This post is by Eric Esfahanian, Gryphon’s chief revenue officer, originally for Selling Power.
Sales training is always one of the first things managers look to for increasing performance. But the number one reason managers are reluctant to invest in training is because they know that – four or five weeks after the trainer walks out of their classroom – salespeople go back to old habits. Studies show almost 80 percent of the value of training is lost within 90 days of its conclusion.
It is no longer enough to conduct sales training to establish a process framework for salespeople. To achieve optimal sales effectiveness, you must use the “rule of three”: technology and sales coaching in addition to training will work together to make training actually valuable in the long term and drive results.
Sales Coach or Judge?
Let’s first look at the impact of good sales coaching. According to the AA-ISP, managers spend less than 20 percent of their time on coaching – even though Selling Power reports effective sales coaching can improve win rates by as much as 25 percent.
The stats are in on the importance of establishing a process and supporting it with coaching:
- Almost 75 percent of sales organizations waste resources (CSO Insights, 2014) due to random and informal coaching approaches. Only one-quarter leverage a formal and dynamic coaching process.
- Overall quota attainment for companies with informal coaching processes is 84.7 percent – while companies that have implemented a formal coaching process see 91.2 percent of overall quota attainment (CSO Insights, 2014).
Sales coaching is all about interpretation. Interpreting the processes is no different from a judge interpreting the law and individual behaviors/motivations to take impartial and decisive action.
The Sales “Justice System”
Which brings us back to training. Though not training or coaching is never an option, it must be augmented with technology that enforces the learned principles and processes every day automatically.
To establish a sales management program that is sustainable, your training, coaching, and technology-driven accountability system needs to work like the American judicial system.
Sales training is the “rules and regulations.” Technology – specifically, call activity tracking and attainment tools – should act as the daily “enforcement” of the team’s rules. What good is the law if there are no police to enforce the law? Finally, sales coaching makes a manager the “judge” to analyze and interpret both the law as well as the behaviors and motivations of the people (your reps).
All three are essential, and none can exist without the others. Coaching and training without technology make as little sense as creating laws but having no police to enforce them – and having no ability to interpret or put them into context.
Good training programs set the foundation for activity. The technology ensures the principles from training are maintained on a day-to-day basis. Sales coaching will verify and optimize training principles for real-world selling in context.
When working together as an integrated system, you will not only improve effectiveness but establish a blueprint for continuous improvement that is proven and measurable in any situation.