This article is written in December, when most North American organizations are near completion of RKO/SKO planning, which is often tied to a reinvigoration of the sales organization through training. I observe that most training investments are made as if they are an end rather than a means. The end looks like this: An increase in ($/FTE)/Month
However, that outcome is predicated on my formula:
That is to say, you will get a short-term bump in productivity if you are lucky, which rapidly decays to the baseline if you don’t reinforce it. But here is the thing:
USING EXTERNAL CONSULTANTS/TRAINERS TO REINFORCE IS THE BEST OF THE WORST PRACTICES
How do I know this? Because I have done it and seen it many, many times. And you know it, too. For my CRO friends – You have paid that annual training subscription fee because we all remember the ‘one-hit wonder’, event-based training where nothing changed… So now you pay your $100K+ annual license and reinforcement fee for CHALLENDLERMEDDSPICED and yet 6 months later, you are seeing everything revert to what you had before (See above formula explanation at end of article). Your fee probably included the quarterly refresh or office hours (which no one attends)… Ouch.
How good would it be if your frontline sales and CS folks had someone expertly reinforcing the new practices every week and it didn’t cost you a single penny more than before the training? Now before you say, “Sales enablement!” Nope, you can’t steal my thunder with that one. Enablement is too stretched already, and they are NOT there just for ongoing sales training… So who can we get to coach and train our ICs then?…..
I am sure you are onto me by now… Yes, front-line managers. They are the day to day coach/trainer who can expertly give your ICs what they need, when they need it. So, here is the call to action for you when rolling out new behavior/execution focused training:
- Get buy-in from frontline managers before you deploy
- Make it clear that they are accountable for the impact of the training and will be measured against it (You need to instrument for this)
- Give them a specific set of assets/calendar cadence for execution. EG an opportunity review/discovery call assessment sheet that makes it easy
- Have regular manager accountability sessions, where they are expected to present examples of good execution to their peers (and discuss blockers)
- Have meaningful rewards for executing the process ($/recognition)
ICs will follow the direction of their manager – If a manager doesn’t care, neither will they. This year, rather than spend your money on external reinforcement, invest in your frontline managers with programs/incentives to drive the outcomes you want. You don’t need to pay organizations like mine or anyone else to do it for you – Simply start with managers in mind and use this to reduce/eliminate the d(R) [decay rate] of your initial investment.
Matt Cameron is the founder and CEO of SaaSy Sales Leadership
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