It is amazing how often I hear; We need a “influencing skills”, “closing skills”, “presentations skills” etc, workshop and when I start digging, in about 99% of the cases it's not what they need.
The symptom (influencing skills) is pretty much always the result of something deeper being wrong and generally it’s a sales leadership issue and/or the wrong behaviours (i.e. lagging KPI's opposed to leading KPI's) being focused on.
I guess it is why research says that only +- 9% of all sales training is effective. Putting the sales team through an influencing skills workshop on its own will make little or no difference.
We have completed many ROI projects and over time have learned that only 1-in-5 people change their behavior from training alone.
In general, for training to work, it must have high relevance, clear success metrics, identified skills and behaviours, targeted goals, effective training measurement, consistent performance monitoring and frequent coaching so that it is actually applied on the job. Otherwise, training is just an exercise in “checking the box” and spending hard-earned money with no real business impact or performance return.
Ideally, training, just like any other business investment, should be conducted only when it can impact meaningful business results that matter and ensure the desired behaviour changes will take place.