We asked Sales Performance International executives and consultants what kind of changes we can expect to see for the sales profession in the coming new year and compiled their perspectives and opinions in our eBook, “Sales Performance Improvement Trends for 2018 and Beyond”.
Rick Judson is SPI’s Director of Learning Technology, and is responsible for development and deployment of our learning platforms globally.
What major trend do you see in your area of sales or learning performance expertise?
I see business and sales leaders expecting a measurable impact from their investments in learning and development. No longer is simply completing training an acceptable outcome. They want behavior change and performance improvement. These changing expectations place new demands on professionals who oversee learning and development for their sales organizations.
What is causing this trend?
The business environment is changing at break-neck speed, and leaders know they need effective workforce development programs to stay ahead of the competitive curve. As workforce demographics change and new competitive pressures surface, more leaders realize that learning and development should be an important facilitator of the necessary change. More than ever, leaders have placed HR and learning and development support functions under the spotlight. Leaders expect HR and L&D more than ever to prepare the workforce to execute current and future strategies, and leaders want proof that investments are working.
What opportunities or threats does the trend pose for businesses and sales organizations?
Creating strong linkages between learning and development activity and business outcomes is difficult but necessary. Those companies that can create this line-of-sight between learning and performance can better focus investments on the activities that drive the best outcomes. Additionally, if a program does not appear to be working, then you can correct course before it’s too late. This capability reassures current and prospective employees that the company can enable their success, which drives retention and motivation. Conversely, companies that have no line of sight between L&D investment and outcomes are more likely to halt investment when business conditions get challenging. Halting investment is a loss for the company, their employees, and the L&D professionals overseeing initiatives.
In light of the trend, what advice do you have for business and sales leaders?
Don’t accept the excuse that linking learning and development to business outcomes is too difficult or not worth the effort. Start by including your HR and L&D teams in your strategic planning so they know where the business is going and what they must do to prepare the workforce to support the strategy. Insist on HR and L&D creating a measurement approach that will tell you proactively if an investment is working or not. Then, create a review process to inspect and hold the organization accountable.
Download our eBook “Sales Performance Improvement Trends for 2018 and Beyond” today!