Whether in-person or virtual, there's no question of the positive impact a strong sales leader can have during a training session.
We often talk about the importance of front-line sales leadership to a sales training initiative – communicating the benefits of the training ahead of time to the team, setting expectations for participation, sharing the personal outcomes of the training, and previewing what will happen after the training session.
Of course, it is important for leaders to provide support and reinforcement to the team after the training – creating an environment in which the sales professional can make mistakes and learn from them without pressure to “do it the old way”.
But we think the incredible power of a sales leader to positively influence the training DURING the session is often overlooked. We've observed many sales leaders during training sessions. There are a few things that set apart a role model from your average leader during a training session.
What did they do, you ask? Well, here are a few things:
- They model engagement! They don't “step out to take an important call” or work in the back of the room on that “fire drill” from their leader. They don't hold mini sales meetings in the back of the room, and they come back from every break right on time. All this signals that they take the training seriously and that this training is not simply the “flavor of the month.”
- They do not take over the conversation to prove why they have been so successful and therefore promoted into their leadership role. Instead, these leaders let silence work for the facilitator and allow the sales professionals to think through their responses and work up the courage to share their thoughts.
- These leaders do not pontificate on what was just covered in the training and why it was so important. In other words, they do not feel the need to hear their own voices for the sake of hearing their own voices, which means the training can stay right on schedule.
- They ask targeted questions so the team can engage in a discussion on the desired topic, instead of just saying what they wanted to get across. This makes for collaboration instead of a lecture.
If you are a sales leader, and you don’t believe you can have as much impact during a training session, think again. You can set the tone and model the right behaviors in the training, empower the facilitator to facilitate, and most importantly, empower the learners to learn!
Contact us to share more strategies on making the most of sales training initiatives.
About The Author
Warren Shiver is a Partner at The Brevet Group, a management consultancy focused on end-to-end improvement in sales force effectiveness. Warren’s leadership has helped numerous organizations build high-performing sales teams focused on the right go-to-market strategy, disciplined sales process, and well-designed enablement tools.