January is the month of resolutions and
predictions. Keeping that in mind, we posed a question on our
Twitter and LinkedIn group: what do you think will be
2011's biggest trends for Sales Training?
And judging from the response, this is something you've all spent
time thinking about! Here are three of the recurring trends you'd
like to see for sales training.
Reinforcement Plans will (finally) catch on.
It's not news that training fades without reinforcement. It's
just human nature to go back to habits you had before. But when
those bad habits are actively costing you money in training,
retraining, and headaches when you need to train again, you need
to change them.
Reinforcement plans help changing those habits in two ways. The
first is it lets you catch small issues before they snowball into
large, costly problems. In other words, if you keep the content
fresh in a sales reps' mind, they're likely to keep trying it.
Reinforcement plans also help you weed out ineffective training
programs. When you can rule out the possibility that sales teams
just aren't using the new information, you can start to see how
effective the training really was. And what's the result of more
informed decisions? More applicable training.
Web-based training will surge.
The largest advantage of web-based training is it can be done
anywhere at any time. This helps every field, but most of all
sales. Looking for something to do at lunch? Brush up on your
listening and questioning skills. Up late at
night worried about closing a big deal with a client? Take a
refresher course on closing. Best of all, instead of wasting
valuable selling time during the day taking a class, you're free
to take it on your own time.
Of course, this is talking about web-based training as asynchronous
(a fancy way of saying it's recorded instead of live). In terms of
synchronous learning though, it still enables a mass sales force to
be trained all at the same time across the world. What more can you
The big question about web-based training is what's going to end up
being more popular? "Bite-sized" training meant to reinforce, or
large-scale training plans that replace the classroom?
Sales Coaching will overtake Sales Training
This was one of the more surprising trends we noticed, but it makes
sense. As one commenter so aptly put it:
"Training is for products and processes. Coaching is for working
with the individual and helping them apply their style to the
product and process."
Sales coaching allows for individualized treatment as opposed to
broad general instruction. When you're asking for a sales rep's
input as opposed to simply telling them what to do, they're also
more likely to be invested in the answer. After all, they came up
with it. Not only that, but it allows you to bring the best out of
what's already there instead of putting something new in that might
not work for them.
So, what do you think? Is it time to do away with the classroom and
invest in the web? Should we be changing our name to "Sales
Coaching Drivers"? Let us know what trends you see for 2011 in the
Photo credit: macbeck (http://www.flickr.com/people/macbeck/)