Sales training has a vital role to play in helping to improve a team’s overall sales effectiveness, but unless you have the right follow-up process, a huge amount of training expenditure is actually completely wasted. In fact, without sufficient reinforcement, as much as 70 percent of new knowledge may be lost within 24 hours.

This means that, regardless of whether you deliver in-house sales training, send staff on account management courses, or invest in instructor-led sessions, the time, effort and money you put in could all count for very little. Especially when staff inevitably default back to their old habits.

Unfortunately, reinforcement and knowledge retention both continue to present major problems for a large number of companies and part of the reason for this is that reinforcement methods have failed to move with the times.

Reinforcement Methods

During the CSO Insights Sales Performance Optimization Study, participants were asked to share the methods they used to reinforce information learned during training. Some of the most popular responses were manager-led reinforcement (69.4 percent), reference materials (38.9 percent) and trainer-led coaching (32.8 percent).

However, as Jim Dickie, a Research Fellow of CSO Insights points out, these methods have been among the most popular for decades. By contrast, two of the least popular responses were reinforcement through mobile applications (7.5 percent) and reinforcement integrated with CRM (10.2 percent). Indeed, more companies had no reinforcement methods (10.9 percent) than the number that utilised either of these two technology-based options.

“I know firsthand that the capabilities exist… interactive video, scenario-based exercises, gamification, etc.,” says Jim Dickie. “Many of these solutions are extremely impressive examples of how technology can support, if not take over, the task of ensuring that sales professionals apply newly learned skills.”

Missed Opportunities

When you take a second to think about it, this lack of mobile and CRM integration is an almost inexplicable missed opportunity. In CSO Insights’ 2016 Win More Analysis, it was found that 54.9 percent of organisations have at least 75 percent of their sale staff actively using CRM systems in their daily workflow. This likely means substantial investment in things like account management courses, without maximising the potential.

In addition, almost all modern workers own a smartphone and have access to it at almost all hours of the day, and many also own other mobile devices, such as tablets. Moreover, the current most popular reinforcement methods have fallen short time and time again, as managers fail to make time for reinforcement activities.

Modernising Reinforcement

What this means is that for reinforcement to truly work and make a real difference to your team’s sales effectiveness, it needs to move into the modern era. Training needs to become smarter and companies and their staff need to demand a real sales training reinforcement solution, so that investment is no longer wasted.

In an effort to fill this gap, Miller Heiman Group recently announced the launch of two new cloud-based reinforcement solutions – the Integrated Learning Experience and the Mobile Reinforcement Application. The former has been designed to help businesses transform sales performance, while the latter helps to combat knowledge drop-off.

“Organizations struggle to find the time and resources to constantly invest in development,” says Byron Matthews, CEO of Miller Heiman Group. “With Strategic Selling and Conceptual Selling on ILE, and in our Mobile Reinforcement Application, it is now easier for sellers to adopt and maintain the world’s best sales methodologies.”

Conclusion

Reinforcement is a vital part of the sales training process, but too many businesses are still relying on old methods and failing to get acceptable results. Companies and trainers can get around this problem by incorporating technology like mobile phones and CRM into the reinforcement process.

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