Every sales organization relies on a strong sales training program as an essential aspect of onboarding new employees. Unfortunately, a lot of the information taught to sales reps in training and coaching sessions is often forgotten shortly after the training or coaching period ends. If sales lessons aren’t being reinforced and retained by sales reps for the duration of their career, this represents a failure in sales management and sales coaching. Prevent this from happening and strengthen your skills retention by using these 4 methods to reinforce your sales training program.
1. Individual Review
There are many proactive steps that reps can take to reinforce the training on their own. It’s on you, the sales manager, to not only hire reps who demonstrate such proactiveness and self-discipline and to implement a culture that promotes such a work ethic but also to take specific reinforcement steps. For instance, giving reps the right printed materials – such as key sections of sales books, important white papers and eBooks – to reference when they need to can be an effective way to constantly deliver key information. Encourage reps to take their learning into their own hands, such as by taping important points of reference in visible areas of their cubicle or desk.
2. 1-on-1 Training
Sales managers should meet regularly with individual sales reps to review goals and training and monitor progress. This should happen at least every other week and ideally every week, giving you a chance to keep close tabs on each rep. During each 1-on-1 training or coaching session, it’s important that you bring an analytical approach, using your data to point to specific areas of weaknesses or strengths. Also bring a list of specific questions about the training material to quiz on, or to answer for reps. At the end of each session, suggest several topics or goals that you should both review for the next session.
3. Peer Workshops
Encourage your reps to practice their sales strategies with each other with a critical eye. Evaluating each other’s performance can provide interesting perspectives and provide salient coaching points and areas of improvement that are more resonant with your reps. They might be able to spot each other’s basic mistakes before the devolve into fully formed bad habits. Create a culture whereby constructive criticism and respectful evaluations are supported. There’s an important line to straddle though – reps who are disrespectfully criticizing each other in an unproductive manner can be very bad for your team.
4. Small Group Meetings
Large meetings tend to be less productive than smaller ones, especially if they are not focused only on the salespeople. Hold small weekly meetings dedicated specifically to your sales teams to review training topics and discuss new ideas. These meetings or stand-ups should be a chance for your reps to share their findings and learnings with each other, instead of providing a forum for you to lecture them in front of their peers.