- Your sales team drives new business and cross-sells and upsells to existing customers.
- A well-trained sales team performs better. Finding training programs and opportunities to help them learn new skills is key.
- Consider sales training programs offered by Dale Carnegie, Grant Cardone, Harvard Extension School and Eric Rittmeyer.
- This article is for entrepreneurs who want to improve their sales skills and businesses that are looking to offer career development opportunities to employees.
If your business is not performing as well as you think it could be, several factors could be contributing to this. One of the reasons could be due to poor or average performance among your sales team. Perhaps your sales team has not been properly trained or their skills need to be updated – sales training programs can help.
Sales training programs are a critical investment for companies that need high-performing sales teams, especially in a business environment where new technology and innovation are constantly shaking up old processes.
Let's review the types of programs that are available, what to look for in a sales training program and which specific programs you may want to consider purchasing.
The importance of a good sales training program
Sales is about people – understanding their needs and concerns and providing a solution that improves their life – but how people engage with one another is constantly changing. Even the most seasoned sales veteran should regularly update their skills. A sales training program is designed to improve your sales team's skills by teaching them new sales techniques, new software tools, novel approaches to selling, or a combination of the former.
Sales training is as much about coordinating the efforts of a team as it is about coaching the individual. Implementing a sales training plan can coalesce your team as it pursues your company's mission and strategy as a unified force.
"Aligning to a sales training program's methodology and framework helps everyone within the sales function align to one North Star and a common gold standard," said Silvia Li, founder and CEO of the Altezza Advisory Group. "Without a common definition of what 'great' or even 'good' looks like, deviations and thus duplications start to occur. As a result, this decreases the velocity and volume of deals won, which is what most sales professionals and leaders get most motivated by as well as measured by."
What to look for in a sales training program
How can you tell if a sales training program is a good program that will help your sales team and the company as a whole? First, you need to get a better understanding of where improvements can be made. Identify opportunities for improvement using these resources:
- Customer service surveys
- Recorded calls
- Online reviews
- Data intelligence tools
Once you've gathered some feedback, you can identify your sales team's weakest areas. Then, you can seek out a sales training program designed specifically to improve that element of the process. Examples include:
- Improve people skills
- Close more deals
- Upsell more deals
- Generate more warm leads
If you have a software tool with advanced features, you can use it to inform you what customer interactions and deals look like. For example, CRM software can capture customer interactions via phone, web meetings, and emails and deliver insights that will help you and your team close more deals.
Once you have this information gathered, consider the following features to ensure the sales training program you select pays off.
Information on managing and executing sales processes
If your company does not have formal sales processes in place, lessons on sales processes will be crucial to help your sales team stay focused and on track.
"What I often advise businesses to look for in sales training is … how well the training will build up the sales reps' ability and consistency to rigorously execute the sales process that their organization has designed and committed to. There should be a clear fit between what the training focuses on and how the concepts and tools fit into the overall sales strategy and also the reps' workflow," said Li.
Lessons on how to prospect
Sales prospecting involves outbound calling or emailing to gain their business. If your company has a strong inbound marketing program from which the sales team gets their leads, then prospecting won't be used so much. Many organizations utilize inbound and outbound sales strategies.
Certain sales training programs may offer insight into helpful sales prospecting tools that you've never heard of or utilized. While prospecting tools often come with their own training lessons, having a seasoned expert who is well-versed in various prospecting tools could help you determine the best tools for your business.
Lessons on how to portray your company in a positive light
Your sales team is the physical representation of your company, and it's imperative they portray a positive image. A sales training program can teach employees about brand image and public relations while providing guidance on how sales reps should act to make a good impression on prospects and customers.
Lessons on sales philosophy
When a business is looking for a sales training program, it should consider the sales philosophy of the organization offering the training. The philosophy of the program should align with the business's values.
"It's my opinion that the best sales training programs are ones that support individual style and methodology. They marry what has to be done in sales to who the salesperson is and how they communicate. The programs to avoid are the ones that try to get the salespeople to engage in behaviors that are uncomfortable and unnatural," said Diane Helbig, founder of Helbig Enterprises.
Types of sales training programs to consider
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, many sales training programs were offered in person. Now, virtual training is more popular. These four types of sales are commonly covered in popular sales training programs throughout many industries:
- Inside sales involve selling over the phone, by email or online. Inside sales does not involve traveling to meet prospective customers. Prospecting, referrals and consultative meetings are all done virtually with inside sales.
- Field sales reps sell outside their office. They meet with prospects in the field either at their office, trade shows, at conferences or even at a restaurant.
- Service sales training programs focus on customer service and building customer loyalty. These programs dive into training on the lifetime value of customers.
- Sales management programs are designed to help sales managers develop their coaching skills to create stronger sales teams.
4 sales training programs to put your team on the next level
The following sales training programs have a reputation for being helpful. Before making an investment into these courses, contact a program facilitator to learn more.
Dale Carnegie Sales Training
The Dale Carnegie Sales Training is the program Helbig credits for helping to boost her early career. From one in-person training, students can learn:
- How to create goals for their personal and professional success
- How to apply the best prospecting methods to fill their sales pipeline
- How to build authentic relationships
- How to how to overcome challenges
- How to establish credibility
- What questions you should ask prospects to uncover their needs
Grant Cardone courses
Grant Cardone Sales Training University offers a wide variety of sales training courses. Here are some courses you may want to consider:
- How to Use the Phone to Sell Through Recessions. This course provides tips on filling your sales pipeline and increasing your close rate during economic downturns.
- Follow Up. Students can learn how to pick up opportunities seamlessly and what they can do to breathe life back into dead leads. In addition, Cardone shares his strategy when he follows up with customers.
- Prospecting. This course helps sales professionals refine their sales technique. It includes scripts you can tailor when making outbound sales calls.
All courses are available online, and new courses are added often.
Harvard Extension School Strategic Sales Management (online)
This program is designed for sales managers who work in business-to-consumer or business-to-business companies. The course topics include:
- Identifying the characteristics of high-performing sales managers
- Training new and experienced salespeople
- Tailoring your communication style
Mental Toughness Bootcamp
Eric Rittmeyer, a former U.S. Marine, developed a type of sales training he calls "psychological performance training." Rittmeyer's sales program, Mental Toughness Bootcamp, uses psychological performance training to help sales teams improve bottom-line company profits. This course is delivered in person (a three-hour session) and via Zoom (a two-hour session).