How Your Sales Management Training Program Can Generate a Higher Return

BY Tim Londergan
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Improve sales training results by including your sales managers. This is the simple message emerging from a study by Wilson Learning. While the research set out to measure the effectiveness of manager coaching, it similarly established a calculable ROI for holistic training. “Specifically, we found that sales training is 24% more effective when accompanied by training for sales managers.” In addition, the article presents a case study that demonstrates how to quantify the impact and calculate your own return on investing in a sales management training program.

Establish a holistic sales management training program

Few doubt the impact of training for salespeople. Therefore, companies typically invest in programs that address new sales skills, the sales process and sales technology. In addition, organizations tout product training that is long on details but short on explaining the needs and challenges of the buyer. Without the sales manager’s involvement, these efforts are doomed. Salespeople must work in an environment that supports their new skills. Meanwhile, sales managers must create a setting compatible with these skills. You can accomplish this with a holistic sales management training program. 

Manager coaching yields immediate and sustained results

The study, conducted by Michael Leimbach, PhD, shows that sales managers need more than just generic coaching skills. Moreover, managers need to be engaged in the specific new knowledge that their sales team is learning. “Sales managers who have both general coaching skills and skills for coaching to the specific new knowledge of their salespeople can have more than twice the impact on performance as managers with generic coaching skills only", according to Leimbach. These results impacted immediate sales revenue gains and were sustained for six months after training was completed.

Quantifying a sales management training program

Salesperson training plus manager coaching is an investment worth considering. The article goes to great lengths to help you calculate the ROI of sales manager coaching. The example of a $20 million company with forty sales managers put the cost of training at $80,000. With an assumed 24% improvement in performance, the return was $59 for every $1 spent on the sales management training program. Of course, every organization is different but with this example you can estimate whether training your sales managers to coach to the new skills of your salespeople is worth the investment.

The advantage of coaching to specific skills

The study went on to investigate which manager coaching skills produced the greatest impact. First, they identified eight studies that provided percentage improvement in performance statistics. Second, they classified the data into three types of manager coaching – motivational, generic and specific. Motivational coaching provided a mere 10% lift while generic coaching generated an 18% improvement. Above all, specific coaching produced a substantial 43% improvement in performance. The authors stress that any additional costs involved in training sales managers to coach to specific skills can certainly be justified with the verified gain.

Sales managers with the right training can coach and manage their teams in the right way.

If you are seeking to justify a sales management training program, consider these three takeaways:

  1. Providing sales manager coaching skills along with salesperson training increases revenue by 24%
  2. Training sales managers to coach to more specific skills will improve overall performance by 43%
  3. Your sales managers can increase the motivation and engagement of your sales team by having them use a microcoaching platform.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash