Sales Training: To Entertain Your Employees, Send Them to a Comedy Club
Sales training conferences and workshops can be a great way to energize your sales employees, but watching an entertaining guy for a day or two won’t get your employees to modify their behavior. If you want to entertain your sales team, save your company lots of money and send your people to the comedy club.
Most sales training is entertaining, but doesn’t make people better sales professionals.
Here’s why short term sales training sessions fail:
- Fluency is rarely achieved. If you hear someone speaking Spanish you’d probably be able to identify which language that person is speaking. This is a far cry from actually communicating in Spanish naturally without having to “mentally translate” from the English equivalent. The same holds true in tactical sales training. Sales training attendees may be able to say: “Oh, that’s Solution Selling,” but they won’t be able to naturally sell using the Solution Selling methodology. You can’t internalize the tenets of a methodology in just two days.
- They’re designed to be “entertaining.” A weekend basketball camp with LeBron James is a lot more fun, memorable, and viral than running suicides and practicing without a basketball. You tell me which route will develop a better player. The same goes for sales training. Two day training sessions are fun, memorable, look great on your people’s resumes, and help lift your esprit de corps, but incorporating training into everyday work sculpts a better sales professional. What is the intention of your sales training approach: retention or results?
- They don’t provide accountability. When you leave a two day sales training, even if your boss attended the sales training along with you he or she probably won’t be checking in a month later to make sure you’re following the “7 Rules of Target Account Selling.” Most sales training sessions have no goals tied to their theories and advice, and goals with clear incentives provide the accountability necessary for real change.
- They’re not repetitive. Humans learn through repetition, which often must happen over weeks and months. Even if sales training sessions do have actionable, personalized takeaways which are tied to goals, information does not stick as well if it’s only repeated over a two day time period, and attendees likely forget most of what they hear at a sales training session.
- They’re not actionable. Sales training often focuses on big ideas, the inspiring overall picture. It’s good to see the big picture, but it’s often the tiny things you do on a call that make a real difference.
- They’re not personalized. Sales training sessions are normally set up with one person leading a session of 10-100 attendees. In this format, advice is general—what works in most situations for most people. This is nowhere near as effective as advice based on a particular person and his or her particular situation. For example, at memoryBlue, in addition to providing day-to-day mentoring, each week we require employees to do a self evaluation of that week’s best and worst call. We train as a group, too—every Wednesday from 11:30am – 1:00pm the entire company gets together for training —check out our Q2 schedule below. One of the pillars of this training is reviewing and analyzing calls as a group, providing each employee with training and insight from the whole team. This kind of individualized training drives real positive behavior change, and just can’t happen at a two day event with a 50 person audience.
Nearly every sales candidate I meet tells me that “training and development” is critical when evaluating which sales opportunity to pursue. Most probably want the two-day entertainment because it’s fun, and doesn’t require anything from them. As a sales manager, don’t “nice-out” and take the fun/entertaining route. Your employees can entertain themselves. On your watch, have them do things they wouldn’t do themselves: execute a two hour call blitz, dissect calls, read and present on sales methodology books. It’s here where you can modify behavior, build good habits, and produce results.
Change is hard. Two day sales training isn’t designed to be.
If you’re interested in learning more about the memoryBlue approach to inside sales, download our free eBook, “Should You Insource or Outsource Inside Sales?”
Since cofounding memoryBlue in 2002, Chris has helped provide inside sales resources to more than 150 high tech companies, and has hired, placed, or evaluated hundreds of high tech sales professionals. Chris spearheads the memoryBlue recruiting service, and is passionate about developing sales talent that generates results.