Why Your Annual Sales Kickoff Training Won’t Stick

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Sales Training

Did you know that 85% – 90% of sales training has no lasting impact after 120 days?

It’s that time of year again. Sales teams everywhere are returning to the office from their annual sales kickoff meetings, imbibed with knowledge and ready to tackle those revenue goals.

In theory, your annual sales kickoff might seem like the most efficient way to train your team for a successful year to come. In practice, however, training sessions like these often cost a lot more than anticipated and don’t produce measurable results. In addition to the obvious expenses (venue, travel, accommodations, etc.), there are other costs to consider, including productivity hits and, more importantly, knowledge decay.

According to ES Research, between 85% and 90% of sales training has no lasting impact after 120 days. And yet, companies are still spending billions of dollars on event-based sales training each year. That translates to billions of dollars wasted on limited sales performance impact.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons why the training material at your annual sales kickoff isn’t sticking.

Sales Training

Your Learning Approach is Too Narrow

One of the biggest issues with event-based training (like an annual sales kickoff) is that so much learning is squeezed into a small period of time, making it very difficult to retain information and introduce new skills once your salespeople return to their daily routine. Moreover, studies have proven that a strictly formal learning approach is ineffective.

Effective training is ongoing and supports learning as it actually happens. Most learning occurs through interactions with peers and managers and through on-the-job experiences. As the 70:20:10 model prescribes, learners should be exposed to a combination of formal, social, and experiential learning.

Even if you do host formal learning sessions, fortify them with informal learning approaches (such as scenario-based activities and access to subject matter experts). A consistent, blended approach will help your sales team put the learning material into practice more than a one-off formal session.

Knowledge is “Hidden”

Sales roles often involve a lot of traveling and off-site work. As such, it’s imperative that knowledge is made readily available so salespeople can access information at the point of need. This doesn’t simply mean ensuring that training can be done offline and on mobile devices – it also means that knowledge can’t live exclusively in the heads of a few subject matter experts.

Making knowledge more widely available (beyond simply sharing the slides from your sales kickoff presentations) will help salespeople learn more efficiently and improve their performance on-the-job. Centralize your training resources and make it easy for sales reps to ask questions and get effective coaching .

You’re Not Reinforcing Training

According to Neil Rackham, without coaching or reinforcement, 87% of training is lost within 90 days. If you don’t have methods in place to reinforce training, your sales team will undoubtedly forget what they’ve been taught.

There are plenty of ways to reinforce learning materials, including gamification, quizzes, introducing learning “rewards”, and so on. Reinforcing training with ongoing learning can also help to better understand the learning needs and weaknesses of your sales team so you can continually improve learning effectiveness.  

You’ve made a massive investment in your annual sales kickoff. However, the hard truth is that your investment in sales training isn’t likely going to help you achieve the lasting impact you need to achieve your revenue goals for the rest of the year.

The right learning technology can help to facilitate a more engaging and consistent learning experience. It can also help to curate knowledge capital from subject matter experts, implement social and experiential learning, and ultimately, help your sales training programs stick more than an annual kickoff meeting.

See how Docebo can help improve your sales training programs. Book a demo today!