Is Your Sales Training Working? 7 Signs It’s Time for a Sales Training Tune-Up
September 8, 2023
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Is your sales training working? Unfortunately, if you’re like 47 percent of sales enablement teams, you may not know because you haven’t measured your efforts.
The good news is that there are ways to measure your sales training’s effectiveness, and once you do, you can identify signs that your sales training may need to be adjusted or improved.
Of course, to make those improvements, it’s important to overcome common obstacles that stand in the way of high-quality sales training.
Discover actionable ways to measure your sales training and the signs it’s time to re-evaluate the process.
How to measure the effectiveness of sales training
An effective sales training program is one of the best ways to showcase the value of the sales enablement team. Remember that you want to track both leading indicators and lagging indicators.
When you measure both, you have a strong picture of where your team is and what direction they’re trending.
Lagging sales indicators
Lagging KPIs may seem like an odd place to start, but these are the current results your leadership team looks at. Understanding where you are and explaining how potential changes to the training process will move the needle is essential.
Sales win rate percentages and quota attainment are two of the most visible lagging indicators that a sales training process is successful or needs work. However, keep in mind that these KPIs measure how effective the training process was several weeks or months ago, so if you’ve made recent changes, poor results may not be the red flags they appear to be.
Other lesser-considered KPIs include the length of the sales cycle and profitability. If you can improve sales training to reduce the sales cycle or increase profitability, you’ll make a big difference in the bottom line.
Leading sales indicators
Leading indicators don’t tell you how sales are today, but they are signals that show how sales are likely to be in the coming weeks and months. So you want to ensure you’re getting great results here because these KPIs will turn into quota wins or misses.
Conversion rates are one of the most critical leading sales metrics, and one place where sales training can have the most significant impact. So consider conversion rates at every level of the buyer’s journey.
Other leading indicators include the number of leads generated, outreach attempts, and quotes. When you combine these with your conversion rates, you can get a good idea of where sales should be at the end of the period.
How well your training process drives outcomes
Evaluate how well your training process drives your desired results outside of sales KPIs.
Did you know that B2B sales reps forget 70 percent of what they learn within a week of training? These numbers underscore the importance of using technology and learning methods to ensure your sales training is engaging and effective.
The most effective training:
- Engages the sales reps
- Is short and interesting
- Focuses on specific skills and outcomes
- Helps reps improve conversion rates and other KPIs
Read more: Make eLearning Engaging in 7 Steps
The good news is that your revenue enablement team can create personalized training that caters to your team members’ learning styles. Technology can also enable sales reps to access training on demand and keep resources at their fingertips rather than requiring them to memorize large amounts of information.
For example, Reddit used WorkRamp to decrease sales ramp time significantly. Ashley Crisostomo, Reddit’s Principal Program Manager on the Sales Enablement team, shared, “When I first joined Reddit, it was about nine months before our sales reps were fully ramped up and carrying quotas. For new hire onboarding, our main business goal was to decrease ramp time and time-to-quota—and with WorkRamp, we decreased ramp time by 33 percent.”
Signs it’s time to re-evaluate your sales training process
Now that you know how to measure the effectiveness of your sales training, it’s time to hone in on the specific red flags that tell you it’s time for a change.
You’re not hitting KPIs
The first and most obvious sign that something isn’t right with the sales training process is that your reps aren’t meeting their goals or that your sales process isn’t producing the desired results.
If you notice leading indicators flagging, it’s time to take action. If your lagging KPIs are a problem, first consider whether you’ve recently made improvements in training. If you have, measure the leading indicators to ensure that these improvements will show up in the numbers.
Otherwise, it’s time to change the sales training process.
Your training isn’t interactive
Old-school training approaches require sales reps to either read or listen to material about how to improve their technique. If that’s where your training stops, there’s a lot of opportunity for improvement.
Go beyond role-plays and create interaction within the training environment. For example, try a choose-your-own-adventure style training process where reps can decide how to respond and then see the results.
Or, consider a short training session, a period to practice with prospects in their daily work, and then a debrief session where they report on how things went. Again, the more interactive your training is, the better.
With WorkRamp’s Sales Training LMS, you can create personalized, engaging training to develop confident, successful sellers. Whether your team is remote, hybrid, or in-office, you can provide a 1-on-1 sales training experience with live coaching, virtual roleplay, simulations, and more.
You (or your reps) aren’t sure of the payoff from training
“What’s in this for me?” isn’t just something we hear from prospects. It’s something your sales reps are asking as well. The more explicit you can make the payoff from training, the more engaged and focused sales reps will be.
Training that doesn’t have a clear payoff in terms of better results, money or incentives, or position within the company isn’t going to capture attention and is likely to be quickly forgotten.
The sales team is struggling with common challenges
Every sales rep has to manage common objections and pressure from competitors, but that doesn’t make it easy.
If your sales team struggles with day-to-day challenges or seems unprepared for today’s marketplace, it’s a sign that your sales training is outdated or ineffective at giving reps the skills they need to succeed and thrive.
Lack of follow-up training or coaching
Spaced-out repetition and practice are keys to learning for both children and adults. The more someone practices a new skill, technique, or approach, the easier it will become.
If your sales training process doesn’t revisit key concepts over time, that’s a sign it’s time to re-evaluate the training process.
Training isn’t just for new incoming reps. It should be an ongoing process regardless of an employee’s tenure.
Sales resources are disorganized
Do you have some sales guides on paper and others that are digital? Are your digital resources spread throughout the company’s storage ecosystem?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it’s time to re-evaluate your sales training. Both new hires and seasoned sales reps need quick access to training materials. Resources should be easy to find when team members need them.
Well-organized digital training makes it easy for sales reps to access materials when it fits their schedule, allowing valuable review time and saving time and money for sales training.
Training isn’t flexible
Old-school training practices used to take sales reps out of the field for days at a time, and then reps were expected to remember those hours of training and implement everything right away.
Today we know better. Revenue enablement teams can create bite-sized, 30-minute training modules that focus on a specific skill or approach and provide real-time improvements to the sales process.
Sales enablement teams can also take advantage of different learning styles that allow reps to complete training at a cadence that works for them.
These methods include:
- Virtual instructor-led training (VILT). Learning occurs in a virtual or simulated environment. This type of learning simulates a classroom setting, and users can access instruction at any time.
- Asynchronous learning. This approach uses interactive learning models that users can access anywhere, anytime.
- Blended learning. Blended or hybrid learning offers both in-person and online training options.
When you leverage these modalities, sales reps won’t be frustrated that they’re losing valuable selling time to a clunky, outdated process that doesn’t address today’s sales environment.
How to improve your sales training
What steps can you take once you’ve realized it’s time to make a change?
Here’s a process you can follow to improve your sales training and results.
Set the stage
The first thing to consider is whether the revenue enablement team can address the necessary improvements on their own or whether other stakeholders need to approve a budget and project timeline.
Either way, the next step is to create a clear plan to address red flags you’ve noticed and how you can address them. If necessary, you can also do a cost-benefit analysis that showcases how sales reps and the company will benefit from each proposed improvement.
Choose your platform
Next, consider whether your current learning management system (LMS) is up to the challenge or if you need to upgrade to something easier to use and fits today’s learning environment.
After she got a clear understanding of the process and organized the resources, she implemented WorkRamp as a solution to modernize not only onboarding but also training processes that helped keep current sales reps up-to-date.
“Most sales teams are bombarded with a ton of tech tools, and adding another tool to their plate is always a bit scary,” Angela says. “But what I loved about WorkRamp is that it was really easy for me to train everyone on how to use it.”
Go beyond the basics
Today’s sales reps need to know more than how the product helps the ideal customer. Because of today’s technological environment, they need to know how to use various tools to connect with, engage, and nurture prospects over time.
By creating training modules focused on specific tools, nurturing, and how your product or service meets specific pain points, you’ll be able to get your team the robust education they need to close sales effectively.
Use interactivity to boost engagement
People enjoy having fun when they learn, and making it interactive is an easy way to do that.
Include interactive elements like quizzes, challenges, and flip cards. Award points, badges, or perks to those who perform the best in training—but really, everyone is winning when it comes time to get back on the sales floor.
Provide training that teaches a specific skill
Rather than doing ongoing sales training in large blocks, break it down into short, actionable pieces. For example, a 20- or 30-minute training session on a specific skill or approach is far less disruptive than a full day of training.
Your sales reps will retain more and have the opportunity to practice immediately. Make sure to clarify how each skill you train will pay off for your sales reps.
Track your progress
Finally, you can improve sales training by tracking progress through modules and results.
As you track your progress, you’ve returned to the beginning of the process. You’re now measuring the effectiveness of your sales training and watching for signs you need to make further improvements.
Sales training is an investment that pays off
Every dollar invested in training has a 353 percent ROI. However, to see that return on your sales training program, it’s important to measure your results, look for indicators that it’s time to make changes, and react accordingly.
The Learning Cloud from WorkRamp can help you create effective sales training and equip your team with the necessary resources to close more deals. Ready to learn more? Contact us to schedule a free demo.
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Anna SpoonerFreelance Writer
Anna Spooner is a digital strategist and marketer with over 11 years of experience. She writes content for various industries, including SaaS, medical and personal insurance, healthcare, education, marketing, and business. She enjoys the process of putting words around a company’s vision and is an expert at making complex ideas approachable and encouraging an audience to take action.