Imagine Growth

The ‘talent’ needs to train too…

Posted by: Mike Nathan | Posted on: May 17th, 2013 | 0 Comments

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”   -Aristotle

The only way you will grow is through your efforts and your people.  Your strategy is very important.  However, as any successful business owner will tell you, you people are more important though.  Thus culture of will set the tone of you, your people, and ultimately your company’s success.  Your leadership sets the culture, but your people make it up.  Be sure you are hiring the right people…more specifically, the right kinds of people.

There are two types of people you want in your sales organization: Skilled or talented.  Both would be awesome.  To be clear let’s get some definition on what each of these ideas are.  A skill is something learned, practiced, teachable, and repeatable.  Skill diminishes without practice.  Shooting free throws in basketball is a skill.  Talent is a natural ability or aptitude to see opportunities or execute in business with people.  Talent is not learned or teachable.  Talent requires attention.  Charisma is talent.

Your sales organization’s culture grows with training, both formal and informal.  Training your sales team takes time, money, consistency, and effort.  It is truly an investment.  And like investments, you reap a Return On Investment (ROI) if done properly.

What to train on: Your why (see Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle), Company history, client history, differentiators, industry, product/service knowledge, competition, salesmanship, public speaking, presentations, overcoming objections, frequently asked questions, and of course ROLE PLAY, ROLE PLAY, ROLE PLAY.

How: Obviously with technology and some of the subject matter a conference call or webinar would be just fine.  Although to truly amp your culture, group meetings that are conducted face to face clearly is the best delivery for training.  Keep it fun, competitive, and consistent.

How often: Weekly.  Yes, weekly.  Would you practice free throws once a month or once a quarter if you are a professional basketball player?  No.  Well, you are a professional business development executive so you ought to be practicing often.  Increased frequency of training will allow knowledge to be retained at a higher rate, but also builds a culture of professionalism.  However, you can’t hold practices everyday…you have to play at some point.

Measure: Test and evaluate your sales and marketing people on what your training on.  It can be an old school quiz to a formal role play for an internal sales certification process a part of quarterly reviews.  Don’t train on a subject and never discuss it again only to expect your people to remember it 6 months later.  People will respond to what you measure.  So measure the results of the retention of knowledge, but also to increased sales.

A lot of times, failures and successes come down to the “will or skill” factors.  If your people are failing, is it because of lack of desire/motivation (will)?  Is it because of they just don’t know what to do or say (skill)?  When you (owner/manager/executive) take responsibility for the “skill” questions and place the “will” on your people, the result is culture creation.  A culture of professional accountability.

The take away: Your culture must be one of professionals who are well trained regardless of talent. You must train in several areas, not just company history or product knowledge. Train early and often.  Measure the result of your training through topic specific tests and evaluations and of course through sales results.  Training builds a positive, professional culture.

Mike Nathan, MBA

Managing Partner

Next Stage Growth Partners

(651) 214-7473

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