What makes a good training program?

Every organization, employees, managers wants to have good sales training programs. Organizations want their sales employees to attend the session and come out ready for the kill. The training program is expected to cover all angles of sales to ensure they are equipped to face all kinds of situations.  “So, what makes a good training program?

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A good sales training program depends on the requirement of the organization, individual and related stake holders. The program requires pre-work, the actual training and post-work. Without pre-work, the training team will not be able to understand the requirement of people involved. A thorough questionnaire, interviews and process needs to be put in place to understand the core requirement of the team.

The pre-work should focus on the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of selling. What products are they promoting, to whom are they promoting. Is there a sales process the team follows? If so, is the process adhered to? Where is the gap, from Prospecting to Closing, in the sales process?

Pre-work is critical and the importance cannot be overstated. Trainers will have a good connect with the sales, when they are able to understand where the gap is. We are there to provide solutions, not to find mistakes or problems. Mistakes and problems exist, that’s why we are asked to address the situation. Many times the training fails to deliver because of lack of pre-work. Most trainers take pre-work lightly and thereby miss the opportunity to get connected to the real world. On the other hand, when you are connected to the real concerns, you get the buy from the participants; half your job is done.

The training should focus on the buyer. Why would a customer buy this product? What’s the benefit? How better is the product than competitors’? What advantage would the clients have because of the product?  Today, training programs are structured towards the seller. The flip side is that we ignore what the buyer wants. Focusing on the buyer impacts the session better because that’s what the seller wants.

Post training evaluation should happen over a period of 3-6 months. The time period enables the training team to understand whether the training has the necessary impact. Is there an improvement? Is the sales team able to perform better? Did the gap get addressed? Most importantly, what should be the focus on the next session?

All the above stages prove critical to any training program. Neither one can be discounted and given less priority. It’s important for the training function to be focused on the requirements than delivering on what we think, is right. A good sales program would comprise of all the three stages combined and evaluated consistently to provide consistent results.

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