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Maximizing Your Training Investment (5 Things to Do Before, During and After Training)

 

November 5, 2015 | by Joanne Krettek, Senior Developer, St. Meyer and Hubbard & Holly Sansone, Senior Developer, St. Meyer and Hubbard

 

 

With regular turnover and today’s changing sales environment, you can’t remain competitive without continually upgrading the skills of your sales team.

 

 

We are all aware that training is an essential part of developing your sales force. With regular turnover and today’s changing sales environment, you can’t remain competitive without continually upgrading the skills of your sales team.

 

The annual investment in sales training in the US is estimated to be more than $5 billion. This means that on average, US companies spend about $5,000 per sales performer annually, including the cost of travel, materials and time away from the job. Dave Stein, a highly respected learning and development consultant has suggested that upwards of 92% of all training goes to waste. The reason – nothing changes AFTER the training. That means the bulk of the skills experienced in the classroom never get transferred back to the job. In other words, there is no learning to life.

 

Learning transfer is the ongoing application of new knowledge and skills to on-the-job performance, leading to the improved business results initially targeted by the training.

 

In order for learning transfer to occur, the student must both retain knowledge of concepts learned and choose to apply them on the job. If the learner can recite the concepts or processes learned in class but does not use them, training retention has occurred but learning transfer has not. After all, the ultimate goal of training is to change and improve behavior. If skills learned in training are not applied or are applied ineffectively, then the training has limited to no impact.

 

Another way to look at learning transfer is through the following equation:

 

 

Research by Sales Performance International shows that approximately 16% of unreinforced training content is retained after 90 days, on average. (See chart below).

 

 

According to The 120-Day Curse, an e-book by Dave Stein, somewhere between 85 and 90% of sales training has no lasting impact after 120 days.

 

 

So what is the solution to the learning transfer problem? How can you maximize the significant investment in any sales training effort? There is no single practice that will dramatically increase learning transfer by itself. However, there are several things you can do before, during and after sales training that will have a combined, lasting impact, whether you are delivering in-house or vendor-led training.

 

Before Training

 

1. Obtain participation and buy-in

 

2. Modify the work environment

 

3. Prepare sales managers

 

4. Distribute preparation activity (prework) and make learners accountable to complete it

 

5. Arrange pre-training conferences