Eighty-six percent of skills training fails to have an effect in the workplace according to statistics compiled by Prosell. In a survey by Mckinsey and Company, only 1 out of 4 respondents said that training brought measurable results in their work.

With Task Drive saying that companies pour $70 million annually into their sales training, it’s easy to throw money down the drain. So, here are some tips to help you pick a training program that will add value to your business.

Spell out your needs

The first step to solving your sales team’s problems is to accurately diagnose them. So, clarify what you need to get out of training.

Explore your processes in depth and ask questions. For example:

  • Is your team struggling to get quality leads?
  • Do you need to fire up your negotiation skills to improve close rates?
  • Are your B2B reps facing challenges with developing key relationships with the right people?
  • Do your salespeople know how to uncover pain points?

By asking yourself a range of critical questions you can get to the root of the problem. Once you have a clear picture of what’s lacking, you can choose a course that best suits your needs.

Check the content

Some sales training programs dish out theoretical content lacking in practical applications. Broad generalizations and half-baked concepts aren’t going to get you anywhere. So, ask questions to determine how much of the content is focused on how to execute.

The best programs give reps a firm grasp of how to handle every stage of the sales process including:

  • Identifying and developing new business opportunities
  • Contacting, following up, and booking calls with leads
  • Negotiating and persuading
  • Writing proposals
  • Presenting strong pitches
  • Closing deals
  • Post-deal follow-ups
  • Developing and maintaining relationships with key accounts
  • Managing customer accounts and ensuring timely payments

Consider learning styles

People have different learning styles, which include:

  • Hands-on learners grasp content through active stimulation and practical experience. So, they’ll need plenty of simulations and practice exercises.
  • Sight-oriented people need visuals such as charts, diagrams and infographics to pick up new learning.
  • Listening to podcasts, feedback and lectures can help certain learners take in information faster.

A powerful training course will combine several activities to cater to all learning styles.

Look for customization options

A cookie-cutter approach to sales training may fall short of your goals. It helps to have a program that’s fine-tuned to address your specific needs.

However, it’s typically not feasible or affordable to get a course that’s fully customized from scratch. So, look out for courses that allow some wiggle room to tweak and adjust certain portions of the program.

It pays to choose a training company that’s willing to take the time to understand your needs. They can also guide you on the specific customizations that can bring your results.

Check for references

An established program is likely to yield better results than a new one that’s trying to find its footing. So, look for a program that comes with glowing recommendations, especially from companies like yours. You can read through case studies and testimonials to find the top picks of training programs.

However, it pays to avoid settling on a course based on the testimonials they’ve put on their website alone. Instead, get in touch and hear first-hand accounts from other companies that they’ve dealt with before.

Also, browse industry forums to determine the company’s reputation and thought leadership.

Choosing the best sales training program

According to the Sales Management Association teams that invest in sales training are 57% more effective than those that don’t. So, immerse yourself in finding a sales program that will polish your team and unlock their potential to soar. Use these tips to find a content-rich course that meets your needs to empower your salespeople.