Tips for creating great sales training programs!


Tips for creating a great sales program | LearnExperts

It is without a doubt that sales training is a business essential for B2B organizations. In a study by ValueSelling Associates, they found that sales people who said they were likely to miss quota:

  • Received moderate-to-low levels of sales training (both on product and skills)

  • Lacked the support of a formal sales coaching program

  • Lacked formal training on how to communicate value to customers

To avoid the above pitfalls, every organization should invest in building a great sales training program that empowers sales reps, increases productivity, better engages with customers, increases conversions and boosts company revenues. But what are the components of a good sales training program?


In this blog post, we provide some ideas on benefits you can expect from a good sales training program, who should be included in your sales training programs, what subjects to include, and how to structure your sales training courses for maximum effectiveness.



Even a little sales training can have significant effects.


Sales Training Benefits

Sales training impacts both the performance of a sales team and the company overall. The CPSA states that sales training allows teams to better integrate best practices in sales performance, gain more in-depth knowledge (and confidence) about their product offering, improve employee retention, develop more accurate forecasting and realistic goals and close more deals.


Other organizations, when asked how to measure sales training effectiveness, reported:

  • Increased productivity,

  • Improved employee communication,

  • Encouraged greater creativity,

  • Provided higher resilience during downturns,

  • Enabled deeper relationships with clients,

  • Improved customer buying experience,

  • Encouraged more customer loyalty,

  • Improved ability to attract top talent,

  • Encouraged more innovative thinking

  • Emphasized best practices.

In terms of ROI, an internal study at Motorola identified a return of investment of $29 for each dollar invested in sales training. Another recent industry report found that 87 percent of sales leaders who said they received “adequate” management training, reported that an average of 75 percent of their reps achieved quota in the previous year. This suggests that even a little sales training can have significant effects.



When designing your sales training program, consider expanding those who receive the training to all those departments who enable your sales and business development teams.



Sales Training vs Sales Enablement

Often used interchangeably, there is a distinction between sales training and sales enablement. In general, sales training is the information and skills that sales reps need to close more and better deals. Typically, this includes product knowledge to sell your company’s products or services including technical specifications, product use cases, service level agreements, warranties and more.


Sales training will also include a company’s sales process such as sales strategies, and skills salespeople need to use as they interact with prospects. This ensures sales are handled appropriately and in line with your company’s values and brand.


Sales enablement is greater than sales training and it is not necessarily just for sales. It’s a strategic approach where the entire organization is involved in the process of enhancing sales performance. In addition to product training and sales process training, this may include items such as sales coaching, onboarding, marketing and learning content creation, process improvements, and more.


When designing your sales training program, consider expanding those who receive the training to all those who enable your sales and business development teams. Sales reps rely on the entire organization to close the deals and empowering your sales enablement teams with skills and product knowledge will help to create a more robust and effective sales organization.



When deciding the courses to include in your sales training program, consider what are the sales training goals, how they may differ for different sales teams, different experience levels and different positions.



Knowing which Sales Training Topics to include

Google “topics for sales training” and you will receive over 3 billion search results. There are a lot of topics to cover when considering how to create a sales training program that is right for your organization. However, here are 10 common sales training topics that every organization should consider including in their programs:


Selling strategies – These can vary by product, service, industry, geography and persona. Some benefit from a more traditional approach to selling while others need innovative ways to reach potential clients and get to a closed deal.


Product knowledge training– This equips your sales reps with the information and confidence to answer customer questions. A good (and consistent) product knowledge training program also ensures that prospects receive a consistent message and experience.


Buyer personas training– Providing training based on the prospect’s position and influence enables sales reps to understand the customer’s buying mentality and gain insights into their pain points and buying cues.


Competitive Analysis – This involves both looking at differences in products and corporate services. Having a clear understanding of what your competitors do, can help you and your sales reps to clearly articulate your unique value proposition and strengths. It also enables you to build messaging to address any brand weaknesses.


Sales negotiation – A subtle art that requires understanding clients’ motivation and pain points, teaching sales about negotiations includes teaching how to control the flow of information, how to create “negotiating space”, and how to time concessions.


Deal closing –There comes a time in the sales cycle when the rep needs to make a move and seal the deal. Provide training on how to nurture the relationship with buyers, overcome obstacles, recognize buying signals, and ask for the business.


Effective communication – Teaching sales on the right balance between talking and listening helps to keep customers engaged


Time management – From prospecting to keeping existing clients engaged, there are a lot of things for sales reps to do. Providing effective strategies (and tools) to reduce wasted time is always a worthwhile investment.


Customer success - For SaaS companies, customer success is just as important as the initial sale. Sales reps need to know how to cross-sell, up-sell, reduce churn and ensure renewals.


Sales leadership – Nurture your high-performing sales reps who have the potential to lead large sales team with training on how to establish clear goals, set expectations, delegate, give feedback, and coach/mentor employees.


When deciding the courses to include in your sales training program, consider what are the sales training goals, how they may differ for different sales teams, different experience levels and different positions.



To increase retention and effectiveness, companies should design their sales programs to offer training options that reinforce what they’ve already learned and provide opportunities to practice their skills when they need it.


Training for Product Knowledge

Let’s dig a little deeper on topic #5 from the above list. Aside from soft sales skills, a training program for sales teams should include lots of product knowledge so that they know:


How to use the product: Sales should know how the product works and be able to demo the product in action. Case studies, examples and scenario-based exercises are a great way to support this type of training.


Price/ROI: Aside from the price packages, sales reps must know and articulate the return on investment and value a product can bring.


Product and customer support resources: Sales reps should know what resources are available to them and their clients when they have a question. This includes what type of documentation is available, in and out of the product, and where it is stored, where knowledge-base articles are located, and what kind of training is available for the product.


Product roadmap: Sales needs to know what features are coming and when, to help them seal the deal.



Aside from soft sales skills, a training program for sales teams should include lots of product knowledge



Structuring your Sales Training Program

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review participants in traditional curriculum-based training forget more than 80 percent of the information they were taught within 90 days. This statistic is not surprising if you consider how sales training is often conducted.


Organizations typically convey large amounts of information when onboarding a new salesperson, when new products are introduced or during annual “sales kick-off” meetings when the sales direction and quotas are discussed.


To increase retention and effectiveness, companies should design their sales programs to offer training options that reinforce what they’ve already learned and provide opportunities to practice their skills when they need it.


For these reasons, sales programs should be structured so they frequently offer a good mixture of Instructor led training, eLearning, microlearning, coaching and mentoring that increase both skills and product knowledge.


Skills Training

When it comes to sales skills training, there many options available. Many organizations, such as Dale Carnegie, offer both in-person and online training sessions. HubSpot has compiled a list of “36 Best Sales Training Courses for Every Budget and Team” that is worth checking out. If you are looking for free training that your sales team can take on an adhoc basis, HubSpot has also compiled a list of sales training videos on YouTube.


Product Training Development and Structure

When it comes to product training, this is typically handled by internal documentation or learning and development teams and there are many challenges that prevent an organization from creating effective product training content for sales teams. Depending on the organization size, this can include lack of:

  • Dedicated training or sales enablement staff

  • Time to create different learning modalities more suited for sales teams

  • Time or staff to update existing training to reflect changes in processes, tools and product features

There are many evolutions in training tools and best practices that can solve some of these problems. These include:



LEAi is so easy to use that everyone - from HR to sales enablement - can convert existing content they have into learning content that follow best practices - in minutes.


Creating Training Content With LEAi

When it comes to developing course content for products we know that it can take a lot of time and attention of subject matter experts to get their input for developing learning content. Then the actual process of creating the training material can be slow or cumbersome when using tools like Word or PowerPoint.


For these reasons, we developed LEAi, which is an AI-enabled tool that allows those responsible for learning and development (L&D) to create content for instructor led training (ILT), eLearning, knowledge base articles, virtual class content, presentations, webinars and videos using content your subject matter experts have already created.


You don’t have to be a L&D specialist to use LEAi. Our tool is so easy to use that everyone from HR to sales enablement can convert existing content they have into learning content that follow best practices - in minutes. Key benefits of LEAi include:

  1. Use content that exists

  2. Be guided by best practices

  3. Update existing courses fast

  4. Repurpose content easily

  5. Use the content to create different learning delivery modes


If you are considering creating or updating your sales training program and you need a tool to help you accelerate the creation of internal training, drop us a note!






Leah McGuire

VP, Operations, LearnExperts