Is Your Sales Training Strategy Trying Too Hard? Here’s Why It Doesn’t Need ‘Everything But the Kitchen Sink’

Is Your Sales Training Strategy Trying Too Hard? Here’s Why It Doesn’t Need ‘Everything But the Kitchen Sink’

Previously, we discussed Why Sales Training Programs Aren’t Exclusively A Front-Line Responsibility and the importance of involving top-level leadership in your sales training strategy. In this blog post, we’re highlighting another leading problem with sales training programs: cramming everything into one program and applying the training to every possible service. 

Pitfall #5: Throwing everything but the ‘kitchen sink’ into your sales training programs.

When making a huge investment to bring the sales force together for a training event, the temptation is great to cram everything into one program and to apply the training to every possible product, solution, and service. Don’t fall for that temptation. Self-efficacy (one’s belief in their ability to reach a goal) is a critical component of learning. When you overwhelm participants with too much information, the paradox of choice comes into play and they quickly decide that while change may be beneficial, it’s just not possible. The key to training is not to raise the bar, but to lower it, ensuring reps quickly develop momentum in a new direction. 

Here are a couple of recommendations to help ensure you calibrate the correct amount of content to your audience:

Apply sales management training to just one solution, product set, or customer type. 

For example, avoid building your discovery models and exercises around uncovering the needs for every solution. Instead, apply to just one specific solution. Now is not the time to educate the reps on all the solutions your organization offers; the focus is to develop the skill. If you try to accomplish both, you will accomplish neither. Build the skill models around one solution throughout the program. If they develop the new skill by applying to just one solution, they will quickly see and be able to apply it to their remaining solutions. 

After the initial training, you can develop your reinforcement sessions applying the same skill model to the remaining solutions. If your sales organization is more transactional in nature and doesn’t sell solutions, then focus on one customer type and the relevant products associated with that unique profile.

Measure the percentage of time spent in interactive exercises in your sales training strategy. 

If the application of the concepts taught in the program is under 50 percent, you have too much content. The actual percentage should be determined by the availability of the managers to reinforce the program. The less management support offered, the higher the percentage should be spent on the application. The more you can lean on the managers to coach and develop their team, the less dependent you are on the training event to develop new skills. Regardless, the time spent on the application should never drop below 50 percent.

At ASLAN®, we offer some of the top sales management training throughout the country, which means we understand the importance of finding a program that’s worth the investment. If you have any questions about our sales training programs, feel free to reach out to us. And stay tuned for Pitfall #6 in our next post by subscribing to our newsletter

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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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