This week’s blog written by Jerry Acuff, CEO & Founder.


It is one of the more challenging aspects of being a consultant. Regardless of whether we are involved in creating and delivering the entire national sales training for our clients or advising which specific skills should be targeted for the greatest impact on sales results, one topic seems to always arise: pull-through.

As training professionals, we know and understand how critical it is to keep training alive after the scheduled workshops have concluded—through pull-through. In fact, I wrote a white paper about the topic called Death by Training—and the title captures what happens when training is incomplete. Training programs that end when the live or virtual training event concludes basically die. Without consistent and persistent reminders, it will be as if no training ever occurred. But regardless of the reason—change in budgets or team members or priorities—chances are pull-through is not realized.

This is more than a missed opportunity. It can mean that all the investment of time, resources and manpower have been wasted. Because without pull-through, it is as if the training never occurred.

That’s why pull-though is so important. It is the way humans learn. We can blame the wiring of our brain. We need to continually be reminded about the new concepts we just learned. We need to hear success stories of how others have implemented the learning. We need to course correct when we make mistakes—and we will make mistakes. It’s how our brain rewires our neuron pathways when doing something differently than how we’ve always done it.

Another factor that makes pull through even more important is our decreasing attention spans. According to a Microsoft study…

• The average attention span in 2015 was just 8 seconds
• In 2005, the average attention span was 12 seconds

This has a significant impact on how to effectively design pull-through—especially when targeting millennials who comprise the majority of the sales teams.

We recognize that email inboxes tend to be overcrowded and portals aren’t often accessed. It’s challenging to send information to the sales force and get them to access it without feeling bombarded. That’s why we’ve partnered with our clients to provide some rather unique pull-through deliverables you might want to consider:

Bite-sized learning In the spirit of learning tools like DuoLingo, etc, we create a training content plan based on small bite-sized content. It’s been proven that learning in smaller increments today can be more effective, and we’re working to push this envelope.
Gamification Traditional “tests” may be antiquated, but there are other ways to reinforce learning through the natural competitive spirit and rise of gaming through mobile devices.
Virtual Meetings Sharing best practices is essential to keep the learning alive. Scheduled and/or recorded teleconferences are being replaced by technology such as our ConnectHub offering where individuals can actually see and hear what others are doing, or virtual meetings paired with offline homework for reinforced learning.

Although we live in the YouTube era, it’s important to remember that despite the myriad of technologies, the need for verbalization practice does not go away. In fact, our culture has become accustomed to seeing and hearing how to do anything through YouTube and TED Talks. We shouldn’t fight this, but instead embrace it as we leverage that behavior.

That’s why we need to be innovative and think of effective ways to keep the learning alive. Because if we don’t, it will surely die.

And if you’re ready to think about pull-through, let us know if we can help.