The Accountability Discussion with Sales Training & Development JenEMiller May 31, 2023

The Accountability Discussion with Sales Training & Development

Most of April and May’s Wednesday blog posts have been about how one size most definitely doesn’t fit all when it comes to sales development.

I’m a huge fan of individual training plans (regardless of your team’s size); including a process driven approach to assess current needs, evaluate sales talent, and implement programming. No matter your team’s size, or your company’s development budget, pulling one or several sales effectiveness levers supports this recommendation.

The Accountability Tightrope

Investing in training and development is sometimes necessary, and independent of how quickly results can be measured.

Regardless of who’s doing the training (in-house, outsourced partner, off-site conference, etc.), what you spend today might not pay off exponentially years from now. You might not see results right away. Or, you might need to measure different inputs and expected – separate from what you had anticipated.

Some managers expect a one-time training event to “fix” a problem or teach a new skill to the point of mastery. Some also accidentally assume because someone attended something once (even years ago), that they are “all set.” Please don’t fall into this trap.

If you and your team are going to invest in training, development, sales performance coaching, or any other programming, it’s also a good idea to determine accountability criteria before significant milestones occur.

A few questions on my mind include the following:

  • Who’s going to prepare the person receiving the training?
  • Have clear expectations been set?
  • Is there pre-work, and will anyone be reviewing it?
  • Who’s conducting the training?
  • What credentials or experience does the trainer have to confirm it’s a good investment?
  • Will there be a “teach back” component after the training?
  • Will there be a minimum score or threshold to “officially” complete, or pass, the training?
  • What will the trainee and manager do after?

This last question is such an interesting one to ponder.

Is the responsibility on the trainee, on the manager, or mutually shared?

Where is the trainee accountable for the training inputs and outcomes?

Could the manager accidentally (or intentionally) “helicopter” hover over the associate before or after the assigned training, especially if expecting immediate outcomes that lead to measurable results?

And the opposite extreme, could the manager assume the trainee is all set and not expect a report out, a teach back, in the field observation, or client “ride alongs.”

It’s truly all over the board. No two situations are the same. The accountability tightrope is literally on the job learning and adjusting and maneuvering.

Just don’t forget to talk about it and plan for the desired outcomes.

If I’ve piqued your interest at all during the April & May blog posts about individual sales training plans, check out the “pick your own fee” Summer Fridays promotion. It’s the perfect time to try something new. 


(Photo credit Christin Hume)