Sales Training Without Accountability Is Pointless

McKay Allen

Sales training is great. Many of the hundreds of companies that provide sales training do a great job. Their content is dynamic. Their speakers are inspiring. And their track record is impeccable. Their sales training teaches valuable skills and produces immediate results.

Unfortunately, 30 days after the training, very little behavior has changed.

Sales training only truly changes behavior long term if there is true accountability. The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) says that only 19 percent of people who receive one-time sales training see any kind of sustained performance improvement.

That's really low.

If a Major League Baseball player hit 19 percent of the pitches he saw (batting .190), he wouldn’t play in the Majors for long. If a quarterback only completed 19 percent of his passes, he would be moved to another position. If your marketing team only returned 19 percent of the money it spent, the entire team would soon be unemployed.

So why is sales training any different? Do we just tacitly accept that sales training doesn’t work long term? Why don’t we hold results from sales training to the same standards we hold other important sectors of our business?

I don’t write this to upset the sales training world, but rather to make a point: Every company should demand more than 19 percent retention from its sales training! And remember with a 19 percent average retention rate for sales training, there are sales training companies that can brag that their retention rate is higher. However, there are, by statistical necessity those that will be much lower.

Holding Sales Training Accountable

There are several ways to hold sales training accountable and to ensure that your employees are actually doing the things they were taught. That’s what it’s all about isn’t it?

One popular way to demand accountability is with follow-up tests and continued e-learning. Retention happens when it is demanded, and exams demand it.

But the biggest question with sales training isn’t “Do my employees remember what they were taught?” The biggest question is, ‘Do my employees DO what they are taught?’

The only way to answer that question is to hear them talking to customers.

Call Recording and Scoring

Call recording and scoring is sales training’s best friend. It is actual accountability. And it isn’t just for call centers.

There are a variety of call recording and call scoring tools on the market today. These tools record and score actual customer interactions with your employees.

You can create customized scorecard or use an industry best practices scorecard already in the system. (Or you can demand that your sales training company does this for you). The scorecard basically measures specific elements of a sales call that are critical to making the sale…things that your sales trainer taught you to do. Each of these elements are scored.

These are things sales trainers stress, but have never been able to measure until now. Higher scores = more sales.

How to Use the Recordings and Scores

Via our call recording and call scoring platform, LogMyCalls, you have access to the recordings 24/7 on a secure online dashboard. Managers can listen to them. The rep that was recorded can listen to them. Sales trainers can listen to them. You can play the calls and review the scores during sales meetings or during individual performance reviews. The calls and the scores are available anytime you want them.

Some of our clients actually use call scores as part of their incentive programs.

You can generate reports based on almost any piece of data you choose. You can compare the scores of two reps against one another. You can compare specific elements of the call. You can see how employees are doing over time, how much they’re improving, or what’s holding them back. You can even determine exactly what element is keeping them from making the sale.

Call recording and call scoring have introduced measurable accountability and actual analytics into sales training. Whether you use LogMyCalls or some other tool to record and score your calls, isn’t the main point. Just use something! Don’t settle for 19 percent sales training retention.

And a word to sales training companies who may be reading this: you can provide tools like this as part of your offerings. Don’t convince yourself that “your training is different” and everyone will remember it. Record their calls and score them.

McKay Allen is Integrated Content Manager at ContactPoint, which develops marketing technology to capture, analyze, integrate and apply phone-based customer intelligence to enhance marketing and sales.