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How to Encourage Positive Behaviors to Improve Sales Team Performance

By Rick Van Natta

Do you have a coaching plan after the training? Are the new skills being supported? Is there executive sponsorship for the accountability of the training? In this video, Rick Van Natta shares strategies to develop a holistic plan to ensure training achieves the desired outcome and ROI.

Rick Van Natta: 00:01 Hi, I'm Rick Van Natta. I'm a Senior Consultant with Strategic Enhancement Group. We've been working through the pandemic the past couple of years. With many people working remotely and the fact that it's likely that remote work will be a significant percentage of our workforce for the near future, many companies that I work with are asking, "How can we encourage new positive behaviors with our sales team to enable them to perform better?" Many companies that postponed training during the pandemic are starting to resume training with their sales team and want to know how to translate the newly acquired skills and knowledge into behaviors that achieve high performance. Interestingly, the answer really has not changed from what it was pre pandemic, except that the need for coaching and a support plan is now more critical, as some people will not necessarily be in constant contact with their coach or supervisor.

Rick Van Natta: 01:04 Coaching is absolutely the key to successful implementation and adoption of new sales behaviors. Many organizations provide the training, but then fail to develop and operate a solid coaching program to encourage and support the change in behaviors needed to improve performance, to move the organization forward. Of course, before training occurs, the organization needs to be ready, capable coaches need to be identified and sometimes trained. Additionally, executive support for the initiative is critical to keeping the momentum going after the training and they must have an expectation that the new skills and processes will be adopted and used as a regular part of the business. The people who will be trained also need to be prepared to learn and feel that they'll be supported as they try out new skills that will likely feel a bit awkward to implement at first. Companies also need to be sure that the chosen training program is a good fit for the organization and has been shown to produce positive results.

Rick Van Natta: 02:09 It takes most people on average, two to three months for new behaviors that are regularly practiced, to become habit. Most programs contain multiple key behavioral changes to fully implement the program and most people can only be expected to work on one or two behavioral changes at the time. This all needs to be built into the coaching program. As an example, if a program introduces six key elements that have not been practiced before, you can count on at least six months for the program to be fully implemented with continued coaching and organizational support under best case conditions. What behaviors do coaches need to help their teams to be successful? Regular, positive communication is the key action. This is accomplished through expectations of solid, positive results, regular scheduled check-ins and objective, honest and highly supportive feedback. When a new skill is mastered and it's become habit, only then is it time to move on to the next skills until all are a regular part of doing business.

Rick Van Natta: 03:16 This has not changed with remote work. What has changed is that we may not have the in-person meetings anymore. Coaching sessions may be conducted over a video conference or telephone, but the actions remain the same. Implementation of new behaviors with your sales team requires regular coaching and communication purposed to produce positive results. Coaching is a challenge for many organizations and some will choose to work with a facilitation and an implementation team to design a support and coaching program to reinforce these skills after the program delivery. Who and how the coaching is accomplished is a choice, but positive coaching must be implemented, or the new behaviors are not likely to stick.

Rick Van Natta: 04:03 If you'd like to learn more, please visit and we'll be happy to help you out.

Published: September 7, 2022

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Rick Van Natta

Senior Performance Consultant

Rick brings over 35 years experience in training and people performance. He has a “real-world, down to earth” approach to facilitation and coaching founded on his background in retail sales, specialty chemicals, marine drilling, and nuclear power plant operations having held positions ranging from Sales Representative through Director levels across the sales and operations functions in businesses. Rick also served in the US Navy nuclear power program retiring as a Master Chief Petty Officer after 25 years where he was a certified Nuclear Instructor. He holds graduate degrees and certificates in Engineering, Environmental, and Human Resources Management, Business Administration, Lean Six Sigma, and Project Management.

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