Sales Training – Regular or Occasional?

September 29, 2022

If you’re thinking about providing additional support to your sales teams in the months ahead, you may be wondering which option is better, monthly training or occasional sessions? Here are my thoughts.

Regular Sales Training

Almost all evidence around behaviour change shows that regular interactions are the most common format for sustained success. This applies whether going for a run 3 or 4 times a week, learning the piano with weekly lessons or business mentoring with monthly sessions.

Let’s take exercise as an example. You can blitz the gym for a week with 2-hour sessions every day. You’ll feel better (though probably a bit sore!) but if, after that week, you stop exercising then you will notice no difference within about 3 weeks.

All that effort (and soreness) for nothing.

Short bursts of diet, exercise, language lessons, music tuition or business coaching with no ongoing support of the changes leads to little or no productive long-term outcome. So why don’t we apply the same logic to sales training, coaching and mentoring?

The short answer is that I simply don’t know! But, if you decide that this argument makes sense and you’d like to find out more, how can we help?

Most of our annual sales training support programmes start with regular and intensive sessions, perhaps 4 or 5 days in the first 2 months. This gives an immediate boost to sales performance whilst making sure that everyone is given the fundamental knowledge, attitude, skills and habits to be successful.

Once the foundations are in place, the sessions usually reduce to once monthly to help sustain the changes made and build further advanced skills throughout the year. Little by little, there is less training (group sessions with content delivered) and more coaching (smaller groups or 1-2-1 sessions). This keeps the foundational content consistent across the group but allows room for individualised content and sustained support on more in-depth challenges.

Quite simply, regular sales training – like all other forms of training – is the best and, if you have the budget and want to enjoy the success it brings, it’s time to start planning it now.

But if you don’t have the budget for an annual programme, what should you do?

Refresher Sales Training

Short, one-off bursts of sales training are not as effective as regular interactions but they can work if certain conditions are met. Let’s go back to the example of a 1-week blitz at the gym. If you recall, I said that 7 days in 1 week would have little or no productive outcome if you stopped after that week.

However, that doesn’t mean that you have to keep attending the gym regularly. If that week created some new habits and developed some new skills AND you put in place a regular programme of practice and support with a friend, THEN THERE IS A CHANCE you may sustain some of the changes prompted by this kind of short-term booster programme.

The overall point about training and its success is that there is a long-term programme of some sort, whether delivered by a 3rd party or delivered internally. If you have a management team that can continue to support the sales team in sustaining new behaviours or you have a sales team that is good at supporting each other, then it is possible to gain some benefit from a short, sharp refresher session.

This kind of training can re-focus a team and make sure that they’re concentrated on the right areas to improve. Not as good as the regular programme but still beneficial if you can support it internally.

In our Refresher sessions, we’ll also leave your sales team with prompts, templates and reminders of how to sustain the behaviours. All they need to do is ensure they use them properly and support each other day in day out in the implementation.

In conclusion, there is a clear winner when you look at the choice between refresher training and long-term training programmes. Yet, the worst possible option remains no training at all!

If you’d like to speak about the options or book a time to meet so that we can assess your needs in detail and make recommendations, please let us know.

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