Based on my own experience, I can say that learning is perceived with mixed feelings. From the point of view of CFOs, it is often seen as a source of costs that they would not want to bear, as the return on investment is not obvious. For a sales manager or team leader, the word “training” most often raises dissatisfied questions, most of which sound like “Training? Why me? What have I done wrong?”.
However, commercial directors, L&D and HR directors continue to fight a hard battle for training everything that they think is important for the company: from C-level training to development of more complex telemarketing skills. From their point of view, training is seen as an investment that can bring dividends in the short and long term.
Based on more than twenty years of experience in educating people about marketing channels, I can highlight five major mistakes people make in relation to training. Including those who are trying to introduce a training course in a company and those who are evading organized training. These misconceptions focus on time, resources, knowledge, appropriateness and impact.
- Time: “I am too busy trying to make a living to be distracted by this. Sales managers usually have a small base salary and a lot of work to do to increase their income through large sales commissions. If they don’t spend a working day making deals, they lose their income. So anything that distracts them from sales is a hindrance to their own profitability and happiness.
However, if they are given training in sales as a means of increasing sales efficiency, expanding the range of customers, they will realize that training is in their interest.
- Resources: “Organizing training is too time-consuming for staff and material”. A training provider’s services cost money, but if you manage to get a good provider, they will soften any tensions for their customers in planning and implementing the training programme. Moreover, good training should not be expensive. An effective training consulting firm will help the client to identify and prioritize the skills needed and to develop a simple program that is focused on immediate needs with the prospect of future program expansion.
- Knowledge: “What can they teach me? Trainers do not have practical experience”. Our experience shows that the best trainers of trainers are those who combine their personal practical experience with knowledge in:
1) setting goals
2) how to achieve them
3) organization of interaction with responsible decision-makers and influencing their decisions
In addition, an ideal consulting firm can demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the client’s business and the problems they face.
- Feasibility: “They will sell us a universal program, which we can buy cheaper elsewhere or make ourselves. A successful training consulting firm can provide its clients with an individually created program based on proven proprietary technology. Focusing the training on an individual client is key to the true value of the program for its participants and to helping them to solve problems that are specific to their business activities. Understanding the client’s business provides the opportunity for individual development of the training course to ensure the best results.
- Return: “There are no real indicators that can be measured in the training”. The consulting firm involved in the training should provide comparative statistics on the effectiveness of its work for different clients after the completion of its courses. It is recommended that you work with companies that can help you identify performance indicators that are relevant to your business, as well as to subsequently assess how these indicators change after the training. Indicators should not be limited to an increase in income or profit – you can take into account the volume of development, conversion rates, reduced turnover and other indicators available for measurement. Providers should also provide feedback from customers engaged in activities comparable to the scale, focus or industry of your company. Use companies that do not provide evidence of the effectiveness of their proposed methodology, such as taking a prescription drug that has not been documented. You cannot be sure what you will get in the end.
There are other judgments that can be taken into account, but these five top my list. “Training” is a good word if you know the benefits that come with it.