2020 and 2021 have thrown sales enablement, sales training, and sales coaching into a trial by fire moment. We are still adjusting and will most likely continue adjusting for the next 12-18 months.
We all want to know what’s worked well? What are the best practices? And ultimately, what does better really mean when it comes to sales enablement, sales training, and sales coaching?
So we decided to reach out to some experts to get their feedback. Over the next few weeks we are turning our blog over to them. This will be a 3 part series dedicated to sales enablement, sales training, and sales coaching. Please feel free to add your comments as well. We want to always make sure people have a voice.
Sales people, when was the last time you received sales training to do your job? Maybe it was during onboarding, sales kick-off, or a different time throughout the year. You had a trainer teach you how to cold call, prospect, negotiate, and a bunch of other useful tactics and advice. How about sales coaching? Is it weekly, bi-weekly, monthly?
Once the training ended, who was responsible for taking ownership and accountability? Is it the sales trainer, sales enablement team / leader, sales manager, or someone else?
The answer is you. You, the SDR. You, the Account Executive. You, the Customer Success Rep. You, the Sales Trainer. You, the Sales Manager. You, the CRO. You are the one responsible to reinforce what you’ve approved, implemented, taught and learned. If your sales team mantra is we win and lose as a team. Then YOU need to take ownership, and accountability of your training and more importantly, your career.
Sales Enablement trainers are a great resource but not many are hired to follow-up with the teams they train. They should be accountable for the implementation of a sales training program which includes working with sales leaders and sales managers to ensure a proper feedback loop is a part of the entire enablement process. They’re not coming back again and again to hold your hand, and coach your sales calls. Unless it’s been built into the entire program.
After speaking with a few Sales Enablement leaders, sales managers, sales trainers and reps, it’s clear that reinforcement, repetition, and accountability of sales teams and reps are critical for long term success. So how can a sales rep like yourself start taking responsibility and accountability for their sales enablement training?
Let’s start with understanding your own learning and education style, how do you best retain information?
Everyone has a different way of taking information, you need to understand how you best learn and interact with new information. Do you learn best in auditory (listening), visual (seeing), kinesthetic (touching) environment? Do you like a combination of these?
Then, ask the person who signed the team up to receive training, how will it be delivered? Are there resources available that the trainer will provide before/after?
It’s critical that you understand your own learning and education style in order to learn in the moment, and retain the information afterwards to be implemented.
Side note: For those of you who prefer typing over hand-written note taking, there are several studies showing the handwriting allows you to retain more. One reason, when we take notes we do that, we take notes. When we type, we often spend a lot of time concentrating on typing verbatim and it’s going so fast you don’t always retain it as well.
Reinforcement and repetition goes hand in hand:
If you ever played any sports, you know that repetition and practice is one key element for success. The missing piece to sales enablement training is the reinforcement, which is part of the question: “who is responsible for ownership & accountability? Again, it’s your responsibility. I am looking at you front line sales managers, sales reps, and SDRs
Sadly, some of the Sales Enablement trainers and coaches are not always paid to help teams reinforce the material. It’s seen as very transactional in a shotgun one and done approach. Some have resources to provide (free or paid) afterwards, and it’s encouraged by sales reps to invest in their own career.
How you can take ownership:
If you are a sales manager. Best practices indicate coaching a rep, particularly newbies 2x per week is best. For veteran reps it could be 1/ week or 1 every other week. And yes, it’s ok to have the veteran reps coach the newbies too.
If you are a sales rep, get yourself an accountability buddy on your sales team. In every sales team I’ve been part of, I’ve gained at least one accountability buddy. This is someone who you mutually decide is going to hold you accountable to meet on a regular and scheduled basis to implement what you’ve learned.
When I spoke with Morgan J Ingram, Director of Sales Execution and Evolution at JB Sales Training about the topic, he suggested that sales training should be combined with coaching sessions to create longer and deeper engagement and consistency. For example, having a deeper dive into the process, coaching the managers to be managers, and more live calls/sales coaching sessions with the reps.
- Know your role. Everyone on the revenue team has a role in sales enablement, training and coaching
- Understand your own best learning style
- Define a program, whether team wide or just for yourself
- Reinforcement & repetition goes hand in hand: you cannot just show up and then leave
- Get yourself an accountability buddy
If you’re interested in hearing more about sales coaching and sales enablement, check out my conversation with Ashley Zagst, Niraj Kapur, Richard Harris, and Scott Leese on the Surf and Sales Bonfire Session on-demand webinar, 3 Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Sales Coaching Culture.
About the Author: Recently named a Salesforce 16 Sales Influencer To Follow Right Now, Galem is a trusted sales and sales action leader. She is the co- founder of RevGenius, and host of the What Is Your Legacy podcast. Be sure to connect with her here.