing more than teaching reps how to sell more!
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