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The Learning Hug Part I: Training Services Wrap Around and Support Learning

Years ago, at the start of my career, I was a social worker involved with helping children who had mental and behavioral challenges. What was essential to our work was making sure there were services wrapped around each case so the entire family could live at home together safely.

When I think of our work at Richardson Sales Performance, helping sales professionals improve their selling skills and their performance, a similar wrapping concept applies. Specifically, training services need to be wrapped around the learning we provide to make sure our clients demonstrate the right behaviors within the sales environment. This wrapping of services is what I like to call the learning hug.

Think of it like this: The heart of what we offer clients is a blended learning solution that accelerates behavior change. There’s online learning of basic concepts, workshops for practice and application of skills, discussion boards to share experiences and ideas, and analytics to target areas of need. In addition to this core of our adaptive learning platform is a suite of services that encircles the learning experience.

While training is the most essential and visible element of our work, more effort is needed to make sure the learning translates into behavior change back on the job. If we don’t provide the necessary support, any training undertaken by sales professionals that isn’t immediately applied is quickly forgotten. For learning to be sustained, training participants have to be motivated, recognized, and rewarded for changing behavior. So what Richardson Sales Performance does is hug each client, wrapping them in support and training services that are aligned with achieving their common goals or desired outcomes.

Why Expanded Training Services Support Learning

While clients tend to focus on the actual training, there needs to be some groundwork that takes place beforehand. Most important, the organization should have a consistent sales process in place that can be applied in a disciplined way to consistently achieve expectations. It’s a matter of everyone singing from the same song sheet. In order to create an environment where learned skills not only can but will be applied, new behaviors have to become “the way we do things around here.” Otherwise, everybody will go back to the way they did things before.

Part of our hug of support involves having the right tools. The sales process is a start, but does it have consistent practices and verifiable outcomes that have been communicated to the sales team?

Does the process exist on a sheet of paper tucked in a binder, or is it integrated with and accessible through the CRM? Making the sales process operational, and institutional, through the CRM allows the salesforce to capture these steps and confirm that the activities and behaviors have been applied and verified. Such verification goes beyond just saying things were done; it provides visibility validates the right steps are being taken and the proof is in the data.

Learning and adoption of knowledge followed by behavior change will not stick much beyond the training class unless it’s put into practice immediately, reinforced regularly, and made part of the daily routine. True change and transformation take a regular cadence of communication and training reinforcement to achieve results. It takes the Richardson Sales Performance Learning Hug to make sure all the pieces are in place.

About the Author

Eileen Krantz is currently the Vice President of Consulting & Measurement at Richardson, a leading global sales performance solutions provider. She is responsible for helping Richardson’s clients improve their business by applying appropriate consulting solutions and leveraging data and analytics. Richardson utilizes a variety of technologies and methods to assess a sales organization’s ability to deliver against a client’s market promise and to recommend business-relevant solutions designed to impact near- and long-term business objectives.

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