In last week’s post, we cited research from trainingindustry.com and Axiom Sales Force Development, which suggested that the key difference between effective and ineffective sales training programs is follow-up. The study also found, somewhat alarmingly, that follow-up is something of a stepchild even in the best programs: Far more time and money is invested in planning and delivering the training event than in following up.
In addition, the study identified other key characteristics of effective sales training programs:
- They provide more formal training than ineffective programs, especially in the area of sales management
- They’re twice as likely to provide formal coaching programs, and coach more consistently. Ineffective programs are more likely to take an ad-hoc approach to coaching
- They’re three times more likely to measure the impact of sales management training, using predefined metrics
- They’re two to four times more likely to evaluate feedback from salespeople, managers and sales leadership
- They’re three times more likely to use skill gaps analysis
- They meet more often to discuss the effectiveness of coaching.
The bottom line
What this really boils down to, of course, is commitment. Organizations that establish formal processes to define training goals, turn those goals into actionable items, and assess the outcomes are seeing a return on their investment in training. Those that aren’t willing to establish processes may rationalize their lack of commitment with words like “ad hoc” and “informal” training. It’s a way to tell themselves they have a training program without anyone actually having to put any effort into it. But it’s a copout. As this study suggests, you get back what you put in.
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