Building a comprehensive sales training plan is essential for building a strong sales team. Part of any effective sales training program is training reinforcement. According to the “Forgetting Curve” first presented by psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus we lose a huge amount of our learning if we don’t reinforce the skills or knowledge within 6 days. So whether you’re learning a language or teaching new sales approaches, reinforcing your sales training should be a high priority.
We’ve put together 5 steps to help you build a sales training reinforcement plan from beginning to end, to create an effective program and build long-lasting sales skills in your sales teams.
- Impact Training: Kick-off with core teachings & sales skills.
- Microtraining: Produce bitesize training content.
- Repetition: Set up regular peer-to-peer reviews.
- Context: Bring teachings into everyday sales activities.
- Sustainability: Invest in sales enablement software to ensure sustainable sales training.
Ready to take a closer look. Here are your 5 Steps to Build a Comprehensive Plan for a Sales Training Reinforcement Programme!
Impact Training: Kick-off with core teachings & sales skills.
To kick things off, start by focusing on core teaching and the sales skills that you want your sales team to learn. The goal of step one of your sales training program is to provide an initial touchpoint to the topics and sales skills you want to train. Perhaps you have new messaging or product categories that need specific sales approaches, perhaps you’re looking to shake things up with social selling, or the Challenger Sales approach, maybe your team is missing important stages of your sales cycle. Whatever it is, identify the key teaching and sales skills you want to focus on in your program and set aside a day or a week to kick these teachings off.
This initial stage of a sales training plan is called impact training, and it centers on building a baseline level of knowledge in your team and getting everyone on the same page. Think virtual workshops or external sales coaches who focus on the specific skills you want to train. By bringing everyone together to kick your sales training program off you also create a sense of team building and development.
However, impact training is just the first stage of your sales training program. From here you need to build and reinforce the sales skills you have taught initially if you want to create long-term improvements in your sales team.
Microtraining: Produce bitesize training content.
To truly reinforce your sales training and create a meaningful impact in your sales team, you must ensure that core teaching and sales skills are filtered down to your reps as part of their everyday tasks, after all, practice makes perfect!
One way you can do this is by creating bitesize training materials whether that's short podcasts, video recordings, or simple step-by-step guides that reps can review at least once during their working week. This part of a sales training reinforcement program is known as Microtraining and it serves to emphasize core teaching in easy, learnable chunks so that sales reps have the capacity to really take onboard new sales skills.
In the past, sales training might have taken the form of one big workshop each quarter, sales reps would sit and take pages of notes and never review the content again. Mircotraining is designed to inject sales training in manageable and enjoyable content so that reps have the opportunity to take away teachings and implement them in their work.
Training Repetition: Set up regular peer-to-peer reviews.
Step 3 to building an effective sales training reinforcement program is to repeat the core teaching in your sales team to give them the opportunity to finetune their sales skills and continuously reinforce the sales training first presented in the kick-off activity.
One way to repeat sales training concepts is to set up regular peer-to-peer training sessions, where sales reps review one and others call records and feedback where each has performed well or poorly on training principles. Sales leaders can also get involved by providing feedback loops once every two weeks on core sales skills, repeating the teaching from the initial sales training. You can even ask sales reps to review their own progress and set targets for improving their sales skills.
Bringing in sales enablement technology can greatly help with the repetition and context stage of the sales training reinforcement program to bring sustainability and free up workload for sales reps. But more on that later.
Context: Bring teachings into everyday sales activities.
A core principle of sales training reinforcement is that learning must be reinforced in a contextual real-life setting to help sales reps to truly take onboard sales skills and turn them into finetuned sales instincts that will serve them going forward.
That is why context-driven training needs to be part of your sales training program. There are few ways to do this. For example, you could ask your sales reps to review their best and worst calls of the day and ask them to record what went well or what needs to be improved. As a sales leader, you could sit in on your sales team’s sales calls and provide contextual feedback on their performance and sales skills.
However, these activities are time-consuming for both you and your sales team. One way to truly bring real-time contextual sales coaching to your sales training program is to invest in sales technology that works to support your team during their everyday sales activities…
Sustainability: Invest in sales enablement software to ensure sustainable sales training.
Sustainability is key to any effective sales training reinforcement program, that’s why we recommend investing in sales enablement technology to save time and money on sales training, but also to effectively and continuously reinforce training with the core principles discussed today.
Sales enablement technologies like our voice-powered meeting assistant Ciara, enable “always-on” sales coaching. In other words, Ciara has the capability to provide sales reps with real-time contextual coaching and guidance that facilitates microtraining for improved next steps and better sales instincts.
Ciara works by reinforcing sales skills, messaging, and principles within a rep’s customer interactions so that sales training reinforcement actually becomes part of a sales rep’s daily workflow, rather than a stand-alone task that might add to their workload.
By creating Deal Maps and implementing customizable real-time Battle Cards, sales reps get contextual conversation guidance with feedback on what topics and talking points are missing and instant help with handling objections.
Micortraining also comes into play post-call with an automated sharable call insights summary. This gives reps the chance to deep dive into every call and gain even more insights into their performance without the need for a third party. However, the sharable transcript and summary also allow for valuable information exchange and peer-to-peer coaching or manager to rep feedback.
If you want to create a truly effective and sustainable sales training program that helps your sales team to develop fully we recommend following these 5 steps, with the implementation of sales technology acting as all-in-one tool to facilitate the key principles of reinforcement training (microtraining, repeating, context, and sustainability).
Find out more about what Ciara can do for your sales training program and book a demo with our dedicated product experts.