According to Professor Neil Rackham, the Professor of Professional Selling 87% of sales training is forgotten within 30 days of the training. By definition this is money badly spent. And if it applies to sales training why should it not apply to any other sort of training? However, concentrating on sales training, there are many reasons why this is the case but in our opinion it boils down to four reasons. These are the content, the trainer, the attitude of the attendee and the follow up process. If any of these are wrong there is a really good chance that the training will not be retained.
The content
Many sales training courses are multi day affairs with high content and evening working. To sum them up they cover too much, and despite the working hours there is too little time. The mobile phone and immediate communications have exacerbated the situation as attendees are often trying to do their day job at the same time as supposedly learning how to improve. The outcome is overload and poor retention.
The trainer
 Trainers generally fall into two categories; professional trainers or retired sales people. Both can be equally good or bad. Great trainers keep the audiences’ attention through thorough knowledge and application of doing the job, providing appropriate anecdotes and training through current stories. A working sales person or manager is likely to do this better.
The attitude of the attendee
 “I am here because I will improve my performance” or “I am here because my manager said (or told me) I should attend”. I don’t have to tell you who will get and retain the most out of a training course.
The follow up
A sales person fresh from their training come into work and the conversation with the sales manager goes something like this:
Sales Manager: Hi Sarah how was your course?
Sales Person: It was really interesting, I learnt a new closing method and that call planning was vital to success
Sales Manager: That’s good. Just before you went on the course you told me that Acme Limited would sign this week, is that still the case?
Sales Person: Yes I think so
Sales Manager: Good, well go and get it!
Outcome: £x00 worth of training wasted!
So, how do you get a positive return on your investment in sales skills training?
Do it yourself. There are four simple rules to achieve this:
1) Sales skills training should be part of a personal development plan, preferably initiated by the sales person and agreed with their manager
 2) Sales Managers have an obligation to help their people to improve; they must follow up to reinforce the training through coaching
 3) Do your training in short sessions. Pick a topic and do no more than two hours, one hour on the theory and one hour of role plays. Then put the learning into action straight away. Use the philosophy of learn in the morning, do in the afternoon
 4) In every sales organisation there is always one or more players who stand out and are highly respected by their colleagues. These are your trainers
 The only issue most organisations will face is finding the material, and that is where Koru can help. Click here for details