Are You Sure You’re Training the Right Things?


Not long ago we got a call from a sales manager who said, “We need to get you in here to do some sales training.”

We asked why. The man explained, “Some of our salespeople are selling three times the volume that our other salespeople are, and they are all sitting right next to each other.”

We made another suggestion. “Before we consider sales training, we want to talk in depth to your top salespeople and analyze what they are doing that makes them so successful.”

We did that and learned that the company’s top sales performers were processing their transactions in less than two minutes, while it took the others about eight minutes. So instead of delivering sales training, we trained people to process transactions faster. As a result, the underperforming sales people began to close 60% more sales and the overall volume of sales generated by all salespeople nearly doubled. And please notice, those dramatic improvements happened without any sales training.

The message? Even though you think you know the kind of training you need, you might not. To be sure you are training the right thing, it is necessary to get your best performers into a room, find out what they do, and pinpoint the specific skills and behaviors you need to train. If you don’t do that, you will probably waste training dollars and improve things that are not going to produce any changes in your bottom line.

Gather Info on the Job’s Content from the Right People

We like to invite top performers to meetings where a facilitator gets them to talk about the specifics of what they do in their jobs. The facilitator writes down their comments on sticky notes and posts them at the front of the room where everyone can see them.

In addition to those top performers, we have found that two additional groups of people can provide deep and useful information too:

  • Recent hires – It is surprising, but the fresh perspectives offered by new employees who are doing the job for the first time can be invaluable.
  • Key stakeholders – These are people who reply upon the work of the people whose jobs you are analyzing. What do these stakeholders need? Are they getting it? If not, what would they like to receive? Questions like those give deeper insight into the full scope of the job.

When you discover what your best people are doing and put the pieces together, the next step is to build a learning map that outlines the specifics:

  • What to teach – What are the most critical abilities, skills and knowledge are needed on day one by everyone who will perform the job? What other important skills can be taught later on?
  • When to teach – This is a master schedule that plans what should be taught, and when.
  • How to teach – Should the training should bedelivered in a classroom, via eLearning or a webinar, or in some other way?

To learn more, contact a Tortal Training consultant today.