I once had a dog that was very energetic. I decided he needed training. The trainer insisted that I attend the training, something that was difficult for me to do at the time.
You cannot have a dog trained for you. There are people who will train your dog, but once they return the dog to you, you will not have anything near the same level of obedience from your dog when compared to the trainer.
If you ask the dog trainer why you have to be there when they train the dog, they may not tell you that they are really training you, but that is certainly what they are doing. The truth is that you are not very good with dogs.
I am not comparing salespeople to dogs or sales managers to their owners. I am using this analogy to make a very simple, very important point about training and development. That point is that it is the person responsible for the behavior of those in their charge. If you train a salesforce and believe that this by itself will be enough to make a difference in your results, you are overestimating what training can accomplish. The results don’t come from the training; the results come from the execution after the training.
After you have trained your team, the execution becomes the responsibility of the person who leads them, their sales manager. The sales manager is responsible for ensuring that what has been trained is executed. For many, this is a new set of more effective behaviors to replace older, less effective choices. This change of behaviors isn’t something that is easy to accomplish, nor does it happen overnight, making the sales manager the critical factor in any kind of real transformation or improvement (as if the role isn’t difficult enough already).
When your sales managers aren’t involved in training with their teams, it’s a sign that the training isn’t going to produce the best possible results. More still, when the sales management team isn’t also trained, you are jeopardizing the future results that the training is supposed to produce.
If your training isn’t producing the result you want, don’t look at the training, don’t look at the people being trained, look instead at their leaders. If they haven’t been trained to lead any transformation, you will have found the root cause.