Why is so much sales training ineffective? Classic Training Mistakes
Monday 11 April 2016
According to Dettaman and Sternberg (Transfer on Trial 1996) 86% of skills training fails to transfer into the workplace, and of the 14% that does there is dissipation within four months. What is even more astounding is that when we talk about these figures to those who have been on sales training courses and even those who organise such events, they all seem to agree. Here is an excerpt from Peter Fullbrook's article "Why is so much sales training ineffective?"
Why is the transfer from classroom to workplace of sales training so ineffective?
Below is a brief list of the main reasons why the transfer from classroom to workplace of much sales training is so poor, even if you do get the content right.
- No measurement – if there is no system in place to measure change in practice and improvement in skills, then the sales people revert back to old practices very quickly. Most organisations don’t really understand how to measure sales effectiveness and how good (or bad) their sales people are.
- Bad training – sales training (like all good training), should allow people to prove to themselves that they can now do something better than before. Much training in sales is slides and story-telling – ego driven trainer behaviours rather than allowing people to practice and improve.
- Just too much – many sales training programmes have too much content and not enough practice. This is made worse by generic content, where things that may actually be useful are lost in the myriad of slides, models and tips. Good training in sales focuses on improving a few critical things only and is structured accordingly. I challenge anyone to remember more than 20% of what is covered in a three day course, let alone to try and implement it.
- No follow up – we know that the training course itself only exposes people to best practice, it does not improve their effectiveness. This happens through regular and high quality coaching. If coaching does not happen, most of the investment is wasted and people revert quickly to old habits.
The issues arise mainly because the maturity in buying sales training is low, compared to other buying processes. This is because many people buy sales training based on past experience and better known courses. Sales training is bought infrequently and as a result the rigour does not always exist to thoroughly evaluate.
So if you are told;
‘Our standard courses will meet your need’
Or ‘our methodology will improve your sales’
Or ‘our course will make your people effective’
Then question the validity of such catch-all statements. And if the training;
- Has less than 40% practice
- Is content and powerpoint heavy
- Has out-dated sales techniques
- Has not been updated since the world economy has changed
- Doesn’t have sales managers role at its core
- Is not customised
- Doesn’t have measurable outputs
- Doesn’t have clear workplace coaching support
Then we must accept the figure that 86% of the training will have no impact and more crucially, no ROI for your business.
This is an excerpt from Peter Fulbrook's article "Why is so much sales training ineffective?" Read article.