The business uncertainty being driven by Brexit is causing many client’s advertising budgets to be put on hold or reduced. This means media sales teams need to be operating at the top of their game to persuade clients of the value they can deliver.

The question is how to get your sales team performing up there with the best, in the shortest time possible?

Training is an obvious choice, but research has shown that training combined with coaching delivers better results, faster.

In 1885, the German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus published his hypothesis, translated as “Memory: A Contribution to Experimental Psychology”, which looked at the impact of memorising information over time. In this he plotted the results of his analysis on a graph creating what is now known as the “forgetting curve”.

The Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve

Ebbinghaus hypothesized that the speed of forgetting depends on a number of factors such as the difficulty of the learned material (e.g. how meaningful it is), its representation and physiological factors such as stress and sleep. His analysis showed there was on average only 30 percent retention of the learned information after just a couple of days.

This is also where he championed the use of mnemonic techniques (e.g. Using Staying Alive by the Bee Gees for CPR for heart attacks in a recent advert), and repetition as a way of increasing memory performance; techniques we still use today.

More recent research from Xerox showed similar results with on average 87% of new skills being lost within a month of sales training.

All of his shouldn’t really be a surprise, as the brain has to forget things, to free up space to take in new information, otherwise it becomes overloaded. With good training techniques, making the sessions interactive and fun, the goal is to get as many of the important key points into the 13% of retained information. But the simple fact is that if you just train a team in a workshop without any structured follow-up, most of the information won’t transfer back into the workplace, so you wont get the full benefit of the investment in the training.

The benefits of media sales training combined with sales coaching

If sales training and coaching are combined, the level of retained information can increase to far higher levels, as well as practising and refining the use of the skills. Research by the International Personnel Management Association (IPMA), concluded “ordinary training typically increased productivity by 22%, while training combined with life coaching increased productivity by 88%”.

If you think about when you learnt to drive, the initial lessons provided information you understood, but only by being taught while practising in many different situations, does the learning really come to life and the expertise begin to be developed.

And the reasons for this are as follows.

  1. Reintroducing material – Following a course, reintroducing the material obviously helps the learner to think about the material again, refreshing their memory.
  2. Activate the information – When recalling information, it’s important to engage the brain in an active way. Retrieving information from a learner’s memory to answer a question usually involves more work than reviewing course material and often forces the learner to use his or her knowledge in a new context. In sales coaching, role plays or live sales calls are extreme examples, but reviewing recent experiences and considering the learning points is also effective.
  3. Use of spaced repetition – Incorporating increasing intervals of time between each sales coaching session helps new concepts embed in your long term memory, allowing better recall levels.

It is though more than just about memorising information better. The additional coaching for the sales team provides the opportunity to master the sales training, with the results increasing session by session, and the salesperson gaining confidence through measured increases in ability. Confidence and skills combine to motivate the salesperson and maximise the results.

At Nua Training, specialists in media sales training and coaching, we have created our series of team and individual Sprint Coaching sessions to support our sales training modules to deliver these benefits. We also baseline the performance measures before the learning and development programmes begin, so we have a clear view on the improvement we’ve delivered.

And for the results, we are now seeing an average of a 10 X revenue return on training and development investment for our media sales clients. So its working.

Photo Credit: Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

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