As Andaleeb and Anwar (1998, p.35) argue, regardless of the size of an organization or the type of business an organization ventures into, salespersons plays a crucial role in determining the viability and success of a business venture. That is, in any organizational setting, the success of any marketing exchange program depends primarily on the competence and ability of salespersons to develop healthy relationships with clients.
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Therefore, because of the ever-changing consumer behaviors and the rapid changes in the business and technological world, for salespersons to remain competent in their daily practices, there is need for their employers to offer them skill and talent development opportunities. Such upgrading of skills will ensure that salespersons gain new insights on of dealing with different customers, because of the complex nature of business deals, which require proficiency in negotiation and passing of product information.
To ensure that any training, skill enhancement or talent building methodology adopted by an organization succeeds, it is necessary for such a methodology to create desirable learning opportunities and learning environments. In addition, it is necessary for such a program to offer salespersons an opportunity to reflect and apply new knowledge acquired.
Through reflecting and putting into practice the new learnt concepts; salespersons will be at a position of developing new strategic marketing plans, necessary in meeting the changing market trends and consumer behavior. It is important for individuals to note that, the success of any training opportunity depends on the ability of management and training teams to adhere to desirable training best practices, them being the only assurance that any training methodology will succeed (LSA Global, 2010, p.1).
Generally, the sales training process involves making sure that, salespersons have the required product knowledge and characteristics, sales processing competency, and ability to interpret the dynamics of a market. Through having such competencies, salespersons can help an organization to build a good rapport, it being the primary factor that determines the business position of an organization.
One primary factor that determines the success of an organization’s training program more so in ensuring salespersons acquire desired market mix skills is the development of training programs that are strategy driven. Regardless of the skill an organization wants its retail sales person to acquire, it is necessary for training programs to follow an enterprise’s overall strategic goals.
Adherence to an organization’s strategic goals is one of the primary ways of ensuring a training program adopted produces the desired outcomes, outcomes, which are important to any business initiatives (Bjornberg, 2002, p.1).
Going hand in hand with the strategically linking of the overall business policy with a training program is the ability of an organization to apply appropriate positive cost and benefit ratio measures. Such applications are crucial in ensuring that, any training or talent enhancement initiative implemented helps an organization to gain investment returns proportional to the funds invested.
For organizations to achieve high investment returns from any adopted skill enhancement methodologies, organizations have to ensure that such methodologies align with the overall business systems, practices, and policies. The alignment is necessary in ensuring that an organization sets the desired boundaries and develops appropriate methodologies of reinforcing the adopted training opportunities (LSA Global p.1).
Although organizations may align their adopted training initiatives with the overall organizational systems, policies, and practices, majority of training programs rarely achieve their desired goals, because of their narrow scope. That is, most organizations rarely apply the multiple modality concepts in developing in their employees new and desired competencies.
Like any other employees of an organization, salespersons also have varying learning and mental abilities. Hence, to ensure that an organization meets all its salespersons’ learning needs, it is crucial for an organization to use different training channels, as different salespersons have different leaning styles and speeds. Common channels that an organization can use include e-leaning, blended learning, co-worker tutoring; so long as they all emphasize practicality rather than mere skill acquisition (Reynolds, 2005, pp. 12-15).
To ensure that the new acquired concepts are practical, it is important for an organization to adopt the shared accountability concept in its training programs, as it is one of the primary ways of ensuring salespersons remain motivated. Although in any organizational setting salespersons have targets to meet, rarely do they perform their duties willingly, due to lack of motivational incentives.
Rather than marketing an organization willingly, to secure their jobs most salespersons will work hard in their daily chores as their wok schedules dictate. Hence, because of the low motivational level associated with this kind of working schedules, organizations should adopt self-training methodologies, which should give retail salespersons an opportunity of gauging themselves and creating personalized learning schedules.
Giving salespersons the decision-making autonomy and discretion will highly motivate salespersons to act responsibly; hence, development of better knowledge retention and transfer abilities necessary for meeting the ever-changing customers’ behaviors.
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On the other hand, application of best practices in any training initiative plays a central role of ensuring sales representatives transfer any learnt knowledge back to their respective positions. It is important to note that; employee de-motivation is one of the greatest impediments to the success of any training or skill enhancement initiative adopted by organization (Mache, 2006, P. 1).
As research studies show, although adoption of best practices in training greatly promotes the transferability and practical application of skills, failure to match such new acquired knowledge to other organizational programs can jeopardize achievement of desired sales outcomes.
For example, although organizations offer their sales representatives skill enhancement opportunities, some organizations never align such new acquired competencies with the remuneration and benefits programs. Therefore, to ensure salespersons apply any acquired competence for the business wellbeing; organizations must implement some employee appraisal and benefit enhancement programs that which match the new level of competence.
In addition to benefit enhancement, for an organization to ensure its training program succeeds, it is important for such program to respect an organization’s administrative process, as this will give an organization’s administration an easy chance of implementing good regulatory measures (Baldwin & Wesley, 1986, pp. 505-518).
In deciding the nature of training program to implement, it is necessary for the management teams to use real-time data, as it is one of the primary sources of getting accurate information of missing skills. Organizations should give their salespersons performance tests, whose main aim should be to understand the salespersons’ knowledge proficiency of their roles.
This is crucial in ensuring that, an organization corrects any wrong information of ideas held by salespersons, as most salespersons main aim is to meet set targets, with little consideration of the created company’s reputation. In this regard, it is of necessity for an organization to help its salespersons know what their job entails and how crucial their position are, when it comes to destroying or giving an organization a good reputation (Lucas, 2009, pp. 87-122).
In conclusion, although an organization may adopt all training best practices by putting all measures in place, the success of any training initiative depends on the ability of overall training manager’s abilities. This is the case primarily because; development of high performing teams depends on the leadership and training orientation adopted by managers. It is important for individuals to note that, most employees’ willingness to actively participate in training programs depends on their attitude towards their trainer.
Andaleeb, S. S., & Anwar, S. F. (1998). Factors influencing customer trust in Salespersons in the developing country. Journal of International Marketing, 4(4), 35-52. Web.
Baldwin, T. T., and Wesley, K, N. (1989). Post-training strategies for facilitating Positive transfer: an empirical exploration. Academic Management Journal, 29, 503-520.
Bjornberg, L. (2002). Training and development: best practices. (International Public management association for human resources survey). The Entrepreneur. Web.
LSA Global. (2010). Inside sales training and coaching: generating sales opportunities. Learning Alliance Cooperation. Web.
Lucas, R. (2009). Training workshop essentials: designing, developing, and Delivering learning events that get results. San Francisco: Pfeiffer Publications. Web.
Mache, C. (2006). Sales training effectiveness: increase your bottom line With sales training that sticks. Leader Values. Web.
Reynolds, S. (2005). Training and development mangers share best practices and courseware through learn and share. Toledo Business Journal. Web.