Disscuss the Importance of Training and Developing the Sales Force?

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According to Dr Breeze, 2004 good training is the beginning, not the end. Many new employees come equipped with most of the knowledge and skills to start work. Others may require extensive training and development before getting ready to make much of a contribution to the organization. A majority, however, will at one time or another require some type of training or development activity in order to maintain an effective level of job performance (Nankervis, Compton and Baird, 2005).

Sales Creators has provided sales training nationwide for over three decades (Sales Creators, 1997).

Training maybe defined as any procedure initiated by an organization to foster learning among organizational members (Nankervis, Compton and Baird, 2005).

Development is a more general term and goes beyond educating employees for a specific position, whether present or future. Development programs prepare employees with learning which will allow them to grow individually alongside the organization itself (Nankervis, Compton and Baird, 2005).

Development is a broad, ongoing multi-faceted set of activities (training activities among them) to bring someone or an organization up to another threshold of performance, often to perform some job or new role in the future (McNamara, 1999).

The sales training method is depicted as six interrelated steps: assess training needs, set training objectives, evaluate training alternatives, design the sales training program, perform sales training and conduct follow-up and evolutions (Ingram, LaForge, Avila, Schwepker Jr and Williams, 2003). Training, like any other HR function, should be evaluated to determine its effectiveness (Nankervis, Compton and Baird, 2005). Please refer to appendix A.

Training methods can be classified into different categories, namely a few: 1. Classroom/conference training
2. On-the-job training
3. Behavioral simulation
4. Absorption training
(Ingram, LaForge, Avila, Schwepker Jr and Williams, 2003).

As a brief review of terms, training involves an expert working with learners to transfer to them certain areas of knowledge or skills to improve in their current jobs (McNamara, 1999). 1.5TYPICAL TOPICS FOR EMPLOYEE TRAINING

1. Communications skills
2. Computer skills
3. Customer service
4. Diversity
5. Ethics
6. Human relations
7. Quality initiatives
8. Safety
9. Sexual harassment
(McNamara, 1999).

Discussion of these topics during the training period can create awareness among the employees as well as improve their skills in different categories.

The primary purpose of a training program is to help achieve the overall organizational objectives. At the same time, an effective training program must demonstrably contribute to the satisfaction of the trainee's personal goals (Nankervis, Compton and Baird, 2005).

Most organizations have a need for sales training of some type. This enduring need exists in part because of inadequacies of current training programs and in part because new salespeople join the organization on a regular basis. Thus, an ongoing need exists to conduct sales training to improve sales force performance. It should be stressed that the need for sales training is continual, if for no other reason than that sales environment is constantly changing (Ingram, LaForge, Avila, Schwepker Jr and Williams, 2003).

Training and development can be initiated for a variety of reasons for an employee or group of employees, e.g: 1.When a performance appraisal indicates performance improvement is needed 2.To "benchmark" the status of improvement so far in a performance improvement effort 3.As a part of an overall professional development program

4.As part of succession planning to help an employee be eligible for a...
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