Why Most Sales Leaders Stop Training Their Reps After Onboarding

Upskilling your sales reps is never a one-off job. Here’s how you can get the most from your team through continuous training. Let’s find out more.

During my interactions with sales teams, I’m always surprised when I hear that reps never do any more training once they’ve completed their onboarding. I’m also amazed by how many times I hear it. It baffles me that some leaders believe a couple of weeks of product and skills training is enough to get a rep doing their best work for their organization. I can only imagine the amount of money they’re leaving on the table by taking this approach.

In this article, I want to examine why many leaders don’t give their reps the training they need. Then, we’ll look at what you can do differently. Let’s go!


Why Training Fails

The primary reason most leaders stop training their reps is that they don’t see the value in it, probably because in the past when they’ve tried it, it’s failed. However, the reason training fails is that they don’t do it correctly. Here’s why:

  • Leaders don’t devote the amount of time necessary to train their reps. Training isn’t something you can just shoehorn into your Monday morning team meeting 
  • They don’t attach any ROI to their training. If you don’t measure the impact of your training, you’ll never understand its value
  • There’s no genuine buy-in from leadership or the reps themselves. Leaders don’t see its value, and reps see it as box-ticking


What You Need To Do Differently

With training (and life), you get out what you put in. Once you become thoughtful and deliberate on how you train your reps, you’ll soon notice the difference. 

The first thing to do is to start measuring the impact of your training. Define your objectives, set expectations and share them with your team. For example, you could train your reps cold calling with the objective of increasing your conversion rate by a specific percentage. 

Next, give training the time it needs and deserves. You may prefer to see your reps on the phone with customers, but consider how even the smallest amount of training could maximize the potential of those interactions with prospects. Isolate training as its own event, not part of your existing team meeting.

Leaders need to get involved in the training themselves. I love it when leaders come to our SalesWorks workshops as it shows they recognize the value and are genuinely interested in what their team is getting trained on. It rubs off on the reps too, who recognize that their manager is spending valuable time with them. I often compare it to football coaching - a coach would never dream of not showing up to their team’s practice or match. Why should it be different in sales?


One-To-One Coaching

If that’s the team training component covered, you also need to look at one-to-one coaching. It’s essential that you provide personalized training, looking at each rep’s individual needs rather than taking a blanket approach.

Come up with a training plan that empowers your reps and creates buy-in. Avoid simply telling them what they need. Instead, develop strategies together. Get them to reflect on their skill gaps and how to fill them. You’ll find this boosts adoption. We’ve talked about coachability and curiosity before - lean on that here.

Everyone has different styles, but developing personalized training goes beyond just the numbers. I like to assess people across two measures:

  • Performance
  • Potential

There’s an excellent framework for this called the 9 Box Model.

On the x-axis, you have performance - your achievements and competencies. On the y-axis, you have potential - your hunger and commitment.

Most managers concentrate on the reps that sit in the top-right (high performance and potential) or the bottom-left (low performance and potential). However, the key is to focus on the middle - reps who are in the middle in performance, with a medium level of hunger and commitment. Your goal should be to increase their performance and boost their commitment through motivation and coaching.

I hope this guide has shown you how training can help you get more from your reps.


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