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New Year TrainingThe beginning of a new year is a great time to reflect on what training executed really well during the previous year, and what things need to be fine-tuned for the coming year. Now is the time to get really laser-focused on brand initiatives and get organized – wipe the slate clean of work that has been completed and look ahead to a strong year of training execution. Here is a good checklist to prepare for a banner year in terms of training and development for any sales organization.

  1. Level set the training calendar with Sales and Marketing teams – determine what big initiatives are expected this year, and build a shared calendar to promote open communication
    • Include new hire/tenured sales training classes
    • Schedule POA cycle meetings
    • Schedule anticipated launches of products and/or new tools and programs
    • Include your IT partner in the calendar distribution list, and consider copying Medical, Legal, and Regulatory (MLR) members so they are prepared for any major training initiatives that will require review
  2. Conduct a needs analysis for training – keep it simple
    • Assess what materials require upgrade/update/annual review
      • Add any annual review dates to calendar
    • Consider what materials need to be developed (Nice to have and need to have)
      • Determine your role in each project and who the other contributors will be
  3. Budget Planning
    • Apply findings from the needs analysis and schedule a discussion with the Director of Training for early Q1 to prioritize projects and confirm your plan
    • Consult with vendors to determine ideas and strategies for upcoming projects
    • CLD’s free, pre-designed training plan slide deck templates are super helpful
  4. Update files
    • Archive your email inbox (New Year’s Resolution: keep your inbox to 30 messages)
    • Collate and file projects that were completed
    • Purge/archive hardcopy files >7 years old, or as per company guidelines
  5. Connect with field leadership
    • Get a feel for areas of opportunity based on their observations – align with senior management on the specific skill building for the year (only focus on one or two)
    • Schedule field time strategically based on a good cross-section of time observing the best, the recent, and those who need help
    • Find out which “rising stars” could help with training projects this year

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Finally, start the year by asking yourself what personal goal you are determined to achieve this year as a professional trainer. Share this goal with your manager, and commit to making it happen, by prioritizing steps in attaining this goal throughout the year.

For example, if your goal is to work with Sales and Marketing to create a Field Sales Advisory Board, perhaps you start in Q1 by identifying possible candidates for these roles and schedule field time with them. By Q2, perhaps you are confirming candidates with senior leaders, creating the role description, and announcing the new board members to the field. Maybe the board members’ first assignment is to beta test a new marketing tool in front of customers, for a Q3 rollout to the entire field organization. And by Q4, you have each board member host one of the advisory board’s weekly calls to discuss best practices in the use of the new tool based upon feedback they have collected from their teams since the tool was launched. Each of these steps needs to be carefully planned, scheduled, and prepared for, in order for it to be executed flawlessly. Planning ahead from a clean slate is always better practice, and writing it down often ensures it will get done. Best wishes for a prosperous (and organized) New Year!!