Sales Training Managers, are In-house or Third-Party Training Solutions Better?

Sales training managers are responsible for procuring and managing solutions to improve the selling skills of their employees. While books and videos are very useful, sales training managers also need a formal sales training curriculum led by one or more live instructors. This leads to a choice: either they develop a completely in-house program which they deliver themselves or use another employee to do so, or they outsource the training to a third party.

Each has its pluses and minuses. Let’s take a look at the most important ones so you can make the best choice when researching sales training solutions for your own business.

In-house sales training

The main advantage of in-house training is control.

For example:

  • You are free to schedule training sessions whenever and wherever you want rather than depend on a third party’s availability and geographic location.
  • You can design your own curriculum. Want to emphasize telephone selling skills? You can devote an entire day to that if you like, when you train in-house.
  • Trainers are employees, so they have to do what you say!
  • Might be cheaper in the long run – IF you can get the same or better results as professional training companies.

That last bullet point sums up the main disadvantage of in-house sales training: it is hard for sales training managers to achieve the same results with in-house programs vs professional sales training companies.

Some of the reasons for this include:

  • In-house training gets less buy-in from trainees because in-house employees can be perceived as having less authority than outside trainers.
  • Lack of valuable outside viewpoints and best practices from other companies and industries.
  • Complacency on behalf of trainers since they don’t have to compete with other firms for your business.

There are a few more differences, which I will cover below.

Third-party sales training

The main advantage for sales training managers to use professional, third party sales training firms is the quality of the training. Pro sales trainers eat, sleep, and breathe sales training. They have no other fish to fry, whereas in-house training staff likely have many other duties in addition to training.


  • Outside firms tend to have the most modern, cutting edge curricula in order to remain competitive.
  • They deal with many different businesses, so they can look at your business challenges with a different perspective and offer solutions you might not be aware of otherwise.
  • Hiring an outside firm makes training a special event for trainees, increasing excitement and buy-in.
  • They try their best so you come back for more services, unlike in-house staff who would just be “doing their job.”

Things to watch out for:

  • Your schedule and theirs could conflict, making organizing the training more difficult since you are subject to their availability
  • If the training firm doesn’t customize their delivery to your business or industry, it could fail to resonate with your trainees.
  • Likely more expensive than doing it in-house in the short term, although most will find a superior ROI in the long run due to greater effectiveness.

What about a hybrid solution?

There is another option available to sales training managers: a hybrid between in-house and third-party training in which the company licenses the content from a reputable company, and delivers it using its own staff, quarters, and schedule.

In choosing this model, the delivery staff should undergo the training from the training vendor themselves to experience it directly. Doing so will help them deliver the material most effectively and in the “spirit” of the training vendor.

Other solutions include virtual or on-demand training from the third-party company remotely. Even role play can be done remotely these days, seeing as video streaming is available just about everywhere.

Important things to cover

Regardless of whether sales training managers choose in-house or third-party solutions, or a hybrid as just mentioned, here are some must-haves for the most modern sales training experience possible:

  • The factors for sales success (product knowledge, sales aptitude, selling skills, motivation, sales process)
  • Prospecting, qualifying, and presenting
  • Closing skills, including handling objections, recognizing when to close and what to say
  • Emotional intelligence and the psychology of selling (includes personal branding)
  • Social media marketing and selling (emphasis on LinkedIn)
  • CRM, Marketing Automation, and other technology applicable to selling
  • Account-Based Marketing strategies for B2B salespeople
  • Role Playing

Sales training managers have numerous options when it comes to training solutions. The above can be used as a high-level guide when trying to narrow down what is best for your company, and it is also helpful to discuss options with training providers to get into specifics.

If you are looking for training solutions for your company, please feel free to contact us anytime for some free advice in developing a program that has the best chance for success.


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