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3 Reasons to Consider Role Based Sales Training

Sales performance improvement

role based sales training benefits

Ken Cross, Director of Sales Enablement Solutions

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Stop Using a One-size-fits-all Approach in Sales Training

Have you ever felt like the wrong size, in a one-size-fits-all world? Cars without enough legroom, hats that look wonky, and sales training that just doesn’t match what you do, “in real life”? If you have ever felt this way about sales training (forget hats and cars), you are not alone. It is commonplace to survey sellers, post-training, and hear comments like:

  1. This just does not match how I work with my customers
  2. I get it, but I don’t know how I am going to use it
  3. Sounds great, in theory, but I don’t think it will help me to sell more

After investing a large sum of money into your sales team, feedback like this can be pretty off-putting and quickly make you question your life choices (let alone the ROI you were expecting). In fact, many sales training initiatives fail, because organizations miss the opportunity to align training with various sales roles, for example: often, sellers are put into buckets such as “hunters” (business development) versus “farmers” (account executives). While there is a common set of skills, knowledge, and abilities that are required for each role to be successful, for example, the ability to be conversational, adaptable, and apply critical thinking, there is also a divergence when it comes to really digging into what is required to be successful in one role versus the other.

When you consider that organizations are experiencing an unprecedented level of change in rapidly shifting markets and sellers are struggling to sell in an increasingly fast-paced and complex environment, a one-size-fits-all model quickly losses its appeal. Quite frankly, it is outdated thinking (actually, it likely never really worked) to think that everyone in the sales organization can be trained with a generic, blanket approach.

Let’s explore why it is high time for sales organizations to consider a role-based training approach to sales performance development:

1. A clearer picture of what is needed to be successful, in a given role, begins to emerge

Many successful role-based training initiatives start with the concepts of competencies, aligned with each role within the sales organization (known as a competency model). Competency models, therefore, paint a picture of “what good looks like”, per role. 

This concept, especially when bolstered by behavior-based assessments, aligned by role, allows organizations to get a clearer picture of what the most successful sellers do, by role, to be so successful.

2. Better accuracy for measuring behavior change

When considering any training initiative, it is essential to measure behavior change, which is typically a leading indicator to business results and overall performance improvements. 

Role-based training, when coupled with assessments, allows the before and after measurement of sellers, by role, to determine if the changes in behavior are driving the right business results. Based on the data, since it is broken down by what is needed to be successful, per role, allows more finetuning of the sellers, when changes are needed to the training approaches that have been implemented.

3. Improved time to results

Because the training is aligned with the seller's specific role and function, they are more quickly able to begin applying learned concepts to real opportunities. In fact, the most robust role-based training solutions have a very strong emphasis on sellers having access to tools and resources they have learned, as part of their day-to-day workflow. Therefore, not only is the training aligned with their development needs but the supporting day-to-day tools are also well aligned with each unique role. This approach quickens the time needed for sellers to generate sales performance improvement.

In summary, there are many benefits to the concept of role-based training, beyond the few listed above and it is an ideal approach to consider, especially when faced with the rapidly changing markets that many of your sellers experience on a daily basis.

Learn more about implementing a role-based sales training strategy by downloading our brief detailing how to design a multi-role sales training curriculum

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