Observing Sales Training (Part 2)

I had to leave the training session shortly after lunch on the second day (out of three).  More on the program in a minute…

Last week I had an interesting discussion with Barry Trailor from CSO Insights about how old-style classroom sales training often doesn’t get the job done these days.  We agreed that some classroom training is definitely required (Barry thinks a day is appropriate), but that a blended learning approach is generally more effective.  (I would suggest you opt-in to ESR’s mailing list.  You’ll receive notice of when my upcoming podcasts with Barry and other sales thought leaders are published.)

With that being said, this program was a cut above…  The first day and a half took the participants to places they haven’t been in the areas of process, competitive strategy, politics and leveraging sales enablement technology.  The sales reps, grouped into teams, get to work one live opportunity per team throughout the three days. 

The two VPs of sales and the VP of marketing that I mentioned yesterday were engaged as well.  Not only were they taking their own knowledge and skills to a different level, but they were sending a very strong message to the sales team:  “We’re in this with you.”  They’ll be ready, willing and able when it comes to coaching the team through the difficult 60 days following this kind of an event—the time when old habits need to be replaced by new ones.  This is when many sales training programs fall over.  Not during the class.  They fail because there is no post-program learning reinforcement.

After I published my post yesterday, the CEO called me from the back of the training room where I was observing.  He introduced me to two members of his board, which had been meeting in another room.  The CEO had updated the board (they are a public company) on the progress of the sales performance improvement initiative.  I’ll be connecting with one board member on the phone to provide our perspective on the challenges and the projected results with respect to this intervention. 

I ran into two other board members, both of whom I worked with in the past.  Each, having heard the approach our client was taking, were interested in talking with us about assessing the challenges they have in their own respective sales organizations.  Both are CFOs of public companies—a nice place to be selling.  I’ll keep you posted on that as well.

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