“This will never work in my region”. Every sales trainer has heard this when conducting an international event. The trainer can confront this in two ways: 1) Deny any difference in customers. 2) Adapt your material to their region. Choose option 1, and you risk losing the participants entirely. Choose option 2, and you are creating more work. So how can you adapt your material, without boiling the ocean?
I recently spoke with a sales leader, Edward, who ran a global training event. The training covered updates to the Sales Process. Reps from across the world attended. Edward’s compensation was tied to these events. If the team did not adopt, he lost money.
At the conclusion of the event, Edward was satisfied. The field, however, provided mixed reviews. The US-based reps used the new process updates. The international reps did not. Why? The international reps did not believe the updates were relevant to their region.
Edward did not receive his full compensation.
Training must be relevant. If reps feel otherwise, you’ll wind up like Edward. Ensure you don’t become another Edward by using the Global Sales Training Checklist. Using the tool will improve relevancy of your training materials. Relevancy will lead to greater field adoption.
How do you create globally relevant sales training materials?
Top sales organizations consider these two dimensions when creating sales training materials:
- Buyer Personas
- Sales Channels
Companies who incorporate these dimensions see:
- Higher adoption rates of training materials
- Faster ramp time on adoption of training materials
- Improved success in future sales trainings
Customize training to include these dimensions and you will experience positive results. Don’t and you risk lower adoption rates.
How do you include Buyer Personas and Sales Channels into training? Let’s dive into the two dimensions to find out.
- Overview: The most important consideration for sales training is the customer. These are brought to life with Buying Personas – fictional representations of your customers. Personas have different objectives, obstacles and metrics. Sales training needs to be customized for these various personas.
- Training Example: Buyer objectives, obstacles and key metrics can vary by region. Use the Head of Sales in the SMS Messaging Industry as a persona example. In North America the SMS Messaging industry is stagnant. But in Europe the market is booming. Because of this, the American Head of Sales key metric is margin. Whereas the European Head of Sales key metric is revenue generation. Should training on selling to both Heads of Sales be the same? No. Doing so would cause the sales rep to be irrelevant to the persona. And thus lose the deal. Sales training needs to incorporate these differences.
- Solution: Work with Marketing to define the personas that the sales team interacts with. Then define where there are differences in those personas by region. Incorporate the personas with regional differences into sales training. This will keep your audience engaged. And add a level of relevancy to the materials.
- Overview: Another training consideration is the channel(s) where the company’s offerings are sold. Not all areas of the world sell the same way. Some regions of the world conduct more Fact-To-Face selling. Some regions sell through the channel. Others use the phone. Train the team on how they sell; not how their colleagues sell in other parts of the world.
- Training Example: Global sales training on Sales Process is a likely culprit for this occurrence. Sales Process training often involves reviewing job aids which support the process. Job aids are tools that are specific to rep type. Outside Sales Reps (OSR) and Inside Sales Reps (ISR) don’t have the same job aids. Giving an ISR a call plan made for an OSR will end in disaster. It won’t be applicable. The reps will get frustrated. And worst, they won’t adopt.
- Solution: Work with Sales Management prior to training. Identify where different approaches need to be incorporated. Build a first set of the training. Then share with them. Have them tell you what does and doesn’t make sense. Adjust as needed. And validate once more prior to the training. This approach will increase material relevancy. And provide you the comfort that Sales Management has validated what will be presented.
Sales training events are one of the biggest expenses for a sales organization. Make sure your team gets full value. Make the materials applicable. Regions vary. But if you incorporate these differences into training, the materials will be adopted.
Will your next sales training event be adopted by the global sales force? Use the Global Sales Training Checklist to ensure it is.