August 9, 2013


If you are reading this, you are likely trying to put together some kind of solution to your firm’s corporate sales training issues. With so many options, it can be tough to know where to start, so consider this a short primer on the important facets to keep in mind when designing a top sales training program for your sales force.

1. Motivate

The top sales training programs are motivating. This does not mean just delivering a bunch of empty rah-rah. It means delivering valuable knowledge and building up skills which raise confidence and inspire action, while also instilling a “can-do” attitude among your sales force.

Here are some ways to increase the motivational power of your sales training program:

  • Feature a dynamic speaker which fits your company’s demographic. If you can afford it, splurge on a well-known personality — someone respected in your industry or the world at large. This will improve engagement, thereby increasing retention.
  • Keep things positive by focusing on the “Dos” instead of the “Don’ts” when providing best practice advice to your sales people.
  • Try using videos instead of PowerPoints. Even writing on a large pad with a marker is more interesting to most trainees than endless PowerPoints.

2. Focus

As stressed in this Inc. article, your focus should be on making trainees proficient in fundamental selling actions, rather than just throwing a bunch of information at them. Keep this goal in mind when picking or developing a curriculum.

Some questions to ask:

  • Are there role-playing drills, or is this just a bunch of theory?
  • Is the material broken down into logical and easily digestible “chunks” which allow proficiency in one area of sales or skill before moving on?
  • Can I convincingly deliver this material and get students to apply it, or should I bring in a professional trainer?

3. Reinforce

With the high level of distraction inherent in our society today, it is easy to understand how salespeople seem to forget everything they have learned in a training session within two weeks. It is a fact of life that your sales training time and dollars will go to waste unless you reinforce the lessons they learned in the classroom or at the seminar.

Some solutions:

  • Follow up a large training course with mini-course refreshers that focus on areas where more work is needed.
  • Continue to role play the skills learned, preferably at least once a week during a sales meeting.
  • Provide one-on-one personalized coaching to deserving sales team members.

A sales training program that is missing the above key ingredients will wind up being a boring, unsuccessful event. If you keep the above points in mind, however, you can concentrate on the most effective things to teach, improve motivation by delivering with sufficient impact, and reinforce the training later to “sharpen the saw.” And that will produce a top sales training program which will bring in more dollars to the bottom line and happier sales staff.