Skip to main content

What Makes a Good Sales Training Reinforcement Strategy?

MobileReinforcement Banner Mobile Sales Training

agrodnitzkyNovember 15, 2013Blog

Share on LinkedInShare on TwitterShare on Facebook

A good sales training reinforcement strategy requires early planning. One of the biggest mistakes I see our clients sometimes make is waiting until after the training is over to think about the actual reinforcement plan.

You and other sales leaders need to be thinking about your skill reinforcement plan well in advance to help your reps achieve the most they can from the training.

Ideally, you should split it up into three phases.

  • What do you want to do for short-term reinforcement?
  • What do you want to do in the medium-term?
  • What do you want to do in the long-term?
Each of those three sales training reinforcement buckets should be a little bit different.

Short Term Sales Training Reinforcement

In the short-term, for example, you may want to focus on knowledge mastery by drilling participants in the concepts they learned in the main classroom training. We do this through our QuickCheck post-training reinforcement process that involves spaced repetition, testing, and competition for about eight weeks following the initial training delivery.

Participants are e-mailed two questions per week. They answer the questions, and even if they get the question wrong, they will see the correct answer and try to answer the question right the next time. Results are captured in a database and reported back to sales managers for additional coaching.

Many clients also elect to post results of the top ten performers on a leaderboard to fuel competition and accountability. All of this activity sends a message that the skills learned in the classroom are not going away.

Medium Term Sales Training Reinforcement

In the medium-term, you might start doing assessments to see how salespeople are doing and gauge and flex what it is you are reinforcing.

Assessments could take place as a result of sales managers inspecting a sales rep’s call plan or observing the rep in action. This activity identifies strengths and gaps and enables rich developmental sales coaching discussions to create additional awareness of gaps and suggestions to close gaps. You might be giving more on-the-job training to really make sure that the new behaviors are embedded into their daily work stream, and ultimately helping your team make their sales quota.

Long Term Sales Training Reinforcement

Then, in the long-term, you want to see the needle for a rep’s key performance indicators start to move in the right direction.

If they know what they need to do, and if through inspection you see that they are doing it, then you would expect positive results to follow. If KPI’s aren’t moving in the right direction, then that’s a red flag requiring a closer look.

You need to ask yourself if this is a trend you are seeing across the sales force; in isolated pockets, such as a territory or vertical; or something very unique to the rep in question.

If you have issues in pockets or territories, it could be an indication that sales management is lagging in their role to reinforce the training. Leadership must hold management accountable, just as management must hold the rep accountable.

A big part of any sales training reinforcement program is coaching, and I think organizations have gotten the memo: coaching is important. They have seen that it has business impact.

For years, those of us in the sales training space have been trying to get people to understand how important coaching is. Organizations get it. I think managers get it. But that doesn’t make it any easier for managers to actually do it.

They have a lot of things on their plate. If their organizations are not teaching them how to do it or pushing them to do it, it may fall down on the list. What we are trying to now have discussions with our clients about is that coaching a sales team is a learned skill. It requires just as much, if not more, attention in terms of a training plan as sales skills.

It is sometimes harder for sales managers to learn how to coach and to acquire coaching behaviors — true developmental coaching behaviors — than it is for a salesperson to pick up new sales skills.

The best, or one of the best, ROIs on your training investments is to not only expect your managers to coach but to teach them how to do it. Help them build the skills to have true developmental coaching discussions.

Share on LinkedInShare on TwitterShare on Facebook
sales skill assessments

SkillGauge Sales Assessment Brochure

Learn about all of the assessment tools Richardson Sales Performance has to offer.

Download

Resources You Might Be Interested In

agile selling skills

Brief: How Agile Sales Professionals Use Sprints to Target, Message, and Engage Prospects

Download this brief to learn how Sprint Prospecting™ enables agility that quickly gets to the core of the customer’s needs.

Article

evidence-based solution selling training for healthcare

Brief: Engaging Healthcare Professionals with Agile Messaging

Discover three ways sellers can deliver meaningful messaging to HCPs to gain access while staying in compliance.

Article

richardson sales performance and training company

White Paper: Accessing Growth with Sprint Prospecting

Download the White Paper, Accessing Growth with Sprint Prospecting, we offer a new set of skills designed to earn the customer’s attention.

Article

Solutions You Might Be Interested In