4 Secrets to Making Sales Management Training Stick


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Sending sales managers through intensive training is one thing, but how do you make the training actually stick? Great question. How do you make sales management training both powerful and sustainable?

A common point of failure for many sales management training programs is to deliver a sales management training event, but then fail to provide a change management strategy to support the long-term adoption of the training. Without a change management strategy, sales managers are left on their own to figure out how to implement whatever knowledge, tools, and methodologies they received from the training on top of their existing responsibilities. Many sales forces know from experiences that this an onerous task indeed.

If you want your sales managers to be the driving force behind high-impact changes in your organization, consider using the following change management principles to improve the staying power of sales management training.

1) Set Clear Expectations and Over-Communicate Them
Effective change management starts with setting clear expectations and then over-communicating them. And then over-communicating them again. You can’t have lasting change if sales managers don’t know what type of change is expected. You need to help managers identify very specific objectives and activities that they need to do, and then help them define a sales management rhythm that will provide a framework for when they should do them, how they should do them, and where they should do them.

2) Involve Sales Managers in Decision-Making Process
Getting buy-in from sales managers is key to making lasting changes within your sales force. The best way to obtain buy-in from sales managers is to involve them in the decision-making process of determining what changes need to be made and how they need to be made. People don’t necessarily dislike change; they just don’t like to be changed against their will. By involving sales managers in the decision-making process regarding what changes need to be made, sales managers are motivated to push toward the change instead of fighting it all the way.

3) Attempt the Least Amount of Change that Will Get the Job Done
The sales manager role is very complex, so it seems logical that they would need complex sales management training, robust management tools, and complicated solutions to help them do their job. However, just the opposite is true. Small changes can have a big impact if they are the right changes. Sales managers need training, tools, and solutions that will simplify their job, not add to the chaos. To improve sales manager performance, identify the top few changes that will have the biggest impact on sales force performance, and keep a laser focus on those goals. By changing only the things that are necessary, sales managers can focus their attention on the high priority goals that will have the biggest impact.

4) Remove Roadblocks and Reinforce
Whenever significant change is attempted, resistance is not far behind. Sales managers will encounter obstacles that will make the change difficult, but reinforcement from sales leadership can help them battle through the challenges. We have tried to reinforce sales management training in multiple ways, but the best strategy we’ve found is to involve sales leadership in coaching the front-line sales managers. However, this requires a commitment from second line sales managers who must adjust their priorities and management rhythm to support on-the-job execution of the desired changes. With coaching from sales leaders, sales managers can avoid reverting back to previous norms and behaviors.

So next time you design sales management training, don’t view it as an event. Create a change management strategy that will lead to lasting improvement. Be clear about your goals, involve sales managers in the process, keep it as focused as can be, and reinforce it through senior sales leadership. If you do these things, our experience says that you’ll have a winning sales management training program on your hands. And a winning sales team in the field.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Michelle Vazzana
Michelle Vazzana is a partner at Vantage Point Performance and co-author of Cracking the Sales Management Code. Vazzana has more than 28 years of successful sales and management experience in the major account environment. For more information, visit www.vantagepointperformance.com.


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