We are back with the final installment of the Building a Championship Sales Team blog series that focuses on developing sales talent for ongoing success. We have established how strategic talent development can enable sales leaders to build a championship sales team and provided the first three keys to successful strategic talent development.
Unfortunately, when a lot of organizations begin a talent development initiative, they end up focusing on a single training event to improve the perceived deficiencies in knowledge and skill. Although a training event is a component of talent development, a single training event alone is not enough to ensure the kind of development necessary to achieve next level business results. The reason this is true is because a training event alone will not guarantee the knowledge/skills are being applied in the field or that they are being applied correctly to succeed.
When executing a talent development initiative, we recommend focusing on four vital areas of talent development to enable ongoing success:
At the first training event in the development path, it is imperative that everyone buys into the development initiative and their personal development plan. The key to any successful training event is communicating why the participants are there and why the training will be valuable to them. As your organization moves on to subsequent training events on the development path, be sure the events build on each other and reinforce the knowledge/skills from the previous event(s). It should be clear to participants at each training what the purpose and objectives of the event are, how it builds on what they have already learned, how it connects to the expectations of their development plan and how it will support them in becoming more successful.
2. Coaching and Mentoring:
A good development path will always include coaching and mentoring. As new knowledge and skills are introduced, two things will need to happen. The first thing is the sales representative will need someone driving them to apply the knowledge and skills in the field. At first, new knowledge and skills will be uncomfortable to apply and will drive sales representatives to revert back to previous tactics. The second thing that needs to happen is coaching and mentoring for proper application. To enable coaches and mentors to effectively reinforce new knowledge and skills, we recommend connecting a coach/mentor development path to the sales representative’s development path.
3. Best Practice Sharing:
Along the development path, in between training events, one of the best ways to reinforce successful adoption and execution of new knowledge and skills is by hosting best practice sharing sessions. Best practice sharing sessions provide the opportunity for peer to peer learning and knowledge transfer. As your team is going down its development path, team members are picking up different knowledge and skills and applying them in the field and experiencing different outcomes. Bringing the team together to discuss best practices for applying knowledge and skills will provide team members the opportunity to learn from one another and accelerate their own development.
The final vital area to developing talent for ongoing success is reinforcement. One way team members get reinforcement throughout their development journey is coaching and mentoring. The other way to reinforce key components of the development curriculum is with job aids and self-learning tools. Job aids and self-learning tools should be made readily available for team members who are following a development path and going to training events to learn the development curriculum. Job aids and self-paced reinforcement tools provide the references team members need nearby when in the field so they can apply the new knowledge and skills and not revert back to old habits when they get stuck.
These four vital areas for developing talent for ongoing success complete the Building a Championship Sales Team blog series. Remember the #1 most important aspect of building a championship sales team is to start now! Waiting for a negative event or downturn in the business will only put you further behind as you work to develop your team. In order to build a championship sales team, sales leaders must think strategically about their talent development plans and how to connect those plans to their goals and their team’s goals.
Now go out and start building your own championship sales team with strategic talent development and bring home the World Series trophy every quarter!