3 Ways to Make Your Sales Training System More Effective

3 Ways to Make Your Sales Training System More Effective

The most popular and effective diets and workout routines—ones that lead to the most dramatic changes—have specific guidelines and rules for how to follow the system.

No such system existed for sales—until now.

Like a good diet or workout system, the most effective sales training systems start with people challenging themselves to achieve.

That's right, sellers need to challenge themselves to achieve.

It's not about being the top seller in the company (though that might be the end result), it's about wanting to better oneself and their performance.

When sellers challenge themselves to focus on their own success, they can achieve significant improvement in results.

Our system, the 90-Day Extreme Productivity Challenge, has specific rules that, when followed exactly, have a dramatic effect on sales activity and results.

There are three ways to help make your sales training system more effective:

Force sales training or coaching on someone and the best you'll get is compliance. At worst, he or she will try to sabotage the process. Instead, allow the individual to elect to follow the process and you'll gain commitment. Sellers need to take ownership of their own success. Until they do, they'll never reach their potential. The best sales leaders recognize this, and they work to get sellers to accept and maximize their sense of ownership. For example, when sellers begin working with a RAIN Sales Coach, they're given the option to accept the 90-Day Extreme Productivity Challenge. The purpose of this challenge is to allow the seller to test the limits of his or her potential. You can't force anyone to do something like this. The person needs to want it. He or she needs to elect it. Not everyone does. However, those who do—the sellers who have the strong desire and commitment for achievement and who take responsibility for their own success—often accept the training, coaching, challenges, and extra support you're willing to give them. When they do, they typically surprise even themselves with what they can achieve.

Sellers need to define their own goals. Great sales leaders, managers, and coaches guide sellers through a goal-setting process, but don't specifically define their goals for them. This is not only important to help the seller take ownership, it also affects their desire to achieve. This isn't to say sales managers and leadership shouldn't give sellers targets and quotas—they should. Sellers, however, need to take responsibility for reaching those targets and they should have other goals they're working towards achieving as well (e.g. earning a promotion, saving more in retirement, etc.). After the seller defines his or her goals, sales leaders then help them create specific action plans to achieve those goals. As we know from our research, the clarity of the tasks of the job is a major factor in seller motivation. When the coach helps to clarify goals and connects them to the tasks, the effect on the seller's motivation is often significant.

In our Top Performing Sales Organization research, we found that Top Performers are much more likely to prioritize the time sales managers spend coaching. In fact, only 28% of The Rest (representing 80% of respondents) agreed their organization prioritizes coaching. And when sales coaching is provided, it's often infrequent, ad hoc, and sporadic. In and of itself, this isn't bad. Ad hoc coaching on winning specific opportunities can be great, but unless there's a specific and regular rhythm of conversation and connection between coach and seller, motivation can be hampered and uneven. Leading regular meetings on a set schedule that are designed to cover sales opportunities, actions, and commitments, is a difference maker. For example, one of RAIN Group's clients is a management consulting firm. The firm's sellers are senior partners who deliver work and who also must bring in the work. When any selling job is shared with another job (e.g., seller/doer, seller/sales manager), oftentimes it's selling that takes a back seat to other priorities. With this client, we held a group meeting at a set time every other week with a specific agenda that included reviewing commitments made at the previous coaching meeting. A few months after getting started, our client told us, "About three or four days before your coaching meeting, we see spikes of activity in our CRM system of about 40%. Turns out that nobody wants to be seen by their peers as having not met their commitments." These meetings have motivation built into them. The team shares wins, the coach helps the team build confidence, and the coach works to inspire and challenge the team to keep its members' energy and focus high. The regularity of these meetings and the inclusion of commitment reviews create an informal accountability that ignites motivation. Without the rhythm of consistent meetings and regular check-ins, this kind of motivation can disappear.

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