Sales Training Objectives: Implementing a Successful Sales Program

Sales Training Objectives: Implementing a Successful Sales Program

We’ve recently discussed the biggest pitfalls of sales training objectives, from believing sales program effectiveness relies solely on the front-line to trying to tackle too many deficiencies at once. For this last post, we’re honing in on the last, and maybe the most important, pitfall: The assumption that generic sales training strategy will work for your sales team. 

Pitfall 6: Implementing a Sales Program Instead of Building a Unique Solution

Generic sales development programs always miss the mark. Would you train an ice skater the same way you would a hockey player? Of course not. The same is true in sales. An inside account manager selling in the SMB space is vastly different than an account manager working with channel partners who sell to complex enterprise accounts. Account managers are not biz dev people, and biz dev reps are vastly different than an outbound telesales rep. And your sales training objectives should reflect that. 

In reality, there are 11 unique sales roles, and each requires a different set of skills and training. If you fail to address the unique challenges of each role, reps hyperfocus on the 10 to 20% that isn’t relevant to their role. 

Therefore, if you are investing in outside curriculum, ensure that it was created for the role you have chosen to develop. If the partner you are considering hasn’t identified the unique roles and built their library of sales training objectives and content accordingly, raise the red flag. More investigation is required. 

Secondly, all the conceptual models must be linked to the specific challenges faced by the participant. Time must be invested in creating the exercises, examples, and case studies, specific to their role. To be blunt, generic content, even if it’s uniquely created for the role, simply doesn’t work. 

As stated earlier, change is hard. Most reps will not put in the additional effort to link the concepts to their world. The application must be built in from the start, or the participants will walk out complaining, “They just didn’t understand my world,” and the investment will be lost.

Finally, generic coaching and leadership models that are often deployed to develop the front-line managers — while effective at teaching leadership principles and a conversational guide for conducting a coaching session — will fail to provide the tactical tools needed to address the root cause of the performance gap. Sticking with the golf analogy, if they learned how to have a collaborative discussion with the golfer about how to improve their game but have no idea how to fix their slice, the coaching session may be well received, but the player will still walk away with the same gap.

Again, the core problem is in the linkage. An effective coaching program will move beyond the conceptual model and provide leaders with the insight to diagnose the root cause of the problem and then accurately prescribe an effective developmental plan. Since most leadership programs were created for every possible role, from engineers to accountants, this critical step of the program is missing. Unless the content was specifically built for equipping sales leaders, the linkage is candidly just not possible. And without this critical element of the program, managers will either revert back to show and tell (“give me the club, and I’ll show you how to hit the ball”) or just bail on coaching altogether. And both paths lead to pretty much the same results.

At ASLAN®, we’ve spent the last twenty years honing in on the specific sales training objectives that each sales role needs, and we’d be happy to help you develop the sales coaching strategy that addresses your needs and empowers your team. Drop us a line to get the conversation started

As Co-founder and CEO, Tom’s primary role is to create content that helps people live, sell, and serve more effectively. Find him on LinkedIn

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