Sales Best Practices

Sales Training: 11 Effective Programs and How to Choose The Right One

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Serena Miller

Editor, Sales Best Practices

The art of sales isn’t stagnant: An ever-changing industry, evolving techniques, emerging technologies, and increasing customer demands require adaptability for success. To ensure their reps are well prepared, sales managers must provide consistent, ongoing training.

The 2020 LinkedIn State of Sales Report shows that top-performing sellers are more likely to spend a significant amount of time training with their managers. And since organizations that invest in training receive about $453 for every dollar invested (a 353% ROI), implementing an effective sales training program is the competitive advantage most companies likely can’t afford to ignore.

But finding the right sales training program for your team can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. There are myriad training programs that promise unmatched advantages — each offering a different methodology or format for support. And the challenges don’t stop there: Once you find the right program for your reps, many managers struggle to get executive buy-in, measure progress, and truly transform their team’s culture for successful adoption.

Here, we’ll take a close look at different types of sales training programs, how to choose the right one for your team, and 11 of the most popular sales training programs available today.

What is Sales Training?

Sales training is the practice of empowering reps through development — by honing their sales skills, fine-tuning their process and methodologies, refining their product expertise, and enhancing their use of sales technology. The overarching goal of sales training is to thoroughly prepare salespeople to perform at their best.

It’s no wonder 89% of sales leaders have invested (or plan to invest) in internal sales training for their reps. Setting reps up for success during every part of the sales process is crucial for winning more deals and delivering a consistently exceptional customer experience.

With the right sales training program, leaders and managers can upskill their talent at-scale for a more competitive, effective team. This is particularly vital in today’s complex sociopolitical sales environment; where reps must be data and technology fluent, engage customers with empathy and accountability, and be capable of driving insights-backed conversations.

Types of sales training programs

Understanding the different types of sales training programs is often confusing for leaders and managers. There are countless training providers — each with a different name, methodology, and price. But, at their core, practically every sales training program falls into one of four major categories:

  • Sales management: These training programs are designed to help managers refine their sales team management strategies. They’re focused on empowering managers to better support reps, build more effective sales teams, and provide exceptional coaching that pushes sellers closer to their objectives. 
  • Inside sales: Scaling an inside sales team requires more than equipping them with shiny new sales tools. Inside sales training programs streamline their tasks and processes — including researching, prospecting, emailing, calling, managing pipeline, performing administrative tasks, etc. — to boost effectiveness and performance. 
  • Outside sales: Sometimes called field sales training, these programs are built to improve the efficiency and success of reps who rely on in-person customer interactions to close deals. They generally focus on enhancing relationship-building skills, time-management techniques, and presentation abilities. 
  • Service sales: Because service sales reps focus on providing exceptional customer service, increasing client loyalty, and expanding their customers’ lifetime value, these sales training programs tackle consultative selling methods and compelling storytelling.

Though the two are sometimes conflated, it’s important to note that sales training programs are vastly different from sales coaching software. Sales training programs are intended to be educational practices that help reps implement the essential techniques for success. Some programs do use sales technology for support (or even train reps to properly use technology for better outcomes), but they themselves are not considered technology.

Sales coaching software, on the other hand, is a robust tool that’s leveraged as part of a team’s SalesTech stack. It helps sales teams streamline their workflows, automate administrative tasks, identify areas for improvement, and provide real-time coaching (even during sales calls). These technologies are highly focused on helping sales teams turn their data into more deals. When paired with the right sales training program, an intelligent sales coaching solution can help reps enhance the customer experience and improve win rates.

Advantages of Sales Training Programs

U.S. companies spend more than $70 billion a year on sales training. It’s an investment that makes sense, given the various benefits of implementing an effective sales training program. Some key advantages include:

  • Increased productivity: The right sales training program helps managers decrease ramp time for reps, which means new hires are up and running much faster. Continuous training and development ensures sellers have everything they need (from tools, to resources, to techniques) to operate as efficiently as possible. New and existing reps have a thorough understanding of the tools they use, the sales process they follow, and the products they sell; so no time is wasted digging for answers or second-guessing next steps.
  • A better bottom line: There’s no question that an adequately prepared, highly skilled sales force is one that can close deals efficiently and effectively. Top-performing reps achieve 125% or more of their revenue goals; but how can managers level up their average performers to match that same degree of success? The answer is ongoing training, which boosts reps’ confidence, enhances their customer relationship-building skills, and—ultimately—increases revenue.
  • Exceptional customer experience: As customer expectations increase, sellers need the right expertise to meet (or exceed) them. Traditional sales techniques just won’t cut it in today’s ultra-competitive, customer-centric landscape. By leveraging a strong sales training program, managers can consistently ensure their salespeople are always up-to-date on strategies that will win more clients over. The right training program prepares reps to actively listen; conduct themselves with empathy and accountability; study and understand customer pain points; and gracefully handle difficult client conversations and objections. The result is a stronger, more unified sales process that better supports and satisfies customers at every step of the buyer’s journey.
  • A competitive advantage: Buyers want to purchase their products and services from knowledgeable, polished sellers. Competitive organizations have taken note of today’s hyper-hybrid sales environment, where reps must understand and utilize data, possess strong relationship-building skills (even when selling remotely), and remain self-motivated to succeed. An effective sales training program can help managers identify and ameliorate reps’ challenges at-scale, so their salespeople boost their productivity and competitive edge with minimal disruption.
  • Lower turnover rates: People want to feel like they are growing and developing in their roles, and sellers are no different. While the average turnover rate for reps is around 34%, managers can improve employee retention by fostering an environment in which sellers want (and are empowered) to stay and grow. A strong sales training program helps both new-hires and experienced reps feel that their organization is invested in their development. Plus, the new skills and techniques they learn from ongoing training will help them reach their objectives faster and more consistently — which, in turn, drives their motivation to succeed.

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How to Choose the Best Sales Training Program for Your Reps

As with any process, tool, practice, or technique, not all sales training programs are created equal. Choosing the right one should be highly dependent on your organization's unique goals, team members, budget, and culture. As you evaluate your options, be sure to follow some key best practices for success:

  • Get executive alignment: Managers should approach sales training as a strategic initiative; which means several leaders should come together to properly define the approach. Discuss how your reps are currently selling versus how they should be selling, given today’s landscape, the modern buyer, and your specific product. Consider the nuances of your product, how many products your team is actually selling, and what types of roles are needed to adequately reach your total addressable market. Your organization’s sales executives should shed some light on where the company’s at and where it’s headed so that you can better hone in on a particular sales methodology. This ultimately helps managers understand how their reps should be selling and which processes need to be defined to get everyone across the finish line.
  • Consider a hybrid methodology: Depending on your organization’s sales process, there may not be a one-size-fits-all methodology that works for training your reps. Don’t sweat it if one technique isn’t effective across all of your sales teams. Instead, you may need to take a hybrid approach to training; wherein managers leverage programs that are well-established and respected in the industry, but also ensure it’s fit for all of your business’s intended purposes. You might also need to implement a program using your own unique assets and methods that align with the way your specific team works, so reps and managers don’t have to bridge the gap between a particular sales theory and its actual application.
  • Build a maturity model: Sales organizations frequently invest in and deploy new technologies, then simply hope for the best without optimizing the tool for their unique process or approach. This same mistake also applies to sales training programs: Managers often implement a new program with the best intentions, but neglect to account for how it will actually be used or their expected outcomes. Instead, leaders and managers should consider how the program will affect the rep experience, how it might better enable them, and how they’ll measure success at each stage. They should also examine what, specifically, their teams will need to change in order to drive the most value from the program. By mapping these details out in a maturity model, managers can better understand what’s working, what’s not, and what they need to do to move the needle.
  • Think beyond software and tools: Modern sales tools are incredibly valuable to your team’s training, but adopting a slew of software solutions isn’t enough to ensure success. Managers must also continuously think about how to improve the customer journey, and how the training methodology they use helps reps do so. Your SalesTech stack should support the training program you choose, and both should drive alignment and messaging across your teams. Make sure you weave your core concepts into all of your coaching and training initiatives to create the strongest buyer experience possible.
  • Build a culture of learning and development: We know that upskilling your reps is crucial, especially in today’s ever-changing sales world. As new tactics, strategies, and tools arise, make sure you’re offering ongoing support for your salespeople. Your top talent will likely jump ship if you don’t foster an environment that values learning and development; so leverage a training program that helps reps perform at their best and empowers them to build upon their expertise.

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Top 11 Sales Training Programs

Modern sales training programs can help your reps enhance their skills and grow your business. To help you get started in evaluating your options, we’ve compiled a list of today's most popular programs and what they each offer.

1. Winning by Design

Winning by Design helps sales organizations create an effective go-to-market sales strategy and train your teams to drive growth. They’re specifically focused on remote sales teams, with foundational frameworks and processes that help boost collaboration and scalability.

Using interactive training courses, Winning by Design helps reps develop core skills for running demos, enhancing customer interactions, and more. They offer curriculum in a variety of formats for reps in every role; including field sales, SDRs, account executives, and account managers.

2. JBarrows Sales Training

With individual and group programs (offered both in-person and remote), JBarrows Sales Training helps reps fine-tune their processes for consistent, high-quality execution. They engage the sales team and boost their skills through live, interactive training and application, which ensures adoption and results.

Because JBarrows Sales Training can be completed from anywhere, teams who implement the program can receive consistent, structured sales education that improves their performance. They focus on outbound prospecting into new accounts to help sales teams fill their pipeline.

3. Victory Lap

Victory Lap can help sales organizations both recruit new reps and upskill their current salespeople. They offer methods to increase conversation rates and boost the ROI of sales teams. With a variety of resources (e.g. live training calls, bootcamps, videos, etc.), organizations can use their program to help reps excel in the sales career path.

By providing an end-to-end sales training program — from recruitment, to onboarding, to development — Victory Lap helps sellers build confidence, ramp faster, and perform at their best.

4. SalesWorks

SalesWorks marries performance objectives with a user-driven experience to boost rep efficiency and productivity. They tailor their training to every level (from SDRs to VPs of sales) with highly-immersive development programs.

The SalesWorks team offers open workshops as well as customized, ongoing training and development across the entire revenue team. They enhance onboarding, leadership, and customer success initiatives with a unique approach that drives sustainable growth.

5. ClozeLoop

ClozeLoop helps B2B sales organizations improve predictability, close more deals, and optimize their talent with training programs that promise ongoing success. Regardless of your company’s size, their agile approach to training can help your sales team quickly achieve its revenue goals.

With a three-pillar framework for success, ClozeLoop helps sellers build upon their foundational skills for improved sales execution. They offer courses, videos, and other resources for results-driven sales training.

6. Force Management

Force Management’s training program focuses on turning your sales team into a well-oiled machine. They provide proven methodologies, sales enablement resources, and consistent execution processes for measurable results.

Because they frame their approach as ‘sales transformation’ instead of sales training, they customize the process and ensure high levels of adoption. Force Management can deliver an ongoing training program in a format that works best for your team, whether remote or in-person.

7. The Harris Consulting Group

The Harris Consulting Group understands the importance of active listening and asking the right questions. They focus on training reps to speak at the right time for better execution and a deeper understanding of customer needs.

Via live courses, videos, or an online training portal, The Harris Consulting Group uses the N.E.A.T (Need, Economic Impact, Access to Authority, and Timeline) method to guide reps to succeed within their individual roles. Plus, they customize training around your business goals and broader initiatives.

8. Modern Sales Training

Modern Sales Training offers actionable and results-driven programs that help reps create their own learning paths. Through a variety of courses and workshops, they help sellers level up their skills and improve their overall performance.

The company provides both on-demand lessons and lifetime access for subscribers, so salespeople can develop skills that ensure long-term success. Modern Sales Training is strategy-focused and helps even the greenest of reps become expert sellers.

9. Factor 8

Factor 8 is completely focused on helping reps sell in a remote environment. Their team consists of expert sales leaders who left their previous roles to spend time developing other reps’ skills.

With an online, fully customized curriculum, Factor 8 teaches salespeople while they’re on the job. They take a hands-on approach to increasing pipeline, shortening the sales cycle, and closing more deals.

10. SALESDOCk

SALESDOCk is best known for helping sales teams get the most out of their processes and technologies. They deliver complex education to help reps identify and target the right prospects, increase conversions, and teach teams to use their tools to automate, measure, and predict the sales process.

By helping managers to determine which sales processes don’t work (and implement ones that do) SALESDOCk boosts rep efficiency and effectiveness. They first consult with your sales team to build a better department, then offer continuous online training for further development and support.

11. A Sales Growth Company

A Sales Growth Company's approach to accelerating growth is centered around problem-centric selling: the sales methodology that teaches salespeople how to sell the way your buyers like to buy. Their structured gap selling roadmap focuses on how to improve your average sale price, lead generation process, sales quota, and close rates.

ASG offers both virtual and in-person training. Before training starts, ASG diagnoses your team’s challenges across strategy, structure, people, and process. From there, they develop a comprehensive training that meets the specific needs of your organization.

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Pair Sales Training with Real-Time Enablement

Finding and implementing an effective sales training program can seem like a daunting task, but it’s well worth it for teams that want to remain competitive, improve rep performance, and increase their revenue. After all, proper continuous training ensures rep preparedness and efficiency at every stage of the sales process.

In addition to a modern sales training program, sales teams need powerful tools that offer real-time enablement and coaching. That why Outreach built Kaia, a conversation intelligence solution that takes your sales training initiatives to the next level. With tools for faster rep onboarding, live transcription, automated task tracking, real-time talk visibility, and more, Kaia can help your sales team turn its data into deals.

Learn more about how real-time enablement backed by intelligent tools can help your team close deals faster, or request a demo today.