Sales Training Courses
Sales training courses – how much fun did they used to be? I clearly remember in my early 20’s a 4 day residential sales training course just north of London that ranked amongst one of the best weeks of my life. To such an extent that if it had been booked again the following year I would have cancelled the Ibiza trip and saved on the booze costs!
Sales training courses historically constituted a failing silver haired entrepreneur offering countless Power Point slides, with a little ‘cutting edge’ role play thrown into the mix to ensure that the interactivity and somnambulist key indicators were achieved – or avoided as the case may be. The most important outcomes of sales training courses were the attendance sheet to prove that you had ‘done your time’ and that essential element, the feedback form – which, without completion, exit from the training room was an exercise in futility that even Houdini would have relinquished.
Recognising that sales training courses have a place in modern business is subjective, but that doesn’t mean they are any less popular. But perhaps more so because of conscientious business owners and managers than with attendees. Sales training courses have developed such a reputation over the years that the very mention fills the heart with joy or dread – perhaps depending on the attendees age.
One of the first challenges when considering sales training courses for employees it that of identifying training requirements, often via a TNA or training needs analysis. Once some qualification and identification of training needs has been established the owner / manager then has the enviable task of sourcing training providers, course material, venues and dates all applicable to his intrepid sales team, and all with the minimal of disruption to precious new leads and orders.
Off site training has its set of advantages and disadvantages. There is an argument stating that off site training delivers a more focused approach from the delegate. The very action of preparing and travelling to a venue and taking time out specifically for ‘training’ instills a more serious approach to the material being discussed. A day spent solely on ‘training’ shows employer commitment and often results in a higher level of response from those being trained. When a group of people are assembled together with a focus on a clearly defined outcome – presumably passing the training test, a different mindset often materialises.
Training And Knowledge Retention
But let’s not forget that most employees forget at least 60% of training delivered within the first 24 hours. So we have a scenario where potentially motivated employees spend at least a day ‘off the job’ in an well intentioned effort to increase their knowledge that in turn enables them to perform more effectively and efficiently, but most of what is actually digested during the day are the new friends made and the sales trainers attempts to buy his additional training material. So, the overall impact of sales training courses has to be questionable. And the double whammy is the follow up – or acute lack of follow up in most cases, of any retained knowledge. What did the staff retain form the training and are they implementing and benefitting from the training provided?
Avoiding Information Overload
When it comes to knowledge retention, the human brain has a natural capacity of information that it can effectively handle and process at any given time. This means that flooding the brain with large amounts of information simultaneously is not conducive towards good learning. The majority of information will unfortunately only be retained short term.
Ideal conditions for effective learning employ staging content that develops upon previously learned skills. This gives the learner time to digest and employ what they have learned before, increasing competency and confidence in ability before the next level of training begins. Imagine attempting to learn to play the guitar from scratch in an 8 hour training session. Much of the theory could be implemented and delivered, but the chances of Cavatina the following morning would be minimal.
Make Your Training Relevant
High and less relevant volumes of information will prompt a trainee to enquire as to why they require this information. And, if they cannot see the direct relevance of the material then your training will be less effective. By relating the information to a real work scenario, your learners will see the value and importance of gaining maximum familiarity with the training that you provide. If you want training to stick, then repetition and practise are proven routes to success. Testing knowledge that has just been learned helps it to ‘stick’ and repetition is a key to long term strategy. Little and often has never been so relevant.
70 20 10 – Again
70:20:10 is one of the most accepted learning models and it holds water for us. The numbers provide a framework to understand the ways in which learning happens in the workplace.
- 70% from challenging workplace assignments
- 20% from relationships at work
- 10% from formal training
As we say elsewhere, 70 20 10 provided by a continual, gentle, non-critical assessment of your employees has a cumulative and lasting effect. Implement this strategy with the minimal of staff disruption then you may well be onto a winner, an effective and efficient sales training course alternative.
So Where Can I Go From Here?
It’s all very good for us here at Elephants Don’t Forget to pontificate about the disadvantages or otherwise of sales training courses, but it would be churlish of us to criticise without having experience and knowledge in this sector, as well as being able to offer proven alternatives.
“House of Fraser have been using ‘Nelly’ over the course of the past year within our Customer Service function. Nelly has proved to be a huge success. Quick and easy to use for both agents and supporting staff whilst providing a level of real time insight which is used to help support, coach and develop our teams”.
Scott Bain – Head of Contact Centre Operations
Clever Nelly delivers interactive, learner specific knowledge retention interventions on a daily basis that makes training more interesting, ensuring increased knowledge retention both engages your employees and increases business performance.
Delivered directly to desktop or mobile, Clever Nelly is unobtrusive and takes less than 1.5 minutes a day of your employee’s time. She is super secure, being approved for Government and by some of the most security conscious brands on the planet.
Being cloud-hosted, Nelly requires no special systems and is easily deployed, even in large organisations within 28 days.
Want to see Nelly in action? Drop us a line and one of our herd will talk you through the reasons many businesses worldwide are adopting Nelly as a preferred and effective interactive learning and development tool.