As professional sales trainers, the biggest challenge we face is keeping salespeople and their managers engaged after a group training workshop. Oh, there’s plenty of enthusiasm at the end of the session. Like me, you probably hear a lot of positive comments and glowing praise for the material and the delivery. However, what we really want people to do is go out and use what they have learned. We want them to incorporate the concepts and techniques into their daily sales behavior. But all too often, when the sales team gets back to the office, they commence with “business as usual.” There are several reasons for this.First of all, it’s hard to start applying everything you learn in an all-day (or two-day) workshop all at the same time. That would be like an aspiring golfer trying to master every club in the bag all at once. Secondly, the inertia of the status quo is very powerful. It’s easier, for many reasons, to just keep on selling the way we’ve always sold instead of enduring the pain associated with change. To combat this issue, I strive to employ several important strategies:1. Make sure the training program is tied to a positive improvement in one or more specific measures of sales success. When learners know exactly what the training program is designed to accomplish – such as adding six new sales opportunities to their sales portfolio (pipeline) every month, improving our closure rate from 33 percent to 40 percent, or improving our gross margin percentage from 24 percent to 30 percent – it’s easier for them to appreciate why we need to apply new ideas in the first place. It also gives them a yardstick to measure the improvement in their performance over time.2. Help people set individual goals for activity as well as results. If an individual buys in to the objective of adding six new sales opportunities to their sales portfolio every month, for example, help them translate that result goal into to weekly and daily activity goals that ensure the achievement of their desired outcome.3. Sell sales management on the value of reinforcing the skills being taught. My personal observations working with hundreds of sales teams all over the world suggest that if sales managers don’t start asking their sales reps different questions after the workshop than the questions they were asking before, most salespeople fall back to operating exactly as they did prior to the training. Salespeople tend to mimic the attitudes and behaviors of their leaders, whether they be good or bad.4. Conduct regular reinforcement and follow-up sessions. You don’t necessarily have to fly everyone back in to town for a follow-up. Leverage web conferencing technology. But rather than just reviewing segments of the onsite training session, get participants to report on their success in implementing and using the skills and techniques they have learned. This adds an element of accountability that drives adoption and application . . . especially when the participants know that every month they will have to report on their progress toward their goals.HERE’S THE QUESTION FOR YOU?How do you keep salespeople, their managers, and company executives focused on the tangible objectives of your training programs?