Sales training, on its own, doesn’t work. And that is predominantly because of the 70:20:10 model (as well as a few other key factors). So if you want to develop a successful sales team, it is important to understand what the three components are and how they work in conjunction with each other.
How people acquire new skills for working was researched in the 80s by Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger at the Centre for Creative Leadership, and what they found was that 70 per cent of learning comes from on the job experience and personal problem solving, 20 per cent comes from managerial coaching, observation and feedback, and 10 per cent is from formal training.
What is imperative is that all three components combined are required to achieve the ‘learning transfer’ and resulting behavioural change.
Lombardo and Eichinger later summarised their findings in a more palatable way.
Lessons learned by successful and effective managers are roughly;
- 70 percent from tough jobs
- 20 percent from people (mostly the boss)
- 10 percent from courses and reading
Let’s look at each segment in detail.
1. The ‘70’
Research shows that hands-on experience is imperative for employees to develop and upskill because it enables them to make real-life decisions, increase their responsibilities when capable, and receive immediate feedback on performance.
Sure, to some this may sound like what a typical work environment should be, but it is more about making a conscious effort to expand learnings while in the workplace. This could include things like; problem solving for a particular situation, coming up with a solution for an issue currently being faced, participating in other activities outside the scope of their current role, or being given a side project to lead.
Think of the ‘70’ part as informal, on-the-job learning, where interactions with colleagues and other departments contribute to the overall knowledge and experience an individual has of their role.
2. The ‘20’
The ‘20’ ratio is about relationships – networking, executive coaching, workplace coaching and mentoring and superiors taking an active role in the learning and development of their team.
Typical activities that come under the ‘20’ can also include facilitated group discussion, informal feedback and debrief sessions, and professional industry association membership.
Through knowledge sharing, open and constructive feedback, and structured management involvement, the ‘20’ aspect is about learning and developing through others.
3. The ‘10’
This is where formal and training fits into learning and development, but it is often ignored or forgotten about because it is “only” 10 per cent. This is a mistake. Each of the three functions complement each other and if you take one away, the 70:20:10 concept doesn’t work effectively.
From courses, workshops and seminars, to eLearning, certification and professional qualifications, training is an integral part of an individual’s growth and progress. And when you take the technical skills learnt in training and have them supported by a mentor or manager, as well as an opportunity to apply them into their job, it is proven that those skills will be quickly integrated into the work environment, with a greater retention of capabilities.