What is sales training and who is it meant for?
Effective sales training helps B2B teams sell better, more often.
An account executive, sales rep, or sales manager can use sales training courses to level up their sales skills and:
- Create impactful interactions with customers
- Find and manage sales opportunities better
- Master a specific sales technique
- Follow an internal sales process
- Use sales tools more effectively
- Grow and retain key accounts
- Leverage knowledge bases
- Improve sales performance
- Win complex deals
For a sales leader, effective sales training helps you build and manage a high-performing sales team, drive change, and manage sales performance.
Why bother with sales training?
Sales readiness is key to overall sales excellence, but many companies overlook this important factor.
Poor sales techniques hurt three audiences: prospects, sales reps, and the sales organization.
Prospects are forced to sit through an irrelevant sales call (low priority for them) or an inefficient sales process (adding friction) just to get help with their problems.
The sales rep fails to meet quota, hurting their sales performance and job security and leading to a negative employee experience.
The sales organization loses out on revenue and ends up paying for an inefficient sales force, while potentially suffering brand damage.
The best sales training programs thus improve everyone’s outcomes.
How is sales training delivered and where can you get it?
A sales training course is typically delivered as a live course, virtual workshop, or hybrid training program.
Each training course assesses a salesperson’s skill level and provides coaching on how to improve.
Formal B2B sales training programs validate attendees’ knowledge with a certification or badge.
Participants may also get other sales training resources like notes, workbooks, and checklists to improve their sales skills.
You can get B2B sales training from:
- Peer learning
- Your firm’s leaders
- Public speaking and communication training agencies
- Sales training consultants on LinkedIn and other platforms
- Online learning platforms (like Udemy or LinkedIn Learning)
When should you get sales training?
There are key moments in a team’s growth that call for sales training. This can be:
- When new sales representatives struggle to onboard and ramp
- When dealing with negative complaints from customers
- When new sales tools slow down productivity
- When sales-attributed revenue starts lagging
- When launching a new product or service
- When building a new B2B sales team
- When entering a new sales territory
- When promoting sales reps
Sales training should be an ongoing affair and form part of every sales rep’s performance expectations.
34 benefits of sales training: What can sales training help you do?
A lot. In fact, there are 34 ways sales training can help you or your team. Here’s a beautifully formatted list:
- Manage sales teams and track performance
- Manage vendors and channel partners
- Drive sales transformation and change
- Plan and manage customer accounts
- Deliver professional services better
- Manage your opportunity pipeline
- Find and qualify prospects better
- Uncover and resolve objections
- Use CRM and other sales tools
- Master a sales methodology
- Improve consultative selling
- Negotiate more effectively
- Master relationship selling
- Align sales with marketing
- Manage sales productivity
- Develop the right mindset
- Improve customer service
- Sell through social media
- Develop better proposals
- Send better sales emails
- Identify knowledge gaps
- Apply sales psychology
- Increase inbound sales
- Improve sales success
- Manage new territories
- Shorten the sales cycle
- Make better cold calls
- Create sales content
- Ask better questions
- Master action selling
- Master inside sales
- Sell more virtually
- Close more deals
- Present publicly
Each of these benefits delivers huge bottom-line gains to sales teams that leverage them.
For example, managing customer relationships can lead to lower churn rates, while better negotiation can lead to larger closed-won deals.
Asking better questions leads to qualifying your customers better, while social selling allows BDRs and SDRs to leverage LinkedIn more effectively to find prospects.
Developing the right mindset improves sales performance while using CRM and other sales tools can increase productivity.
Stack these benefits with ongoing sales coaching to turn every rep on your team into a sales hacker.
7 steps to get started with sales training
To kick off your sales training initiative, here’s what to do first:
- Assess your gaps: Where are our reps falling short? How could they improve?
- Allocate resources: How much time and money will sales training cost us?
- Get buy-in: How can we show the need for sales training to the team?
- Set expectations: What can we expect from a sales training program?
- Find partners: Which sales training partners can we bring in to help?
- Decide format: Do we want online sales training or onsite training?
- Execute: When do we start and who’s running the training process?
What improves sales training? 5 key factors
There are 5 key factors that determine the success of a sales training program. The factors are:
- Focus: Sales training must solve specific aspects of a sales rep’s technique.
- Community: Sales training can be more effective when delivered in groups, with reps having access to other members of their training cohort.
- Content: The sales training content has to be high-quality, well-designed, easily digestible, and accessible.
- Familiarity: Sales training that infuses the company’s own products and services — rather than hypothetical elements — can make the training more relevant and familiar.
- Monitoring and evaluation: Sales training without follow-up or performance tracking can lead to disappointing results and wasted training resources. Teams should track all progress after the training to determine ROI.
The cost of sales training
The cost of sales training will vary according to your needs. The price might fluctuate depending on whether it’s self-paced, live, in-person, or virtual.
It also depends on the skill that needs to be taught and the person who needs coaching.
What to look for when selecting a training program
There are 6 elements to look for when picking a sales training program:
- Interactivity: While video sales training programs allow self-paced learning, reps might need personalized interaction to work through challenging concepts and get crucial feedback.
- Flexibility: Reps should be able to learn at their own pace.
- Learning pathways: Good sales training programs customize learning to your needs.
- Integration: Sales doesn’t happen in a vacuum – it happens in tandem with marketing, customer support, and product development. Sales training delivered in isolation may deepen silos, so it’s important to show how different training insights feed into other functions.
- Expertise: Sales training should occur with credible trainers who’ve walked the walk.
- Data: Training backed by research is more credible and can drive improvement faster when people know what to expect.
Get sales training today
Sales training is a long-term investment that pays handsome dividends. It can help every B2B sales leader build a better team, earn more revenue, and improve the performance of every sales professional.
But for sales training courses to be effective, they must be tailored, interactive, monitored, and flexible. Sales engagement tools like CRM software help you apply sales training concepts in real time.
And combined with ongoing sales coaching throughout the sales cycle, you’re set up for sales success. Start your onsite or online sales training course today — next year’s quota will thank you.