Why Traditional Sales Training is Dead and What You Need to Do Next

Sophia Obrecht
July 14, 2021

Learn how to build an effective sales training reinforcement strategy to boost win rates in your team.

RIP to the quarterly sales workshop....so long to the one-off appearance of a big-name sales trainer, traditional sales training is dead. Here is what you need to do next. 

Don’t get me wrong, there is and will always be a space for broader one-off workshops and guest speakers when it comes to sales training. However, in this fast-paced world of hyper-connected and informed customers, sales training needs to take a new approach.  In order to instill effective sales instincts in your team, you need to focus on a hybrid model of workshopping AND sales training reinforcement.  

Here’s why. According to statistics, 77% of learning is forgotten within six days if it is not reinforced.* That means if you’re a sales leader investing in one-off or monthly workshops you’ve already lost. If you want to bring skills to your team and boost your sales growth (and in turn foster greater employee retention) you must invest in sales training reinforcement as part of your wider training and development strategy. 

Check out this free guide to building an effective hybrid sales training approach. 

Invest in quarterly training sessions as a springboard for deeper learning.

Choosing to invest in quarterly sales training sessions is by no means a bad thing! Giving you reps an intensive training day can help to reset their focus and reinvigorate their sales drive. Big names sales gurus also offer inspiring and expert insights into the world of sales that can help boost your sales team’s knowledge of social selling, differing sales approaches, or the 101 on objection handling. 

Quarterly sales training has a place in your training strategy, but it should be an initial springboard for your reinforcement training to follow. The problem with quarterly or monthly sales training is that while the contents of your classes may be top tier, the approach is not, and less than a week after your big coaching events, it is likely that most of your sales reps will be left lost on how to implement the learnings from their workshops. 

Focus on sales training reinforcement.

That’s why reinforcement training comes into play because our brains need time, consistency, and context to pick up new skills, from learning a new language to fostering sales instincts. 

People learn in real life, real-time situations, and settings. In sales that means in actual customer conversations. And that’s what sales training reinforcement offers, the opportunity to coach and train your reps during their everyday tasks in order to better prepare and shape their sales instincts and know-how.

There are a few ways you can implement sales training reinforcement in your team, from weekly manager to rep sales coaching, regular and effective peer-to-peer information exchanges, and fostering a sales culture of regular communication and support.

Remember the “three truths of training”. 

When you are planning your sales training reinforcement activities, remember the key to an effective reinforcement strategy is the three main “truths of training”, microtraining, context, and repetition. 

  1. Microtraining 

Microtraining is designed to take place in small bursts, whether that is short videos and tips reps have available to them, or real-time immediate feedback loops or sales coaching that lets them know what topics are left to cover and how well they are doing on certain sales skills like customer pain discovery or objection handling. 

  1. Context 

Context feeds into microtraining and any other sales training reinforcement because if a sales rep receives useful information, guidance, or coaching during their real-time sales workflow, for instance during a customer call, it helps to solidify training concepts leading to better learning retention. For example, if a rep receives support during a call emphasizing a missed discovery question, the moment they miss it, they will gain better, more contextually relevant instincts for calls going forward. 

  1. Repetition

Practice makes perfect...and it’s true for sales too. The more sales training concepts are repeated the more they are reinforced. The more learning is repeated in real-life customer interactions, the more sales reps develop effective sales instincts that apply to their everyday experiences.

Use sales technologies to bring sales training into your reps’ workflow.

One of the most cost and time-effective ways to implement reinforcement training in the form of microlearning, context, and repetition is by investing in sales enablement technologies that facilitate “always-on” sales coaching.

Sales enablement technology like 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 tactics 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. 

Download our free guide on how to Onboard, Train, and Nurture your sales talent, for more sales insights, or check out Ciara for sales enablement to learn more about real-time sales training reinforcement.