Over the years I’ve heard a recurring theme from the sales and service leaders to whom I’ve spoken. They express frustration that the time and investment they make in training doesn’t seem to generate the return or the outcome they expected.
Perhaps you hired a well-respected training vendor or used your internal learning and development resources to develop sales and service training for your frontline teams.
You made the investment – in time and money. The training was well received. Mission accomplished!
Wrong. A few weeks later you found that little changed. There may have been an initial uptick in performance, but this quickly peaked and fell back to previous levels. We call this the Peaks and Valley Nightmare.
To avoid the Peaks and Valley Nightmare and ensure you get a positive ROI from your investment, remember that the goal of any training initiative is to build skills capability and ultimately change behavior. With that in mind be sure to:
Clearly define success – both in terms of the expected outcome and qualitative and quantitative measures. This includes defining metrics to measure success and ensuring there’s a baseline against which to measure progress.
Make sure your vendor or internal provider can answer the following questions:
- How will managers be involved in the process?
- How will managers follow up with their team members?
- How will they support the organization to ensure objectives are met?
- What tools and techniques are included to help frontline leaders embed new skills and master key sales and service behaviors after the training intervention?
Develop a plan of action or a blueprint to continue to develop the skills and behaviors required to achieve and sustain peak performance.
Behavior change doesn’t happen overnight and lasting behavior change is rarely if ever the result of a one-off training intervention. It requires reinforcement, practice and embedding processes and diligent management – forever.
Cynthia Leverich is Director of Global Business Development for Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc.