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Why hold sales training off-site?

As VPs of Sales and Sales Training Directors think about the sales training to achieve their 2015 sales goals, many decisions need to be made: ranging from what the sales training will cover – to how it’s delivered (online or face-to-face or blended) – to when the sales training will be conducted – to how to communicate the purpose of the sales training before it actually happens.

Unfortunately once decisions are made about the what, how, and when, other important secondary factors impacting the sales training don’t get much attention. One secondary but important factor is: Where will the training be held?

A few months ago I read a blog proposing that sales training and national sales meetings are an odd couple. An equally dysfunctional idea is sales training programs that are taught on-site. In fact, we’d argue that in many cases sales training conducted on-site can lead to even more downsides than than conducting it during a national sales meeting.

Conducting sales training off-site sets a tone from the get-go. It sends a message that the sales training is important and is the focus of the time together. It also provides the opportunity to select the right type of training room given the structure and format of the training – which is a big deal as any Sales Training Director will tell you.

On the other side of the coin, the off-site commitment prevents sales reps from disappearing for those “short” meetings with someone in corporate because they’re in town. Or, the reverse – someone from corporate seeking out a sales rep for a “high priority discussion.”

Off-site sales training also encourages the program socializing that is important to salespeople. By being together – whether in formal or information social activities – sales reps can meet one another, renew relationships, and learn from one another. Ask any successful salesperson and you’ll hear that social conversations with other sales reps have been one of the keys to their sales success.

Yes, off-site sales training cost more money. But we would submit this is one of those “for want of a nail the kingdom was lost” type decisions. Given the total cost of the designing the sales training plus the added payoffs if the training is more effective, then it is money will spent.

Originally written and posted by Janet Spirer