A Sales Training Program Isn’t Enough:

Drive Change Through Small, Structured Risks

  • Businesspeople,Analyzing,Investment,Graph,Meeting,Brainstorming,And,Discussing,Plan,In

Published on: July 2017

Written by: Andrew Dornon

Sales trainings, virtual or in person, are critical to starting salespeople down the path toward development, but without on-the-job support, you’ll miss a lot of impact.


No matter what type of enablement initiative you’re spearheading, at the end of the day, you’ll be asking your salespeople to do something differently than they have before. Let’s be frank: we’re asking them to do their job in a completely new way, and they may fail in front of a new customer, or worse, embarrass themselves in front of someone they have a long relationship with—this is understandably scary. One big blow-up and you could lose that rep forever. How often do you succeed each and every time you try something new ? Never – failure is inevitable. If your people fail in a big way, they lose faith in the change, and quickly, your effort grinds to a halt.

So what does this look like?

Enablement teams can mitigate some of the risk by breaking the change to your sales approach into smaller steps, so reps don’t have to change everything all at once. BTS calls this series of steps Go-Do’s, but what you call it isn’t important. What is important is helping salespeople do their jobs better by creating practice cycles on the small steps needed to execute more complex tasks. For example, this could be asking 3 customers questions that draw the connection to an industry insight, but without asking them to have the insight conversation until they’re proficient at connecting insights with their customers’ business.

How do I start?

We see the most success when training and enablement teams build initiatives that are deeply tied into reps’ daily work flow and can introduce these small risk-taking opportunities before and after a program. When we partner with clients to create Go-Do’s, we keep these design principles in mind:

  1. Focused on what actually drives sales—most likely customer-facing behaviors that require a combination of talent and practice.
  2. No case studies, activities are about doing real work—focused on a specific account, territory, or other real work that needs to get done.
  3. What matters is what gets done—must drive a specific metric, gain a customer commitment, or demonstrate proficiency to a manager
Dramatically changing how you do your job is an anxiety-inducing proposition, especially for top salespeople. Breaking those changes into smaller risks gives reps a way to build confidence gradually, and focusing on real results keeps them focused on the change while hitting their number.

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