5 Elements of a Successful Sales Training Program

What are 5 elements of a successful sales training program? The best sales training programs shape your team’s culture, provide access to microlearning, reinforce what matters, relate directly the necessary day-to-day tasks, and last but not least, flex and evolve with your team. But don’t take it from us—take it from Lauren.

“Sales training ideas” is a search that yields over 4.8 million results on Google. Why? Because sales training is important. 

With so many different types of sales training programs to choose from, finding the right one for your team can feel like a heavy lift. You want  need your revenue-generating teams to excel in their roles, and training is often the ticket to getting them there. 

As you are developing and conducting sales training programs, there are a few elements that no rep’s training should be without. These 5 things can take sales and marketing training from good to great. 

1. Culture

The best sales training programs are culture-makers. A great program sets the tone for your sales team and serves as the treasure map for that driven gaggle of goonies.

As an exercise, I want you to think about your sales team. Who are they at the beginning of a quarter, when the clock resets and there’s a mountain in front of them? How about on the last day of the quarter, when the company objective is just within reach? Do they push each other and encourage one another?

Now you’re picturing your team pretty vividly. If you had to distill those interactions you’re imagining (the high-fives, the tears, the wins) down to one word, what would it be? 

Remember this word, and ask yourself this question when you structure your training program: Is this going to help my team to be more ____?

I asked two sales managers very close to me for the word they’d pick to describe their teams. I heard “resilient” and “driven.” The right training program for those two teams will arm these reps with the information they need to tackle change and come out better for it. Not to mention it will fuel their fire—it will speak directly to their intrinsic drives to be resilient and driven together.

2. Microlearning

Due to the ever-shortening human attention span, less really is more for your reps. There’s a lot of information they need at their fingertips to be successful: product knowledge, selling tactics for different personalities and customer needs, industry and competitive knowledge—the list is endless. Doing them the kindness of making training content digestible will come back twofold, and top sales training programs take this into account.

3. Reinforcement

In an ideal world, we’d encounter information once and know it for life. No detail would be forgotten, and our minds would be both organized and vast.

Such a brain does not exist, and so we need reinforcement. Remember when you learned the ABCs? How many times did you sing that song or rearrange fridge magnets before you got it right? You practiced, and now you’ve committed it to memory.

Can you sing it backwards? That’s an entirely different question, with an arguably lower value proposition, which leads me to my next point.

4. Relevance

If singing the ABCs backwards doesn’t make your reps better, why would they need to learn to do it? 

This is where thinking about your team and the culture you want to encourage, the tools and skills they actually need, come into play once again. What will make them better? What serves their “word?” Great training is built with the tactical, boots-on-the-ground skills sales team will use on a day-to-day basis. 

5. Flexibility

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Flexibility is a sign of intelligence.” My older sister, a psychologist (of course) said it to me once when I was a kid, and I latched onto the expression hard. When my mom would tell me, “No,” she heard “Flexibility is a sign of intelligence,” from her 12 year old. Yikes.

The point I was trying to make when I was 12 is still pretty relevant. It’s wise to entertain other points-of-view and to iterate when something we do or believe is not effective. 

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it’s changed quite a bit over time. Braces have been added to the Colosseum to reinforce walls that would have otherwise crumbled. Your sales training curriculum might need braces eventually. And that’s okay. Using a system that allows for flexibility means that you don’t have to demolish what you’ve built and start over. You can measure what’s working, add braces where they’re necessary, and your reps will be better for it. 

Regardless of where you find yourself on the journey to a better sales training program, these 5 elements should point you in the right direction. If you need some sales training best practices or ideas, check out these lessons! If you want to brainstorm some online sales training programs with us, feel free to reach out. We’ll jump in and figure it out with you. Best of luck on your search, and don’t be discouraged. “Goonies never say die.” 


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