Aligning Training Investments with Critical Business Goals
In our three decades of observation, most companies struggle to ‘connect the dots’ between key functional areas that have a stake in sales training and transformation. As depicted below, each of these areas tend to have a different ‘lens’ and perspective driving their priorities. As a result, the organizational forces driving and funding sales training investments can have a major impact on the approach taken (and results attained).
Transforming sales training into performance development requires a fundamental shift in mindset, beginning with a clear understanding of business goals (growth strategy), which leads to related sales metrics. While it may seem obvious, many sales training initiatives fail to identify clear business outcomes and lack a systemic view of how new knowledge and behaviors will impact those results.
Different growth strategies (e.g., market penetration) drive variation in the specific sales goals and metrics that define success. In turn, these goals and metrics can require very different competency emphasis for professional development.
Moving from Learning Journey to Performance Journey
Many sales training programs tend to provide ‘general’ education for the sales organization, but don’t identify which capabilities are the most critical to meet specific sales goals. In addition, training projects rarely include a rigorous approach to apply observable behavior change – from both the seller and manager perspective.
As a result, adoption and behavior change take place on an ad hoc basis – from team-to-team and individual-to-individual. This approach leads to the random outcomes that characterize many improvement initiatives.
Five key steps can help ensure that training investments translate consistently to desired business outcomes:
- Align high-impact competencies with specific sales goals
- Objectively assess the current state of sales talent
- Incorporate a Learn>Practice>Apply>Coach methodology for attainment of mastery
- Use technology-enabled tools to reinforce and accelerate daily application
- ‘Close the loop’ by continually measuring competency progress versus sales results
With the help of integrated technology, it is now possible to apply a rational, data-driven approach for continuous sales improvement in your organization.
To learn more, download the executive brief Sales Training Does Not Equal Sales Performance.