Why Traditional Sales Training Doesn’t Work


Why Traditional Sales Training Doesn’t Work

Why Traditional Sales Training Doesn't Work

In today’s #SalesInsight blog post, I’m going to look at why traditional sales training simply doesn’t work.

As a coach I’ve trained over 10,000 salespeople all around the world and it always surprises me when clients admit they’d be happy to take away just one or two nuggets of information from a session. After eight hours of coaching or a three day workshop, focused solely on helping their future sales careers, to be comfortable leaving that session having retained so little knowledge, highlights a much larger training issue to me, not to mention wasted time and money for all those involved.

So what can we do to change this?

When it comes to learning and development, I believe the key to breaking out of this unsuccessful pattern is to look at the four main principles of adult learning:

  • 1. Adults need to be involved in both the design and implementation of whatever learning is put in front of them.
  • 2. Having an application based learning experience is crucial for adults and will be far more powerful for them.
  • 3. Adults are more interested in learning about things that have a direct positive impact on their life or career, rather than theoretical abstract concepts.
  • 4. Adults learn best when there is a problem at the centre of their learning and they therefore have some challenge or task to solve.

Flip the training

It is because of these four principles that Salestrong decided to “flip” the traditional training model on its head. We’ve reorganised learning so that individual content is delivered outside of the room and we utilise the group in the room to apply their knowledge and experience to specific problems. As a result, when we bring the sales team together, they are able to focus on the problems and real-life opportunities that they are really faced with on a daily and weekly basis.

The four part process for successful training

Our approach involves us, on one side, building the salesperson’s capability and, on the other, ensuring we’re delivering tangible results. By dividing our focus like this, the overall process is much more successful. In order to achieve this, we follow a four part process:

  • “Flip” content and ensure training is built into the programme but is not the sole purpose of it.
  • Focus on live deals and opportunities; put these at the heart of the training.
  • Accelerate accountability by making sure there’s some follow-up coaching that supports the embedding of the learning you’re expecting within the sales team.
  • Build in sustainability by putting the manager/s through a coaching certification programme. This ensures they have the skills and knowledge required to lead the learning efforts within their team going forward.

This approach has proved to have a substantially greater impact than the more traditional classroom based structure because it caters directly to the way in which people prefer to, (and therefore more effectively) learn; with 70% of our learning coming through experience, 20% through our peer group and others around us, and only 10% through structured courses and programmes.

If you’d like to chat a little bit more about this topic please contact me at steve@salestrong.co.uk.

Found this post helpful? Take a look at my personal top 5 sales leadership skills here.

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