Maximize the Return on Investment from Your Training Budget
“Our salespeople are struggling….Let’s hire a sales trainer, bring our team in, and have an off-site training meeting!”
That sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it? So, you plan the meeting and hire a professional training company to develop training material and to deliver it to your salespeople. You sacrifice a day or two’s worth of revenue for what should be a longer term pay off. That makes good sense doesn’t it?
But what really happens as a result of all of these off-site sales training meetings? Are you (and companies like you) really happy with the results? Do your salespeople show consistent, lasting improvement? Do they change their behavior over the long term? Do you get a return on your investment?
When it comes to sales training, development and coaching, almost everybody understands the need to “Do something.” But what is the right approach?
Most companies’ initial foray into sales training is one-day or half-day sales seminar. And they will find that they achieve the following outcomes based on the material that is presented, the personality type of their team members, and the management follow-up after the training:
Retail Sales Reps will be more motivated
Sales people will learn something new and put it into practice
Veteran retail sales people will be reminded of something they use to do to be successful but have forgotten over the years
Your salespeople will be reminded that they are on the right track and to keep doing what they are already doing
Your retail sales team will produce better results for a short period of time and then go back to their old ways
Your goal is probably to have more long-term, lasting effects from your sales training dollar. If so, then a more long term commitment to retail sales training and people development should be considered. Depending on the type and nature of both your salespeople and your business, multiple sessions and/or a blended training method that includes instructor-led training and web-based training methods may be required. This should include training not just for the retail sales representatives, but retail management training as well. Consistency in attitude, intention and actions is the most powerful generator of lasting results.
A good starting point is to determine the needs of your company and to establish sales training goals and outcomes based on those needs. Working internally or in conjunction with your preferred retail consulting provider you should measure your KPI’s and your salespeople’s effectiveness with regard to achieving the company’s goals. As with any significant effort in your company, for retail sales training and retail management training to be the most effective, the senior executives, vice presidents and sales managers need to have ownership of whatever the sales training goals may be.
With a clearly defined view of the desired training outcomes along with a strategy and process to achieve them it is much easier to measure the ROI on your training program. In today’s retail climate a one-day offsite training may not stand the test of time or meet the real needs of your business. Focusing on retail training as an ongoing activity that utilizes a multi-level approach will yield measurable and long-lasting results in terms of retail sales productivity, employee retention, and customer satisfaction.
David Goodwin is the Principal of the Retail Advocacy Group. As a 30 year veteran of the retail industry he has hired, trained, and performance managed thousands of retail sales representatives and retail managers. You can learn more about instructor-led and e-learning training solutions for retailers at www.retailertrainingsolutions.com.