Maximizing Your Field Training Role
GUEST EDITOR – Joe Wilmoth
Are you capitalizing on the opportunities the field training role has for you, your team and your career?
As a current field trainer, you can uncover the full potential of your role by seeking more responsibilities to enhance your skills and competencies. Your position can be rewarding as a peer leader making a strong impact for the field and discovering your own career possibilities.
In many organizations, the field training role is built into the infrastructure as fulltime headcount for supporting learning and development (L&D) objectives, enhancing knowledge, competencies and engagement of the sales force. With a collaborative approach, field trainers can be a designated part of senior leadership teams while partnering with leaders from across the organization.
“The field training role is providing visibility to all aspects of the commercial team through the combination of supporting L&D training initiatives and field-based coaching. From the scope of career progression, it offers the opportunity to develop a range of skillsets such as coaching, facilitation, management and crossfunctional collaboration.”
— Augie Stadtmueller, Field Training Specialist — East Region
Here are four areas of opportunity to maximize your field training role.
1. Actively Support the L&D Plan With Onboarding, Field Training and Coaching
Provide support for the strategic continuum of sales force learning with appropriate content and relevant, effective training. Field trainers should be able to administer content, resources and internal processes for advancing product or technical knowledge to meet brand and performance needs.
Field trainers should be the first-line support for the onboarding process. This ownership provides full awareness to the hiring process, increases communication with hiring managers and prioritizes the connection with the incoming new hire. Your new hires will appreciate having a main point of contact as they begin their onboarding.
Engage with your sales team by conducting field-based co-travels to reinforce selling skills and marketing strategies and to evaluate sales program effectiveness. Actively partner with your sales managers to identify team members who could benefit from your coaching.
Create a fun learning atmosphere by coaching to strengths, providing thorough coaching reports and always following up with them post-call to show appreciation for your time with them. Even virtually, field trainers can continually engage with the sales force with phone calls and wellness check-ins. Your connections within the sales team as well as with the managers will create champions and can directly impact your next career moves.
“The Field Training role was extremely rewarding for my career. With the ability to coach the field sales team on furthering their competencies, work with sales leadership to develop my own management skills and support L&D projects, I was able to pursue an internal role within L&D where I get to build and manage projects across multiple platforms supporting the entire organization.”
— Mike Amato, former Senior Field Training Specialist, promoted to Senior Manager, L&D
2. Expand Your Support of Content Development and Facilitation
Your voice counts! Collaborate cross-functionally with L&D, sales management and other internal teams to incorporate key business drivers and sales directives into learning objectives that will maximize sales effectiveness. Your experience and perspective can play a key role supporting the development and sustainment of ongoing curriculum, resources, workshops and initiatives.
Optimize the training experience with adult learning techniques and innovative delivery. Take action with frequent facilitation by delivering workshops at sales meetings or new hire programs. Offer to play a role with impactful presentations to senior management and other internal teams. Align business objectives with the needs of the sales force and capitalize on providing the human element to a relevant approach. Also, you can enhance your communication skills and increase your confidence by expanding engagement with various audiences.
“I learned many valuable skills through my field training role, which prepared me for the next step in my career as a division sales manager. The role helped to build confidence in my leadership abilities and the value that I bring to the organization. My experience as a field trainer led to a successful transition during my first year as a sales manager.”
— Juliet Pappalardo, former Senior Field Training Specialist, promoted to Division Business Manager
3. Take Advantage of Special Projects for Career Development
Field trainers should actively participate in internal and external development for building leadership skills. Maintain an active individual development plan (IDP) and partner with your senior sales leadership to map out your career steps toward promotion. Schedule regular conversations with your sales managers for better insights on performance coaching, handling team dynamics and retaining talent. Encourage sales managers to invite you to participate in interview panels for gaining perspective on interviewing styles. Also, partnering with the human resources team can provide a better understanding of talent acquisition and internal hiring processes.
Keep active with a variety of projects while collaborating with cross-functional
stakeholders, business objectives and timelines for increasing organizational and
business planning abilities. Advancing your exposure to internal functions will give
you a broader perspective of business strategy in your future roles.
“Being a Field Trainer taught me how to make an impact on employee performance by developing individuals to be more efficient at their job while providing a clear direction and goal for my team. I learned how to be a strategic partner to offer viable and sustainable solutions while being a servant leader.”
— Renee Bowers, former Field Trainer, now Senior Division Sales Manager
4. Be the Agent of Positive Influence
Field trainers have the fantastic opportunity to impact the entire sales force, and your influence as a peer leader can have ripple effects across the organization. By supporting the goals of your team and your company, you can be a pivotal force providing positive reinforcement and motivation.
Sales leadership teams need field trainers as collaborative, accountable, committed “eyes and ears” of the field sales team. You have the best vantage point to identify critical needs for directives, pull-through and coaching opportunities. Remain flexible and adaptable, and your journey can be full of a variety of leadership experiences.
“The field trainer role is unique in the fact that we are full-time field sales trainers, but we also commit to making sure the field feels supported, recognized and that their voices are heard. This role offers us the opportunity to collaborate with multiple internal stakeholders and external partners providing us experience that will translate into strong leadership competencies.”
— Blake Workman, Field Training Specialist — West Region
The field training role can be an ideal springboard for your career. Take full advantage of the many learning opportunities that can be applicable throughout your career. Be confident in your abilities and discuss your objectives with your sales leadership to gain additional responsibilities for maximizing your role.
Share your commitment for supporting the growth and development of others, and you too can be rewarded with your own successful career path. Most of all, continue to be a student, bask in the possibilities, make a positive impact and enjoy the field training experience!
Joe Wilmoth is executive director, learning & development, for Dermira. Email Joe