87% of training knowledge is wasted without further coaching or reinforcement activity. That’s according to a 2013 article in Forbes. In return on investment terms, that means 87% of every dollar you spend on formal training is, in effect, a waste! Despite your best efforts to create high quality, interesting, and relevant training sessions, your salespeople just don’t retain the information.
I say this not to discourage you from creating powerful training sessions (they are important) but to prompt you to ask yourself, “Why it is so difficult to turn training into real learning?” Take a moment to think about that.
I believe the answer lies in the impact of ongoing, post-training coaching and reinforcement. Learning how to do anything exceptionally well involves two key factors: the first is the initial training on how to do it, and the second (very critical) piece is to practice the new skill, often under the guidance of an “expert” in the field, over and over until it becomes an automatic, natural part of your day. Every athlete in the world understands this; you don’t just learn how to throw a perfect spiral as a kid and then expect to win the Superbowl in your 20s without running countless throwing drills and playing Pop Warner, high school, and then college football. Greatness takes time, lots of practice, and a series of exceptional coaches working in your corner to make you better. The sports world knows this. I wonder why the sales world so often misses the concept.
The good news is that we now have hard data on companies that employ continuous coaching and reinforcement trainings, and the results are very good! Salespeople get better when they are continuously “coached up”. Companies are achieving a positive ROI on their trainings, and you can, too.
Objective Management Group, of which I’m a certified partner, compared the performance test results of roughly 85,000 salespeople over the course of a year (2017-2018) who had received professional training using OMG tools. A measurable improvement in overall scores was found: An average improvement of 2% by “middle” salespeople in just one year! That may sound small, but if 80% of revenue comes from the top 20% of salespeople, then the middle we are talking about here produces about 20% of the revenue. A 2% increase in effectiveness yields a 6% incremental increase in revenue. Supposing you run a $20 million company with a 33% margin, and you improve revenue by 6%, you’ll see an increase of $1,200,000 on the top line and $400,000 in gross profit. I don’t consider that small.
Bottom line: Process development and coaching work -- and in a big way.
If you’re ready to get started on improving your sales force in a truly data-driven way, we’re here to help. A good coaching program makes all the difference.
Sales management expert Duane Cashin has lead award-winning sales organizations and trained sales teams for companies of all sizes. He’s earned membership in Presidents Club and Circle of Excellence, successfully built and sold his own multi-million-dollar business, and enjoys sharing his passion for sales.